Warwickshire off-spinner Jeetan Patel has followed up being crowned the PCA’s Most Valuable Player with a recall to the New Zealand Test Squad.
The 36-year-old bagged the MVP award, and the £10,000 cheque that comes with it, for the second time in three years after another stellar season at Edgbaston.
Patel was the leading wicket taker in division one this season with 69 scalps to his name, as well as playing a helping hand in Warwickshire’s Royal London One-Day Cup triumph.
A popular figure in the dressing room, Patel was delighted with the honour: “To walk away with the PCA MVP and take 69 wickets, which is 10 more than I did last year, is pretty special. It means I have worked hard, got my rewards and the Warwickshire guys have really helped me out.
“Winning the MVP for the second time in three years is really big. The first time it was about the pat on the back that I never really gave myself.
Warwickshire's Jeetan Patel took 2 Lancashire wickets & moved to 6️⃣6️⃣ scalps for the season! That's 3 more than any other bowler 👏 pic.twitter.com/ANANoXjh6S— County Championship (@CountyChamp) September 21, 2016
“I’m a big believer in rocking up to work, doing your job, going home and doing it again the next day. I never really stopped to think I did it well enough.
“It was exciting to win the MVP two years ago but this year is more special because we have struggled as a team on and off the park.”
His performances across the season have caught the eye of the New Zealand selectors and he could make his first appearance in a Test arena since 2013.
He was actually called upon two years ago to tour the West Indies but declined the offer to stay with Warwickshire, taking 59 Championship wickets, and also being named PCA MVP for the first time.
Speaking on his recall, Patel was surprised the Black Caps came calling: “I suppose it suggests that the selectors have been following my performances in county cricket.
“The beautiful thing is the game is played worldwide and it’s known worldwide. It’s nice to be looked at but it’s also a little bit daunting, I’m not going to lie.
“I thought my days were over and I didn’t have to worry about international cricket anymore, or the next selection or what I need to do to make the team. I think that as an international cricketer the hardest part of life is being on the fringe of the team. It’s not being in the team, it’s not being out of the team, it’s being on the fringe.
“I’m back on the fringe now. I will go and have some fun. If I play, I play, if I take wickets then I take wickets. But I will be doing the best I can. I have been playing so that probably makes me a bit more of an attractive option than someone else.”
Jeetan Patel was on 🔥 in the semi-final. Backing him to do the same again on Saturday?https://t.co/q5VL6SqVcO— One-Day Cup (@OneDayCup) September 14, 2016
Patel memorably marked his Warwickshire debut with his maiden first-class hundred against Yorkshire in 2009. Since then he has become an integral part of the squad, and has signed on for the 2017 season already.
“I am in a very fortunate position. Warwickshire have given me a new lease on cricket, a life for my family that I would never have had if Warwickshire hadn’t come knocking,” he said.
“I’m lucky to be in the position I am in. It’s not that Warwickshire are lucky in any way whatsoever; I am definitely the lucky one here.
“I love playing this game and if I get to play for Warwickshire for as long as I can then it’s a beautiful thing.”