Jeetan Patel’s enthusiasm for playing at Warwickshire shows no sign of waning.
The 38-year-old, who captains Warwickshire in all three formats in the upcoming season, has begun his 11th campaign as overseas at Edgbaston.
With a freshly signed contract, extending his stay until 2020, Patel seems raring to go for another season.
He captained the side to promotion last year as they came out victorious in Division Two, fighting off both Kent and Sussex to the title and he is raring to go again in the top flight in what will be a highly-competitive Division One.
Patel admits, despite his experience, he still gets nervous ahead of a new season.
‘’I can’t deny I’m both nervous and excited for the start of the season against Kent, its going to be important to win the first hour of that game and then go on to win the game and start off our campaign well’’ he said at the club’s media day.
Following the retirement of Jonathan Trott, as well as the departure of Keith Barker and Chris Wright there seems to be a loss of experience within the side.
However, this opens up a mass of opportunity for various young, talented players who possess great potential. There are plenty of players waiting on the fringe to take the chance with both hands including Liam Banks, Rob Yates, Matt Lamb as well as Henry Brookes, who has already displayed his talent on the domestic stage where he was clocked at bowling 90mph.
Patel gave special mention to the above players who have all put the hard yards in over the past few years for both second XI and their own individual clubs to put their name forward for Warwickshire and break into the side.
This season could prove to be the perfect chance for them to shine as there are plenty of spots up for grabs, especially with Ian Bell out until early June with a foot injury.
‘’There has been a huge change in personnel as we have lost a few of our big contributors but we have seen the capability of some players to come through and fill those boots including Banks and Lamb. Hopefully all the guys can get a chance early in the season, and fingers crossed with a first game win under our belt we will see these guys flourish’’ said Patel.
One player that has caught plenty of people’s attention during pre-season is Sam Hain, who has scored two centuries in Warwickshire’s outings. He himself feels his red-ball cricket is in a much better place this season, and that showed as he battled for his 144 against Worcestershire ahead of the new campaign. He has shown a superb talent in white-ball cricket, demonstrating just what he can do when it comes to the one day tournament by hitting 204, with the last 105 runs coming from just 36 balls.
Patel had recognised Hain’s talent as he said ‘’Sam has had an immense start in pre-season, as it looks like he has learnt a lot from his experience abroad, looking like a different player once again when he returned and he has some massive opportunities in his cricket coming his way’’.
Patel also focused on how important the Royal London One-Day Cup is to Warwickshire after a disappointing campaign last season when they missed out on the chance to play in the quarter-finals.
However, there is no doubt that the squad possess the talent to bowl sides out and to take games away from the opposition such.
The Lord’s final, which Warwickshire won in 2016, is a special date in the county calendar and one that all counties want to be a part of, with Patel determined to make it this year.
‘’The Lord’s final is a day on everyone’s calendar and it forms such a pivotal part of our season to get to Lord’s,” he added.
“In 2018 we played good cricket but missed out by small margins, however this season we want to make good strides into the tournament and hopefully use some big names in our bowling ranks such as Olly Stone to bowl sides out as that’s where can win the games we didn’t last year.”