England get batting boost thanks to Samit Patel
Burly England all-rounder slams 104 off no-specialist-spinner attack
Graeme Swann is the No 1 spinner in the squad which also has Monty Panesar, but if Patel is impressive again with his left-arm spin and bat, he could well be walking out as a member of the playing XI in the first Test in Ahmedabad on November 15.
Patel became England’s second centurion of the warm-up tie against Suresh Raina’s India ‘A’ at the Brabourne Stadium after skipper Cook.
Kevin Pietersen, Yuvraj Singh and Patel provided some level of entertainment on the last day of the drawn encounter. Pietersen scored 23 off 24 balls and fell caught and bowled to Yuvraj Singh, who he once called a pie-chucker. Yuvraj ended up with a five-wicket haul.
Patel too was dismissed by Yuvraj when he holed out to Murali Vijay at cover, but only after he impressed the sparse crowd with his 104 which included 14 fours.
England know what they need to do to win their first Test series in India since 1984-85 and Patel’s innings did justice to that objective. “We need guys to score hundreds, we need the lower order to help out with runs,” said pace spearhead James Anderson, who claimed four of the eight India ‘A’ wickets which fell to the pacemen.
Patel could be a great hit in Ahmedabad although his roots are in Baroda. He has already realised his dream of playing Test cricket (in Sri Lanka earlier this year). Figuring in the most challenging arm of the game in India would be special. He once revealed in an interview that his current teammate Pietersen taught him how to only concentrate on the positive aspects of his batting and be fearless at the crease. Looks like the KP influence is still alive and well after all what has transpired off the pitch.
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