Samit Patel played a starring role that helped Nottinghamshire to victory in their opening game of the Natwest T20 Blast against Lancashire on Friday night.
The all-rounder exhibited his talent with both bat and ball on course to securing a 33-run victory in the side’s first match of the revamped competition.
Two wickets complimented a half century earlier in the evening to provide a win at Trent Bridge. With England still not knowing their best line-up, Patel could well paint himself into the picture for an international call-up this summer.
It is now more than a year since he donned the three lions shirt, but the spinner is still only 29 years old. More performances like this will make him a candidate to replace Graeme Swann permanently on the international stage.
On Friday he was in good company at the crease. Michael Lumb (39) and James Taylor (30) made a strong start at the top of the innings, before Patel walked to the middle to hit boundaries with ease.
A score of 56 runs from only 41 balls helped the home side to a total of 182-5 at the halfway stage. That total was then defended with the help of the five-time Test player.
Figures of 2-25 were then recorded as Lancashire were restricted to 149 all out in reply.
This summer England face visits from touring Sri Lankan and Indian sides – the same two nations that Patel has previously met in the five-day game.
Economic bowling and fast scoring have earmarked the all-rounder as more of a limited-overs specialist. But maybe it is time for a second chance in the Test arena.
Five appearances in 2012 only yielded four wickets and a highest score of 33, but the absence of Swann – a former Nottinghamshire spinner himself – could open the door to Peter Moores’ office.
The former Lancashire coach is back with the national side, which could signal second chances or first caps for a lot of aspiring cricketers. Patel is certainly someone who should be considered amongst the likes of James Tredwell and Monty Panesar for a place in the first XI.
However, if the selectors still don’t see him as a good enough fit for the purists’ game, then a return to the one-day squads should be possible.
More performances like this in the Natwest T20 Blast will keep his name involved in the debate as to who should be turning the ball around corners for England in both ODIs and T20 internationals.
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