Exclusive: Bell compares Patel to former Bears greats

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Warwickshire and England batsman Ian Bell has compared FTI MVP winner Jeetan Patel to former greats of the game Allan Donald and Brian Lara, when it comes to their overall contribution to the Bears.

The New Zealand off-spinner has just finished another successful season with the Edgbaston based club which resulted in winning the NatWest T20 Blast and finishing runners up in the Royal London One-Day Cup and the LV= County Championship.

Warwickshire couldn’t have had such a brilliant season without their premier bowler. Patel ended with 107 wickets across all competitions and finished as the FTI Most Valuable Player, an honour which is awarded to the most consistent performer in county cricket, complied using a whole host of stats.

The formula doesn’t just take into consideration the runs, wickets and catches but such technicalities as a top order wicket being more valuable than a number 11 batsman or the strike-rate when batting amongst other variations. The 34-year-old received £10,000 after edging out Kent’s Darren Stevens in the final match of the season.

Bell knows Patel more than most, having played against him internationally and also captained the spinner earlier in 2014 when the England man led his county for a period at the start of the domestic season.

“Jeets has been incredible and the great thing about him is not just the things he does on the field, but the stuff he does in the dressing room as well, he’s a real strong character and a leader in there which is what you want from your overseas player,” admitted Bell.

The Kiwi has not played for his country since January 2013 which has meant he has been free to commit for two full seasons to Warwickshire and has recently signed a new two-year contract to remain in Birmingham. Bell says the county are extremely lucky to have such a talent at their disposal.

“It is rare you can get quality like that in all forms of the game for a full season so we are very lucky that we have him in three formats all year and his bowling has been outstanding all year, as it always is.

“He’s actually got plenty of important runs for us down the order too and he gets them when we really need it and also catches at slip! He leads from the front and he’s a captain’s dream, a tough guy that loves a battle too.”

He has certainly led from the front in 2013 and was also nominated for the PCA Player of the Year, as selected by his fellow professionals. Bell’s statement in comparing Patel to the greats of Donald and Lara is certainly a bold one but you can see why in terms of their success for Warwickshire.

“His on-field performances over the last two years have been right up there. We have been very lucky over the years to have some greats play for Warwickshire like Allan Donald and Brian Lara but what Jeets has been able to achieve has matched a lot of what those guys have done.

“They may be bigger names but in terms of how much he’s won for the club and how he goes about it he is up there with the legendary players who have played for the club.”

With Patel signed up until the end of the 2016 campaign the Bears are in a great position to continue their challenge for even silverware under the leadership of Dougie Brown.

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England cricket
Ian Bell
New Zealand cricket

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