Cricket

Samit Patel has made an encouraging start to this season's Specsavers County Championship.

Nottinghamshire's Samit Patel fighting for England recall in all three formats

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Samit Patel retains lofty ambitions of representing England across the spectrum, a notion that may not be as fanciful as it might have seemed 12 months ago.

While a batsman first and foremost, his proficient left-arm spin brought him back into the international fold following a near three-year absence for last winter's Test series against Pakistan.

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Patel, though, was, and remains, behind Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid in the pecking order and featured only in the final Test as part of a three-man spin line-up, performing competently if unspectacularly as England lost the series.

He was retained but unused for the South Africa series that followed although any sense of frustration has not been apparent after an invigorating start to the Specsavers County Championship with Nottinghamshire.

An average of 45 with the bat, with five fifties and one hundred, and 29.71 with the ball in seven matches is impressive by anyone's standards and will give the selectors a gentle nudge ahead of this winter's tours to Bangladesh and India.

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"I am feeling good at the minute, I am in a decent place," he told Press Association Sport.

"My international ambitions are still there in all formats. I am going well with the ball, which is important. It's going really well at the minute."

While there is every chance he will add to his six Test caps this winter, Patel's hopes of reigniting his limited-overs career appear slim with England having moved on since his last one-day or Twenty20 international appearance more than three years ago.

However, he earned platitudes up and down the country for taking apart a strong Warwickshire bowling unit with a counter-attacking 68-ball century in the championship, eventually compiling 124 in an innings where the next highest score was 26.

He has as yet been unable to transfer his sensational four-day form into the shorter formats as he freely acknowledges.

"I have started off slowly with the the bat in the white-ball but I am happy and hopefully I can turn things around," he added.

The reward for an upturn in fortunes, particularly in the Royal London One-Day Cup, is potentially significant due to Andrew Strauss' North v South initiative, a series expressly created for English players to push their claims for places in the 2019 World Cup.

The inclusion of five players per team in the three-match one-day series will be decided by the Professional Cricketers' Association MVP rankings, which provide a more rigorous analysis of player performance than traditional averages.

Patel is very much in favour of the system.

"For the guys that are pushing for England places and want to be recognised I think it's great," he said.

"To perform in this 50-over competition is a big thing, it's a straight thing, it's either top four and best spinner or don't get picked. It's simple, if you think like that then you are going to be on course.

"It gives county players extra motivation. It just tells you that who you play for doesn't matter: as long as you perform well you are going to get somewhere near.

"I don't think there is a county bias, I think the best players always get picked year in, year out. If you perform in the Royal London Cup and get in the top four then you are going to get picked, and that is great."

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