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Posts Tagged ‘samit patel’

Dirk Nannes is the latest overseas star to sign up for next season’s Twenty20 Cup (following Adam Gilchrist’s move to Middlesex and the various other county comings and goings), having been snapped up by Nottinghamshire.

The Dutch-Australian fluent Japanese speaker and skiing enthusiast is widely regarded as a Twenty20 specialist, and given his success with Delhi, Victoria and Middlesex in the past (not to mention a certain incident over the summer), it’s hard to argue with Notts director of cricket Mick Newell’s assertion that Nannes is “the most effective Twenty20 bowler in the world“. If Graeme Swann, Samit Patel and Ryan Sidebottom are all available to their county over the summer, then the Outlaws will have quite a bowling line up in the short format next year.

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Despite his county furnishing him with free gym membership, Samit Patel has missed out on his second sucessive England selection for reasons of fitness.

The “bouncing all-rounder from Nottinghamshire”, as the Independent describes him today, has again failed to meet the ECB’s standards. Geoff Miller has said that there are “various measurements we go by”, and less charitable souls may wish to speculate as to whether waist, chest and pie consumption are some of the measurements involved.

On a serious note, Patel’s inability to attain the standards that the rest of the World Twenty20 squad has met may suggest a problem. Either there is some obstacle preventing him from reaching the required level of fitness, or his commitment to international cricket isn’t as strong as it might be. Neither is a particularly encouraging prospect.

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  • Durham surprised a lot of people with their Championship win last year, and with Steve Harmison out of favour with England once again, their bowling attack looks just as strong as it was in 2008. Ian Blackwell has come in to bolster the middle order and add a spin option, and Shivnarine Chanderpaul returns in June following the World Twenty20.
  • Hampshire arguably owe last year’s survival, let alone their eventual third place, to the spin bowling of Imran Tahir, who returns from June. In the meantime, Australian Marcus North comes in as an overseas player to add runs, and Dominic Cork also arrives following his release by Lancashire. Chris Tremlett will also be key for the attack, whilst Mascarenhas’ England and IPL commitments will drain the Rose Bowl’s resources for much of the season.
  • Lancashire have released Dominic Cork and Stuart Law, whilst Andrew Flintoff and James Anderson are likely to make very few appearances for their county, so the Red Rose lineup will be somewhat unfamiliar in places. Mark Chilton and Francois Du Plessis need to improve on last year’s performances with the bat, or relegation may threaten to make Peter Moores’ 2009 even worse.
  • Nottinghamshire may spend the majority of the season watching their three best bowlers ply their trade for England, so the likes of Shreck and Pattinson will be key. If Samit Patel gets fit enough to be called up as well, the side could look a little thin in the middle order, but if newlywed Adam Voges can translate his limited-overs form to the four-day game then the prospect of a title challenge isn’t too far-fetched to consider.
  • Somerset continue to have an incredibly strong top order (especially with and Marcus Trescothick as an opening pair), but with Ian Blackwell moving to Durham and Andy Caddick into his 40s, the bowling attack looks worryingly thin. Unless a young gun steps up to take wickets, a proliferation of draws may ensue.
  • Warwickshire face the step up from Division Two without Ian Salisbury, but Jeetan Patel should be a strong addition to their four-day side. If Ian Bell stays out of the England team long enough to feature regularly, then the Bears can reap the benefits. Similarly, Tim Ambrose will be a force in the County game even he doesn’t cut it at Test level.
  • Worcestershire enter the post-Hick era in 2009, which puts a lot of pressure on Vikram Solanki and the likes of Stephen Moore. Gareth Batty’s recent England call-up underlined his quality with the ball, but the pace attack is relatively weak, especially given Simon Jones’ continuing injury problems. If Solanki and Kabir Ali find form, then the side can look for more than just consolidation in their return to Division One.
  • Yorkshire came uncomfortably close to relegation last year, but players of the quality of Michael Vaughan, Anthony McGrath, Matthew Hoggard and Adil Rashid should see them improve in 2009 (assuming England call-ups don’t intervene). A championship challenge may be asking too much, and adjusting to life without Darren Gough will be difficult, but there is enough class (especially with Jacques Rudolph in the side) for a top-half finish.

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Cricket isn’t the sport it used to be.

Time was, even the most portly of players could find a place in most international sides (and judging by Jesse Ryder and Dwayne Leverock, many still can), and even chain-smokers were thought to have sufficient physical conditioning to bowl for England .

No longer – it seems it’s no longer OK to be an unfit cricketer. Samit Patel has been dropped by England for the forthcoming One Day matches against the West Indies, owing to ‘unsatisfactory fitness‘.

Where does this leave Rob Key? Joking aside (Key has actually slimmed down considerably since his, ahem, peak), the modern game – especially in its limited-overs variants – makes physical demands of players which were never made of the likes of Gatting or Grace, and there should probably be a minimum fitness requirement, even for spin bowlers.

I hope that this doesn’t herald the end of overweight international cricketers, though. In these difficult times, cricket fans everywhere are in need of a few players with the ‘XXL-factor’. Failing that,  I’ll settle for someone who makes the gulf in class between my own pathetic attempts at cricket and the real thing seem just a little less than it actually is. How else can I rationalise my dreams of taking the wicket that clinches the Ashes, or knocking off the winning runs in the World Cup final?

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Yuvraj Singh, whilst “so drowsy that he might have been inadvertently dosed up with valium rather than painkillers” for his knacked back, has recommended that England send in Monty Panesar.

Is this the drugs talking? Or should the Sikh of Tweak have been included for the One Day Series against India? Samit Patel’s performances against South Africa elevated him to England’s main ODI spinner, and Graeme Swann also seems to be higher up the limited overs pecking order than Monty.

Certainly, Panesar’s lack of development recently is a cause for concern, but if even the home side are expressing surprise at his absence, then maybe there’s a case for his inclusion. Having said that, England’s awfulness in the first ODI transcended the personnel, and any change in the team is unlikely to restore the confidence that may have been lost in England’s recent misadventures.

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The contrast between the moods of the two sides going into this series. India are on a high following their Test triumph over Australia, whilst England have compounded their failure in the Stanford Super Series with an embarrassing warm-up defeat by a Mumbai Cricket Association XI.

Although it seems an age since England last played an ODI, their recent form is impressive. Kevin Pietersen‘s honeymoon period seems to be over now, though, and this tour will be a real test for the likes of Samit Patel and Graeme Swann.

The tourists may be particularly pensive given the wealth of young talent available to India, not least amongst them a certain Virat Kohli. Many of these players will have an eye on the Test spots vacated by Ganguly and Kumble‘s retirements, and hence will have plenty of incentive to perform.

The first ODI starts at 9am local time (3:30am UK time), and you can follow it here, or here.

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England’s touring squad for India, named later than planned but still unnecessarily early, does not include Adil Rashid. Instead, Graeme Swann has been selected.

Leaving aside the question of whether Rashid needs the experience or not (he’ll still get some, with the Performance Squad touring too), the choice should have been based on which spinners were more likely to take wickets.

Panesar, despite some poor form recently, was always a near-certainty to be selected, so it came down to a three-way decision between Swann, Rashid and Samit Patel. Of those three, Rashid has had the better season for his county, but Swann has more international experience.

Amongst the reasons given for Swann’s inclusion is the fact that he’s right-handed. That’s just silly. Also, his batting has been touted as a reason for his selection, but he’s probably a worse batsman than Rashid.

The England selectors should probably be given the benefit of the doubt, but I reserve the right to say ‘I told you so’ at a later date.

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