Patel signs three-year deal with Notts
Samit Patel has underlined his desire to force himself back into England contention as a fitter, trimmer player by signing a new three-year contract with Nottinghamshire, which will commit him to the club until the end of the 2012 season. As a sign of his new focus, Patel will also spend the next two months at the Darren Lehmann Cricket Academy in Adelaide on a trip he has part-funded
Patel impressed many with some strong performances against South Africa early in his international career before being dumped from the England one-day squad for the West Indies tour due to fitness problems. He was then also dropped from England's squad before the World Twenty20 tournament in June last year. He admitted that while his ejection from the England set-up hurt, he had perhaps dwelt upon it too much at a time when his county career provides him with the surest path back to top-level cricket.
"I've made a significant change in my approach because I spent too much time obsessing about England when really I should be focussed on doing well for Notts", said Patel. "I know that I didn't show enough last year but this is a line in the sand and I'll come back from Australia fitter and better prepared for the new season."
After modest returns in the County Championship over the past two seasons, Patel has also conceded that he must produce consistent performances for Notts before he targets a return to the England fold. "I've always wanted to play my cricket for Nottinghamshire and I want to remain loyal to the club and win trophies here," he said. "I'm at the stage now where I need to play a senior role in the team and that means scoring runs consistently, taking regular wickets and making match-winning contributions.
Crucially, Patel has the backing of Nottinghamshire Director of Cricket Mick Newell, who expects him to play a central role during the next three years. "Lots has been said about Samit's fitness but his ability has never been in any doubt and he's a valued member of our squad," said Newell. "There is a lot of responsibility on his shoulders now that Graeme Swann is established in the England set-up and Samit can use that to demonstrate that he's on top of his game."
Patel will also be hoping for the support of David Hussey and Dirk Nannes, who have also agreed to contracts with Notts. "I think that we should be winning trophies and that's a belief that is shared throughout the squad and the management," said Patel. "The new players have settled in very well and we know what to expect from Nannes and Hussey. We've got a great environment here which everyone enjoys and I can't wait to get started."