'Fitness? I've never missed a game,' says Patel

Samit Patel drives Getty Images

Samit Patel has marked his benefit match at Trent Bridge on Thursday by defending his fitness record and questioning the emphasis on athleticism rather than skills.

Patel accepts that it is now only an "outside chance" that he will add to his 60 caps for England across all formats but insists that he has been "pretty hard done by."

There is little evidence that Patel warranted consideration for England's Champions Trophy squad - he has passed 50 only three times in his last 13 50-over innings - but, as he prepares to face Durham, resentment still lingers at his missed opportunities.

Patel, who made his comments in a Nottingham Evening Post podcast, said: "I've not missed a game ever, so define fitness. I've never missed one game for England or Notts. It all comes down to sports science. They forgot about the skills base.

"It's funny how no one mentions fitness issues with me now. It's funny how that's all gone even though the game is getting quicker and better. I look better, I feel better, I'm playing better. You have to be quicker, you have to be faster. It's something you have to do."

Patel last played for England against Pakistan in November 2015, although he did tour South Africa later that winter without being selected. He has since lost out primarily to Moeen Ali as a spin-bowling allrounder. His England career has closed with him feeling he did not bat high up the order often enough.

"I'd like, as an outside chance, another game for England," he said. "That's what I'd like. Absolutely I should have played more for England, not just on talent, but stats."

Patel still has Nottinghamshire records in range, specifically Paul Johnson's current List A record of 4950 runs. Chris Read is poised to overhaul that, but he will retire in September.

Patel, who has 4483, says he wants 10,000 and plans to play until he is 40. Fitness allowing of course. He is a crowd-pleasing figure at Trent Bridge, and such ambitions will be welcomed by Nottinghamshire's supporters.

And when it is all over, it seems he is unlikely to go into coaching. "I've not been coached by anyone. It's all been natural. No one should be coached. You should have your own method and stick by it, unless something drastic needs changing. Even at 19 you know how you need to play."