England drop Patel for 'unsatisfactory' fitness
Samit Patel has paid the price for not heeding the ECB's warnings about his fitness, and has been dropped for the Twenty20 and one-day leg of England's tour of West Indies.
In a strongly worded statement, Hugh Morris, the managing director of England cricket, said Patel's fitness had been monitored since he returned from the ODIs in India last November but, on two occasions, his fitness was "unsatisfactory".
"It's been a concern and from the India series it was made very clear by a number of different people, including Peter Moores and Kevin Pietersen originally, and then more recently Geoff Miller, and Samit was given a programme. He has been given two fitness tests and the results have not been satisfactory. The latest one was in New Zealand a few days ago," said Morris.
"Samit Patel is a talented cricketer but he, like every other player who joins the senior England team, must be aware of the strict fitness criteria that will be set. It is extremely frustrating that [he] has not heeded the warnings of his county, Nottinghamshire, and Geoff Miller - as well as the England management and strength and conditioning team. In the circumstances we had no option but to de select him from the tour."
Patel, currently in New Zealand playing for the England Lions, will be replaced by Gareth Batty as cover for Graeme Swann who is to return home after the fifth and final Test for an operation on his right elbow. Adil Rashid will also remain with the squad.
Patel made his England debut last summer and, in his third game, picked up 5 for 41 against South Africa before appearing in the Stanford 20/20 for 20 and the subsequent tour of India. Yet for all his cricketing promise, England refuse to persist with him until he can meet the required condition for international cricket.
"The demands of international cricket are huge and Samit must recognise that fitness levels are a vital part of a successful team in international cricket," said Miller. "He really needs to understand and grasp that fact because his fitness levels have regressed between his first assessment during the build up to the England Lions tour and the second Test during the first week in New Zealand."
Meanwhile Swann, whose elbow injury flared up before the fourth Test in Barbados, remained philosophical about the forthcoming surgery which will keep him out of the one-dayers. "I have realised for sometime that I would need surgery on the injury," said Swann. "We have managed it during the tour but the medical team believe this is the best time for the operation."