Ravi Hasmukh Patel
August 04, 1991, Harrow, Middlesex
Right hand bat
Slow left arm orthodox
Ravi Patel finally had the rewarding match that Middlesex had long hoped for when he returned match figures of 12 for 173 on a turning pitch at Taunton as the 2017 season drew to a close. Sadly for Patel, there was no cause for celebration as Middlesex twice collapsed to lose in three days and, 24 hours later, were relegated. Middlesex felt the pitch was unfit, the ECB disagreed - whichever way you looked at it, Patel's finest moment in a Middlesex shirt had been soured. Still, when he was released a year later, at 27, putting his cricketing career in doubt, he had something to cling to.
Patel, a slow-left-arm bowler, had a reputation from the outset as a big spinner of the ball: in Loughborough tests early in his career when it came to getting revs on the ball he came behind only Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar, established England internationals at the time. He has had England Lions honours but when he played that breakthrough match, he was 26 and his 23 first-class matches had returned 62 wickets over eight years. His county career was progressing only slowly, but it was to be hoped that Taunton would be a springboard to better things.
A product of the expensive, picture-perfect pastures at Merchant Taylors' school he continued his cricket development while studying Economics at Loughborough University. He made his first-class debut against Oxford MCCU in 2010 and his one-day debut in the same season against the Australians. However, with Ollie Rayner having arrived from Sussex his chances were limited and it was not until 2014 that Patel found more regular opportunities - especially in Twenty20 where he enjoyed a productive season despite Middlesex's poor form. With England desperately searching for spin-bowling answers, he was handed an England Lions call-up that season. But he proved much less effective in the Championship, taking ten wickets at 64.70 apiece in 2014.
Middlesex then only gave him one Championship match in 2015, loaning him to Essex, and his much-praised effectiveness in T20 cricket faltered markedly, too, as he conceded nearly 10 an over and failed to take wicket in five matches. Spin bowlers mature later, but even allowing for that, it suggested a career in danger of going astray.
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