Jeetan Patel to miss Warwickshire's opening game

Jeetan Patel checks out his grip AFP

Warwickshire are likely to be without their overseas player, New Zealand spinner Jeetan Patel, for their opening match of the County Championship against Somerset beginning on April 15. Patel, who is based in Wellington, is still trying to get his visa.

"It is a tricky one. I guess it is partly of our own making because we asked for stronger conditions regarding work permits and guys coming in to play cricket," Warwickshire's director of cricket Ashley Giles told PA Sport. "It might hinder us in the first game or two. We are not sure when he will be available.

"We are going to try and push it as hard as we can and get him here as soon as possible. It is almost impossible to get it all done for the first game with everything closed over Easter.''

Warwickshire are hopeful that Ant Botha will recover from his elbow injury in time for the Somerset game or else they could be without a front-line spinner. "We are still hoping Botha will be fit for the first game. It has been a bit of a topsy turvy couple of weeks for him not knowing where we are going. We are going to try this new line of treatment and, if it works, then he should be okay.''

Their new captain Ian Westwood, who returned early from a pre-season visit to South Africa because of a cracked wrist, could be available from the first week of May. "We hope Ian should be getting close to being available by the first week of May," Giles said. "It is a massive blow. He has had his problems with injuries. He is frustrated. As a captain, he has got very good cricket knowledge. We have worked well together. As soon as possible, I want him back.''