With spin likely to have a big say in the India-England series, Samit Patel's left-arm spin bowling and his fine batting form has all but ensured him a berth in the playing eleven for the first Test starting here next Thursday.
And if he does play his first Test in India, the Nottinghamshire all-rounder will be at home. “Yes, I have roots here, but being a Patel and playing here will add that extra pressure. But, it is an interesting prospect,” he said at a media interaction on Tuesday.
Sachin is the Idol
Apart from his cultural ties with India — be it Diwali or being a Gujarati — Patel also has an idol in the India dressing room. “Sachin Tendulkar is my role model and playing against him will be a real challenge,” revealed Patel.
The 27-year-old is on his third trip to India, but the first two tours only featured one-dayers. “I've not been on an Indian Test tour, so I'm not sure what is different and what is not.”
Patel, who took three wickets in the warm-up game against Mumbai 'A', and is expected to play an important role with off-spinner Graeme Swann, expects a smooth transition into the longer version. “You can afford to be slightly relaxed in Tests. The intensity is more in one-day cricket, there are more boundaries and sixes.”
Although the big test for England batsmen will be tackling R Ashwin and Pragyan Ojha, with both having enjoyed success at home over the last year, Patel isn't worried. “They are very good, very disciplined. But they are new to Test cricket and we have experienced batsmen who can tackle them.”
India also can potentially play three specialist spinners if the Tests are played on rank turners. And Yuvraj Singh is no pushover with the ball either.
Patel dismissed the lack of practice against spin bowling in the tour games. “We have to adapt to whatever we get, be it nets practice or warm-up matches. We had a camp in Dubai and we brought our own spinners. We are improving.”