Report by Brian Halford
JEETAN Patel admits that Warwickshire’s players are “hurting badly” from their relegation to the Specsavers County Championship Division Two.
The Bears’ bruising season, which saw them relegated in the championship with two matches still left, will take some time to get over for all concerned at the club. And not least long-time Edgbaston favourite Patel who has played top cricket pretty much non-stop for two years having, this time last year, headed from England straight to India following his recall by New Zealand.
Even Patel’s indefatigable energy and passion for the game has taken a temporary hit from Warwickshire’s difficult season.
But the 37-year-old knows he will soon reboot – and be back with the Bears next April fired up as much as ever to help put them on the path back to success.
“It’s been a long 24 months what with being away in various places and it has got to the point where I need a break,” Patel said. “I’m ready to put the pads and boots down and store them away and let them fester for a while and think about other things, as we all need to do at times. Being a well-rounded person is essential to doing well in sport.
“It will take me a few days to get over the disappointment from some of the games we’ve played this year. But it only takes a few days for me to miss cricket and it won’t take long before I’m playing again with Wellington in mid-October.
“We are all hurting at Edgbaston and that’s because our standards are set so high. The level at which we want to play cricket is right up in the sky, that’s what we have won so many trophies in recent years, so when we don’t reach anywhere near it, it’s very disappointing.
“That’s what has happened this season and we know how much work we need to do.”
With a team deep in transition, Warwickshire endured a torrid season in both the championship and Royal London Trophy, though that transition did start to pay dividends in the NatWest T20 Blast. The arrival in the team of Adam Hose, Dominic Sibley and Ed Pollock sparked a run of form which took them to Finals Day.
“It has been a disappointing season but we still challenged for a trophy,” Patel said. “To make Finals Day was a good achievement and the improvements we made throughout the Twenty20 competition were crucial. At the start we were quite circumspect about how we played the game but then to chase down 200 at Surrey in the quarter-final showed how far we had got. That’s how good we were.
“Now we have just got to carry that on and spread it into the other formats and I am sure, with the younger guys coming through here, we can do that.
“I’ve always had success at this club, whether it be in the form of trophies or my own personal success and this year hasn’t been so good on either front but that doesn’t mean that my own desire, and our desire, has left us.
“We have just got to dust ourselves down and come back strong next year. We can’t expect to go down in the championship and just come straight back up. There are some good sides in Division two and we have spoken about how we have to find a way to play better individually and as a team.”