India A v England: Samit Patel cements claim for Test place

India A v England: Samit Patel scores an unbeaten 82 in Mumbai to leave the tourists on 286-4 on day two of their practice match

Harry Kemble
By Harry Kemble
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Andy Flower has been critical of Samit Patel's fitness in the past The Sport Review

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Samit Patel scored an unbeaten 82 against India A on day two of England’s tour match to support his claims for a Test place next month.

Patel and captain Alastair Cook, who scored 112 not out, put on a partnership of 153 to leave England on 286-4 in reply to the hosts’ total of 369.

The 27-year-old all-rounder has been criticised from both inside and outside the English dressing room since his international call-up in 2008 for his well-documented weight issues.

However, four years on, Patel is beginning to pay back the England selectors’ faith, who have been aware of his talents all along.

Confident performances in one-day internationals are now being transferred into the longer form of the game and with another mature fifty in the current practice match in Mumbai, Patel can now claim to be one of England’s leading all-rounders.

In a year where his team-mates have failed, thus far, to beat their spin demons, Patel has been a leading light when given his chance against slow bowling.

In the recent ICC World Twenty20 Cup campaign, which will always be remembered for Kevin Pietersen’s absence, Patel scored 67 off 48 balls against Sri Lanka in England’s final match.

Leading tournament wicket-taker Ajantha Mendis, Jeevan Mendis and the impressive mystery spinner Akila Dananjaya were a devastating trio throughout the whole competition for the hosts, however, Patel looked untroubled throughout his innings against them.

Patel demonstrates a versatility when facing spin while England’s batsmen, by their own admission, get trapped too often in the same gear.

National selectors showed their increasing faith in the burly Patel in this match by slotting him at six – ahead of wicketkeeper Prior.

Nevertheless, if Patel can continue his good form then he can leave behind an era of weight issues and personal attacks and make the number ‘six’ position in England’s Test line-up his own.

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