Jeetan Patel was delighted by the "fantastic performance" from England in Sri Lanka but insists they must now raise their game another level in the four-Test series with India.
Warwickshire legend Patel is with the England camp as spin-bowling consultant, a vital role in a part of the world where spin is central to success in red-ball cricket.
All went well in the first leg of the tour, a 2-0 win over Sri Lanka, but now the bar is raised again against an India team which has just recorded a brilliant comeback Test series victory in Australia.
“It was a fantastic performance from the players in Sri Lanka, especially bearing in mind the circumstances and the very limited preparation,” Patel said. “I think Sri Lanka would admit they were not at their best, but they put us under pressure at times in both games and we came through it to win both.
“We got a bit lucky in the first innings of the first Test but then took advantage of that to play some very strong cricket and win the series.
“Now we know that it will be a step up against an India side which has just won in Australia even with a depleted side. It will be a terrific challenge for the players and a really exciting series and how we start it, in the first two Tests in Chennai, will be massive.”Jeetan Patel
Patel is making a good impression in the England back-room team as he embarks on life on the other side of the fence after bringing an end to his magnificent playing career with Warwickshire, Wellington and New Zealand.
His England role covers only the current tour to India for now but he would love to be part of the coaching team when Joe Root’s side faces New Zealand in a Test match at his beloved Edgbaston in June.
“I really enjoy working with the England set up,” he said. “It’s nice for me to play a small part in helping a squad which has put in some really good performances and can get a lot better yet.
“It’s great to be working with the six spinners out here. They are all really good lads who work hard and want to improve.”
Next up, the opening Test in Chennai, starting on Friday. But first, the important, if slightly tedious, business of six days in isolation after landing in India from Sri Lanka.
“It has been strange,” he said, “but I’ve got plenty to do and we are very comfortable and being looked after really well so, compared to what a lot of people around the world are having to contend with, it’s nothing.”
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