Jeetan Patel expects the Birmingham Bears’ spin-bowling attack to “ask some very good questions” of the Yorkshire Vikings batsmen when the teams meet at Headingley in the NatWestT20Blast on Friday.
Birmingham will face a Vikings side starting to stir after a slow start to the group. The Bears, meanwhile, must bounce back from last Friday’s home defeat to Northants Steelbacks.
As a bowling unit we talk a lot about the quicker guys taking wickets up front and at the death which they do really well for usJeetan Patel
Despite that reverse, Birmingham are strongly-placed in the North Group – but Patel knows they have plenty of work still to do to secure qualification for the quarter-finals.
And in Leeds on Friday the Kiwi star is sure to be at the heart of matters as the pivot of a slow-bowling department, also including Ateeq Javid and Josh Poysden, which has long been central to the Bears’ bowling strategy in the Blast.
“As a bowling unit we talk a lot about the quicker guys taking wickets up front and at the death which they do really well for us,” said Patel. “So it’s really important for us in the middle overs to squeeze the batsmen and create wicket-taking opportunities and ask different questions.
“Having myself, Teeqy who has bowled a lot of very skilful overs, and Josh, who has come on leaps and bounds as a leg-spinner who bowls a very good wrong ‘un, means we can ask some very good questions.
“We will go up to Yorkshire with a positive mindset. Last Friday was disappointing but it is a long season and you are not going to win every game. It’s okay to lose games of cricket as long as you respond well and always go positive into the next game.”
Birmingham are this season targeting their third successive Finals Day appearance at Edgbaston. And Patel believes their momentum in the short format in the last two years has bolstered their cricket generally.
Every individual in our changing room is always thinking about the positive option and I think that’s come from success in the T20Jeetan Patel
“The bonus for us is what Twenty20 has brought to our whole game,” he said. “It’s given us the mentality of always trying to take the game forward, whatever the situation we are in. Whether in the championship, 50-over or Twenty20 it’s about taking the game on and taking the positive option with ball and bat.
“I think the momentum we have taken from winning Finals Day in 2014 is leaking not only into our performances in all cricket but also the way we are as people. Every individual in our changing room is always thinking about the positive option and I think that’s come from success in the T20.
“That doesn’t automatically mean we are going reach Finals Day again. If anything it means that other teams are chasing us harder so we have a lot of work to do.
“We have achieved a little bit of consistency and made two successive Finals Days but other teams have done that – if we can get to a third, there will definitely be a message going out that we are a force to be reckoned with.”
Next Home Game
Take advantage of our July Double offer and see our final 2 games against Leicestershire Foxes and Notts Outlaws at Edgbaston for just £30. As always Under 16s come to all home groups games absolutely FREE. Don’t forget our game vs Leicestershire Foxes is also a Double Header with Birmingham Bears Women taking on Lancashire straight after the men’s game.