Bears legend Jeetan Patel knows what it takes to build a successful side in T20.

He was pivotal to the team which brought the Blast trophy to Edgbaston in 2014. We caught up with Jeets in India this week where he took time out from his work as England spin bowling coach to name his My Bears T20 XI.

  1. Brendon McCullum
  2. William Porterfield
  3. Ian Bell
  4. Darren Maddy
  5. Grant Elliott
  6. Laurie Evans
  7. Rikki Clarke
  8. Chris Woakes
  9. Tim Ambrose
  10. Jeetan Patel
  11. Olly Hannon-Dalby
  12. Josh Poysden
  13. Olly Stone
  14. Boyd Rankin

I’ll go Brendon McCullum  to open with Will Porterfield. With Brendon, you know you are going to get the power at the top of the order and you are going to get off to a flier. Even if it’s six off the first ball and out, you have that intent right from the get go.

“Purdy complements that really well so you can rotate the strike and have got the left/right hand combination…and the knocks that he played at crucial times for the Bears got us over the line in 2014.

“It’s got to be Ian Bell at three. He is ‘the calmer’ – if the situation gets out of hand, he can bat through, but with the shots he has, especially over cover, he can take down both spin and seam in the power-plays. His record speaks for itself.

“At four it’s Darren Maddy. Such a fine batsman and so hard to bowl to because he picks up the length really well off the stumps. He also gives you that all-rounder option if you need a few dirty little seamers on slow wickets.

“My captain is Grant Elliott, batting at five. A heavy match-winner who leads really well in the changing room and, out on the field, just makes sure that guys can just do their job and have fun. He also bowls that filthy stuff that can have some good success in those middle overs.

Jeetan Patel

“Then we go to Laurie Evans at six. A powerful finisher who played some valuable knocks for us and can strike it a long way if need be. Rikki Clarke at seven – another strong hitter whose ability with the new ball was instrumental to our success. We had a season where he was the leading wicket-taker for us in the powerplays and with the best economy rate and that was because he swings the ball and bowls a very tough length.

“At eight, it’s Chris Woakes because you can’t have a Warwickshire team without Chris Woakes in it. No matter what you ask him to do, you know you will get 100 per cen. He is a class act with the bat, his bowling is match-winning and even in the field he is highly-skilled. He’s brilliant under pressure, as we all saw when he closed out the 1994 final for us perfectly. Even at the biggest moment, against Freddie Flintoff, he held his nerve really well.

“I’m going to have to put Tim Ambrose in at nine. I know it will hurt him to be down there but he is the best keeper I have ever seen, especially in the short format, and he wins games with the gloves alone. He also is really important to the side in terms of reading the game.

“I’m going to jump in at ten just because I loved playing at Edgbaston and loved playing in the Blast. The biggest games were always the ones I wanted to play in so I have to throw myself in there.

Jeetan Patel

Then it is a real toss up for that last seamer’s spot between Olly Stone, Boyd Rankin and Olly Hannon-Dalby, but I’ve gone with OHD. With his skills, he has closed out some really important games for us and the passion that he shows for the group is fantastic. He has played a lot of T20 cricket for the Bears and just keeps going from strength to strength.

“Twelfth men…Josh Poysden, Stone and Rankin. Poysden because we know we are going to get golf tee-times in between games, so we can be sure we will be playing golf wherever we go. Stoney because he can bowl rockets and Boyd for the same reason.”

£15 Early Bird tickets on sale for all T20 games

Early Bird tickets are now on sale for all seven Birmingham Bears home games at Edgbaston this summer, available from only £15. But be quick, there’s only 1,500 available for each match.

And under-16s once again go FREE to all fixtures.

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