Warwickshire today welcome Jeetan Patel back into the fold as the New Zealand star returns to resume his place at the heart of the Bears planning in all formats.
Patel lands back in the UK today, less than a week after playing for New Zealand in the final Test of their home series against South Africa.
Jeets is having a brilliant Indian Summer to his career and fully deserves it. You are not the MVP for two years out of three for no reason. So to get him back again for 2017 is great.Jim Troughton
That series ended in frustration for the Black Caps as the last day of the third Test in Hamilton was washed out with the tourists, 175 behind on first innings, 80 for five in their second with Patel’s figures 12-2-22-2 having already dismissed Hashim Amla and Jean-Paul Duminy.
But Patel’s winter featured very little frustration. Following another excellent season with the Bears in 2016, which he ended as the Specsavers Most Valuable Player for the second time in three years, he went on to earn a recall to his national team colours as well as helping Wellington Firebirds to T20 glory in the McDonald’s Super Smash.
Patel, who will be 37 next month, just goes from strength to strength. For the Bears last year, he took 102 wickets, including 69 in the Specsavers County Championship – and first-team coach Jim Troughton is understandably delighted to have him back again.
“Jeets is having a brilliant Indian Summer to his career and fully deserves it,” he said. “At Warwickshire we have known for years what he is capable of. You are not the MVP for two years out of three for no reason. So to get him back again for 2017 is great.
“We will try to freshen him up as much as we can before Friday’s game at The Oval because he has had a heavy workload and a lot of cricket. But he has been going from season to season in New Zealand and England for the last six or seven years so he is used to it.
“Speaking to him on the phone during the winter it’s been great to hear how much he was looking forward to getting back among the Bears again. He is a true Bear – and brilliant for us on and off the field.”
Patel will start the season requiring just 20 wickets to reach 700 in first-class cricket. At 680, he stands sixth in the all-time wicket-taking list of New Zealanders behind Richard Hadlee (1,490), Clarrie Grimmett (1,424), Sydney Smith (955), former Bears fast-bowler Tom Pritchard (818) and Andre Adams (692).