England name Samit Patel as replacement for injured Zafar Ansari
England named Nottinghamshire all-rounder Samit Patel as replacement for the injured Zafar Ansari for their upcoming series against Pakistan in the UAE, ESPNCricinfo reports. The 30-year-old has played all his 5 Tests so far for England in the Indian subcontinent, a factor which played a huge role in his selection.
Patel joins Moeen Ali and Adil Rashid as the spin bowling all-rounders in the side and as a player who is more adept with the bat than the bowl could provide a different dimension to his competitors in the team.
Patel, who has also played 36 ODIs and 18 T20Is for England, didn‘t have a remarkable season for his county side by any means, taking 25 Championship wickets at 32.40 and averaging only 24 with the bat. Patel, who last played a Test match in 2012, expressed surprise at the call-up to the national side.
"I was not expecting a Test call," Patel, 30, told BBC Radio Nottingham. "I thought the door was closed on Test cricket. It's unfortunate for Zafar, but I have to make the most of it."
James Whitaker, England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) national selector, however, said that Patel’s experience of playing in the Indian subcontinent could come in handy.
"The timing of this injury, on the day his selection was announced, was particularly cruel for Zafar and he is naturally extremely disappointed to have to pull out of the tour," Whitaker said. "As a left-arm spinner and a middle-order batsman, Samit is a similar type of player to Zafar and his previous international experience, and in particular, experience of performing for England in sub-continental conditions will be an extremely useful asset to the squad in the UAE."
The recent impressive performances of Ali and Rashid means Patel will have his work out if he his to make the final eleven. It’s a fact acknowledged by Patel, but he added that he is more than ready to help out the team when needed.
"I think I will be behind Moeen and Rash to play, but I am just happy to get on the trip," he said. "I was planning to go on holiday to Dubai next week, so this is a pleasant surprise. When I didn't get picked against Sri Lanka, I wondered whether this day would ever come again. I would like to get more of a role with the bat, but I will bat anywhere."