Jeetan relishing return to cricket at Edgbaston

 

Jeetan Patel is looking forward to putting on his Warwickshire shirt for the first time in 2012 after arriving at Edgbaston just before the Bears opening First Class match against Cardiff MCCU.

The New Zealander will spend the entire 2012 season as the Club’s overseas player, in what will be his third spell at Edgbaston. And after coming so close to claiming the LV County Championship last season, Patel believes that the Bears blend of youth and experience in the squad puts them in a great position to challenge for honours in 2012.

“The great thing about the squad here at Edgbaston is that everyone is always working hard to improve their game, whether that’s the younger squad members, or the more experienced players like Jim Troughton, Darren Maddy and Rikki Clarke,” he said.

“Being able to work with many of the players and the same coaching set-up over the three years that I’ve spent here made it a very easy decision to return. I’ve really enjoyed working with the guys and I love life in Birmingham.

“I think there’s a real sense of excitement in the squad after last season’s finish in the County Championship. In the three matches that I played in we beat Sussex home and away, then drew with Lancashire. It had me gripped back in New Zealand following the scores, and it’s a shame that we weren’t able to get over the line at Hampshire. But the squad will be much stronger for the experience.

“There’s certainly great depth within the squad. Chris Wright came in at the end of the season and did a great job, and I was really impressed with Varun Chopra, given that it was the first season that I’d played with him. Chris Woakes has obviously come on massively since I first played here and it’ll be great to have him back in the squad in a few weeks.”

Jeetan returns to Edgbaston having bowled almost 1,000 overs for the Wellington Firebirds in his native New Zealand. He finished the season as second in the Firebirds’ MVP rankings behind Blackcaps seamer James Franklin, and eleventh overall in the New Zealand domestic rankings.

“I finished my last four-day match for Wellington in the Plunkett Shield just over a week ago, so having this extra few days before the Somerset game in the County Championship game has been ideal, as it’s giving me chance to get used to bowling with the Dukes ball again. Back home we use the Kookaburra and there’s a big difference, particularly for us spinners.

“I took 17 wickets with it in the three Championship games that I played last season, so I’m raring to go and hoping that a can make a big contribution to the side this season.”

And on talking about the prospect of facing England back home in New Zealand in February 2013, he remains focussed on one thing. “I’m want to have a good season here with Warwickshire. I enjoyed my time here last season tremendously and I’ve played some good cricket for Wellington. I’ve had a nice few days to practice, I’m very settled by having my wife with me here in Birmingham and we’ve got a very good playing squad and management team. I can’t wait to start.”

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