Ravi aiming to spin knockout fortunes
SPINNER Ravi Patel is relishing the pressure as he attempts to bowl Middlesex into the Royal London One-day Cup knockout stages for the first time.
The Seaxes have never qualified for a quarter-final since the tournament’s inception in 2014, but they are firmly in the mix this time with three wins from five in the South Group.
Patel’s performances with the ball have been key to his side’s improvement this season – his 14 scalps at 18.14 apiece make him the competition’s leading wickettaker.
With his contract due to expire at the end of the summer, the leftarmer, who has made just one red- ball appearance in the past two seasons, knows his re-emergence into the spotlight could prove very timely.
“People say every year we’re a strong side on paper, but we never make the knockout stage,” said Patel.
“I’ve been here quite a while now and we’ve never done it, so it would be amazing to qualify.
“I didn’t start in the Championship, so when I got the chance to play in this competition I really wanted to put good spells together and be as consistent as possible. I’ve started well but I want to carry on for the whole tournament.
“It’s definitely an important time in my career and I’m excited about that. I like it when there’s a bit of pressure and things are on the line.
“This is my boyhood club and I want to stay here. For them to offer me a new deal moving forward, I need to deliver in these games – hopefully I’m doing that and they can see it.”
The 26-year-old has formed half of a spin combination for all but one of Middlesex’s 50-over games so far, bowling in tandem with leggie Nathan Sowter.
Stand-in captain Steven Finn has tended to use the pair in shorter spells, changing ends with greater regularity, and Patel is quite happy to fill a more flexible role within the bowling attack.
“That’s Finny’s idea – he never wants to let the batsmen settle, so he does switch it around more,” he added.
“As a specialist spinner I’ve got to be adaptable to bowl in any scenario – in the powerplay or at the death.
“If he needs to go to a spinner in any scenario, I want to be that man and I can do a job for him and the team.
“I like bowling with Sowts. I’ve bowled with him a lot in second team cricket and we complement each other well.
“He’s got his skills and variations and I’ve got mine, so I think we’re a good foil for each other and thankfully that’s been the case in these last few games.”