Ravi aiming to spin knock­out for­tunes

Harefield Gazette - - SPORT -

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.”

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