Jeetan Patel has set out a challenge for Warwickshire’s players in 2019: “Let’s see how good we can get.”
The Bears captain is busy on another season with his native Wellington in New Zealand and continues to pile up first-class wickets. Now well past 800, he recently overtook former Warwickshire paceman Tom Pritchard to move fourth on New Zealand’s all-time list of wicket-takers.
"Let’s explore ways to become better and find new avenues to win games of cricket, because we’re going to need it.”"
Patel remains as committed as ever to Wellington – but no less so to Warwickshire and he is excited by the prospect of trying to get the very best out of the Bears in 2019.
Back in the Specsavers County Championship Division One after winning the Division Two title in 2018, Patel’s team will face a step up in quality and intensity in four-day cricket. Meanwhile they will be aiming for better in both white-ball formats, in neither of which they qualified for the knockout stage last season.
Plenty, then, for Patel and his players to work on.
“Next year will be huge for us,” he said. “It is difficult after being promoted and Division One in the championship is very competitive. I think a lot of teams will be looking at how do they stay up.
“I will certainly be thinking about how we’re going to go about winning as many games as we can but we have got so many things that we still need to get better at. In white ball cricket last year, we weren’t as good as we would like to have been, so we want to explore ways to get better in those formats as well.
“That’s probably my big push for our guys… let’s see how good we can get. Let’s explore ways to become better and find new avenues to win games of cricket, because we’re going to need it.”
Patel’s remarkable capacity for sustained all-year-round cricket show no sign of flagging, even at 38. His contribution over the years to both Wellington and Warwickshire is immense but he just feels grateful that, for the last decade, Edgbaston has become such a cherished second home to him.
“Warwickshire offered me security and they offered my family security. In cricket you can’t always find that, so I was lucky that Warwickshire and Edgbaston offered that to me, and over the 10 years I’ve been there now, the friendships we’ve made, the connections, the partnership and the success has been a huge part of my career and my life. I owe them a lot.
“Everyone knows everyone and it’s a big family feel. Everyone at the Bears wants the Bears to do well. It’s a nice place to be a part of and I’ve been very lucky to have the job I’ve got.”