The term legend is thrown around rather easily these days but for Jeetan Patel there’s no better explanation.
The New Zealander announced his retirement earlier this month putting an end to a career that almost spanned 20 years.
The 39-year-old has a future in coaching with England his first opportunity as their spin bowling consultant for the tours of South Africa and Sri Lanka respectively. The offer followed a successful stint in the same role during England’s successful five-match IT20 series victory over New Zealand last month.
But before Patel returns to the United Kingdom and closes out his career at Edgbaston, there were tears shed at the Basin Reserve.
Playing his final game for the Wellington Firebirds – his hometown club – Patel finished with figures of 4-0-30-2.
It wasn’t enough sadly, as the Central Stags secured a 24-run victory, but the result would have only slight dampened a special afternoon.
Patel received a guard of honour before leading the team to the field and another when coming in to bat.
A fitting tribute to a player regarded around the world for not only his skill and application but desire to succeed and get better every day.
‘’I’ve been hugely privileged to be able to represent Wellington for almost twenty years – this game has given me so many enjoyable moments and the Firebirds and the Cricket Wellington logo is something that is very important to me,” said Patel when speaking to Cricket Wellington.
Patel made his debut for Wellington in a Shell Trophy first-class match against Auckland at Eden Park Outer Oval in 2000, with his final appearance totalling 309 – the second most of all time, behind close friend Luke Woodcock.
Patel went past 500 wickets for Wellington against the Canterbury Kings on Sunday and is the fourth all-time leading wicket-taker in first-class cricket for Wellington with 333, behind Mark Gillespie, Evan Gray and Ewen Chatfield.
He lifted the four-day State Championship in 2004, the Ford Trophy in 2014 and two T20 championships in 2015 and 2017.
With the Bears, Patel has continued a trophy-laden career securing all the trophies available to him by winning the County Championship in 2012, Division Two title in 2018, T20 Blast in 2014 and One Day Cup in 2016.
The Bears will be hoping that his English swan song will add more to the impressive resume.
Today Jeetan Patel is due to step over the @BasinReserve rope for the last time as a @wgtnfirebirds player. Before that @SuperSmashNZ game you can't miss this insight into a Wellington playing career that started in the 1999/2000 season. #SuperSmashNZ 🎥= @cricketwgtn pic.twitter.com/7RqCEJEiCe
— BLACKCAPS (@BLACKCAPS) December 17, 2019