PCA Players’ Player of the Year Samit Patel has set himself the target of scoring 1,000 Specsavers County Championship Division One runs for Nottinghamshire CCC in 2018.
The 32-year-old was chosen as the stand-out performer by his peers – beating off the challenge of Surrey’s Kumar Sangakkara, Essex’s Jamie Porter and Glamorgan’s Colin Ingram – after a memorable season with bat and ball.
Leicester-born Patel scored 1,840 runs and took 44 wickets across all three formats as Notts won the Royal London One-Day Cup, the NatWest T20 Blast and promotion back to Division One of the County Championship in 2017.
That impressive form included back-to-back double centuries in red ball cricket as the right-hander scored 906 runs in 14 four-day matches at an average of 53.29.
Following the summer retirements of skipper Chris Read and Michael Lumb, Patel is now the oldest player left on the permanent playing staff – and he is determined to use his experience to lead by example.
“I realise that I will now be one of the most senior players in the dressing room and people will be looking for people to take on extra responsibility,” said Patel.
“But that is something I am happy to do at this stage in my career, I feel ready to do it, and I’m happy to help any of the younger players in any way I can.
“One of the best ways I can help the team is to score big runs next summer and that’s what I’ll be aiming to do. Scoring 1,000 has always been the benchmark during the time I’ve been playing, so to achieve that would be the goal.
“It’s a tough ask, as we’ll be back in Division One against some very good bowlers and there’s also two less games in a County Championship season now.
“But it can definitely be done. Look at Kumar Sangakkara this season at Surrey – he only played only 10 matches, went past 1,000 runs in June and finished with almost 1,500 runs in four-day cricket.”
Patel, who is to play in the Hong Kong Sixes and then the Bangladesh Premier League this autumn, is excited to see the addition of Paul Coughlin to the Notts squad for next season and expects more new players to arrive over the winter.
He is quietly confident that the team will be able to compete at the higher level following their promotion, where they will be operating under a new captain after Read stepped down.
"We will have to work hard next season, and that will start in pre-season, but we will back ourselves as players to step up at key moments, which is what we were able to do so often this season."
Patel said: “I’m sure we will bring in the right people to help make it happen for us next season and we have brought in one already in the shape of Paul, who is a great signing. He’s young, energetic and a great athlete.
“We will have to work hard next season, and that will start in pre-season, but we will back ourselves as players to step up at key moments, which is what we were able to do so often this season.”
Patel described receiving the PCA’s top award in front of first-class cricketers from across the country at London’s Roundhouse as ‘a privilege and an honour’.
He felt it was the perfect way to top off what many view as being his best all-round campaign since making his senior debut in 2002.
“To pip Sanga (Sangakkara) was a great achievement for me, especially as it’s voted for by your peers makes me pretty happy,” said Patel.
“It’s put the icing on the cake for me this season. The goal was to get promotion, which we did. To then to win one white ball trophy was hard enough, but to win two was phenomenal.
“A lot of hard work has gone into it from all the players and the backroom staff too.”
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