All-rounder, all round the world
Having started in 2003, Samit Patel has now been playing T20 cricket for a year..?!
Well, yes – this Friday’s game against Durham will be T20 match number 365 for the Outlaws’ favourite all-rounder.
Samit played his first two Twenty20 games (as they were called then) in that inaugural season of 2003 when Trent Bridge hosted the finals day for the first time. Neither he nor the team made the knock-out stages back then but he had a major say in the glory years later on.
Patel’s first match was on 21 June 2003 at Trent Bridge v Leicestershire; he batted at six and scored 10 at the leisurely rate of 76.92 – which he has since improved on somewhat – and did not bowl.
Nineteen years (or one year) on, his bowling is a key part of his and his team’s game plans. Earlier this season, Samit became the first English bowler to take 300 T20 wickets (now 305 and counting).
Of the other players involved in that first fixture, only the ageless Darren Stevens is still playing regular first team cricket but even he has clocked up just 225 T20 appearances.
Interestingly, Samit has scored the sixth-most all-format runs of any player currently active in the English game - the five above him are Hashim Amla, Alastair Cook, Ravi Bopara, Stevens (again) and James Hildreth.
His ‘year’ is not all about the Outlaws – as T20 cricket has flourished around the world, Samit has joined the ranks of ‘white-ball warriors’ to ply his trade in Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, South Africa, the West Indies and Bangladesh. He has also played 18 IT20s for England, with a top score of 67 (his only international T20 half century) against Sri Lanka in the World T20 of 2012/13 and best bowling of 2-6 against Afghanistan.
Since 2003, Samit has played at least one T20 game in each month of the year and on 198 different dates – the most common, perhaps not surprisingly, being 24 June – and on every day of the week.
Among his November matches was one in the now notorious Stanford Super Series in the West Indies when he top-scored with 22 in an England side that included such luminaries as Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen and Freddie Flintoff.
His first experience of franchise cricket came in 2013 when he helped the Warriors of the Eastern Cape reach the semi-finals of the Ram Slam T20 Challenge in South Africa.
Patel, of course, went one better with his home team in 2017 and 2020 when the Outlaws triumphed on Finals Day.
In 2017, he scored 35, took one wicket and effected a run out in the semi-final against Hampshire Hawks. In the final, he was man-of-the-match, scoring 64 in a 132-run partnership with Brendan Taylor to rescue the Outlaws from peril at 30-3 to beat the Birmingham Bears.
Three years later he was back at Edgbaston as part of a strangely quiet Finals Day (due to Covid restrictions) when the Outlaws beat first Lancashire Lightning and then Surrey to seize the title again.
Since that success, Samit has committed to the white-ball game, extending his time with the Outlaws until at least the end of the 2023 season.
The figures for his 365-day T20 career are certainly impressive enough to merit his continued place in the side.
He has scored 6132 runs at 25.23 with 33 half-centuries and a top score of 90no made against Yorkshire in June 2015. His current strike rate is 125.52, getting on for double the rate he achieved on his debut.
Patel has taken those 305 wickets at 25.99, a strike rate of a wicket every 21.51 balls and an economy rate of 7.24. He has achieved that T20 rarity, a maiden over, five times (including that double-wicket maiden earlier this season). His best bowling was the remarkable 4-1-5-4 for Lahore Qalandars v Quetta Gladiators in the Pakistan Super League in March 2020, while his best figures for Notts are 4-20 v Essex in the 2016 Blast quarter-final (where he chalked up yet another man-of-the-match award).
In the twentieth year of T20 cricket, Trent Bridge pays tribute to the man who has been here all the way – and completes his ‘year’ this week against Durham.