Middlesex coach hopes Ravi Patel’s experience with England Lions will benefit club
Middlesex coach Richard Scott is hoping Ravi Patel’s England Lions experience will make a difference when the club conclude their County Championship campaign next month.
The 23-year-old spinner has just completed his first one-day international series with the Lions, a triangular tournament against Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
But Scott also expects the young left-armer to fulfil a vital role in four-day cricket as Middlesex battle for points to secure their place in Division One.
“Ravi’s one of those bowlers that comes on and puts a brake on the run-rate, and he’s always got a wicket-taking threat as well because he spins the ball,” said Scott.
“He’s still very young and the club are very excited about his prospects. I’m really thrilled that he’s played for England Lions and he’s earned that through playing Twenty20 cricket for us.
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“In some ways that has affected his four-day form – there’s been a lot of one-day cricket of late and he hasn’t been quite the bowler in four-day cricket that we know he can be.
“But when the pitches are starting to turn more than they are now, we’ll certainly be looking for him to change some games for us. He’s only going to learn and benefit from his experience with the Lions.”
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Patel, who took 3-71 on his Lions debut against Sri Lanka, missed all three of Middlesex’s group fixtures in the Royal London Cup over the last week as a result of his involvement in the international series.
There were mixed results for the Panthers, who lost to Somerset at Lord’s by six wickets before triumphing under the Duckworth/Lewis system in a rain-affected match against Sussex at Hove 24 hours later.
Seamer Toby Roland-Jones was the pick of the Middlesex bowlers with figures of 4-42 as the home side were restricted to 248-9 from 50 overs, with Chris Nash making 65.
With one eye on the weather forecast, the Panthers batted sensibly in reply and had reached 81-1 from 18 overs when rain halted proceedings, which was enough to earn them victory.
“Toby’s bowled really well – he set the tone with the new ball, he looked dangerous and he’s shown what a quality bowler he is,” said Scott.
Roland-Jones was among the wickets again on Sunday, recording figures of 2-37 at Durham and that, coupled with Tim Murtagh’s economical spell of 1-13, had the home side in difficulties at 56-3 from 14 overs.
However, bad weather prevented any chance of a result and the two sides shared the points, meaning that Middlesex are still in with a slim chance of qualifying for the quarter-finals.
The Panthers face Nottinghamshire at Lord’s today (Thursday), and will need to win that game, as well as their final Group B match against Kent at Canterbury, to stay in the running.
Meanwhile, Scott has indicated that Middlesex will allow Adam Rossington to remain on loan with struggling Northamptonshire.
The young wicketkeeper-batsman has fallen down the pecking order at Lord’s and was initially loaned to the Division One basement boys at the start of July, with the arrangement since extended by another month.
“He needs to play cricket,” added the Middlesex coach. “We opted to go with [Nick] Gubbins and [Ryan] Higgins and they’ve done good jobs at times in four-day cricket and one-day cricket respectively.
“I think it’s important that Adam was given the chance to play first-team cricket. Now he’s doing that at Northants, so he’ll continue his loan spell there and he has our best wishes.”