Warwickshire have named veteran New Zealand off-spinner Jeetan Patel as County Championship and One-Day Cup captain for the 2018 season.After Ian Bell’s resignation as skipper in August, Jonathan Trott took over the job for the rest of the season.But the Bears want Trott, like Bell, to concentrate on his batting – and have turned to Patel, 38, to plug the gap.
He will lead the side in 2018, with a view to ultimately handing over the reins in the longer term to Dom Sibley.Patel’s fellow New Zealand international Grant Elliott will captain Birmingham Bears in the T20 Blast, just as he did when taking over from Bell halfway through the 2017 campaign.”Jeets is less overseas player and more Bear now,” Bears director of cricket Ashley Giles told BBC Sport. “He has all the right attributes to lead this team.”He plays all formats of the game, has a really good cricket brain and has the respect of everyone in the dressing room.”Jonathan Trott did the job for a while after Ian Bell stepped down from the captaincy, but both of those guys are so important to our cricket still. We want them to concentrate on doing what they do well and really enjoy, which is scoring runs.”We’re going to develop a young vice-captain in Dom Sibley. Jeets is the right man to start leading the transition we’re in and I think that will be a really good combination.”Warwickshire will play in Division Two of the County Championship next season following their relegation from Division One in 2017.
Patel’s prime numbers353 wickets in 96 first-class matches for Warwickshire, at an average of 26.52, including 17 five-wicket hauls. He has also scored 2,863 runs at 26.50, including three centuries.50-plus wickets in a season in four-day cricket for five straight seasons between 2012 and 2016. He took 41 in 2017, when he played three matches fewer because of a mid-season international call-up and the number of top-flight teams being reduced.Winner of the Professional Cricketers’ Association Most Valuable Player award in 2014 and in 2016, as well as finishing runner-up to Nottinghamshire’s Samit Patel in 2017.65 wickets in his 24 Test appearances for New Zealand, having also played in 43 List A and 11 T20 internationals.Arguably the best overseas signing?”Jeets has to be one of the most successful overseas players ever seen in English county cricket,” Giles told BBC Sport. “In fact, across all forms, he’s probably the best.”That’s a big call, I know, when you think how many greats have come and played over in this country. Allan Donald here, Wasim Akram with Lancashire, Malcolm Marshall and Gordon Greenidge for Hampshire, Richard Hadlee for Notts.”But the longevity of Jeets sets him apart, his consistency and his availability, especially in the modern age when the best overseas players can only pop in and pop out.”He has a history here. He cares about he club and we hope he’s around for a long while yet.”He’s certainly got a bit left in him. He keeps looking after himself. You know when he crosses that line he’s 100% committed.”