Potters Bar star more than ready to take his chance at Essex if opportunity knocks
PUBLISHED: 17:06 14 July 2020
Potters Bar star Rishi Patel is ready for his step-up to county cricket – he just needs to get the call from Essex.
The 21-year-old played a major part in The Walk-based club winning the Herts Cricket League Premier Division title last year, hitting a top score of 79, one of four half-centuries.
But away from his club 2019 was also a good year on the county stage, making his first-class debut against Surrey.
And with the departure of Ravi Bopara to Sussex he is one of the options to fill the gap in the middle order.
“There is an opportunity there,” he admitted, “and hopefully, in however many games we have to play, I’ll put my name in the hat and see where it takes me.
“I’ll try and stay focused and get in that happy place where I want to be from game one and if I play, great.
“If not, then I’ll continue to work hard until I do.”
The Essex players came off furlough at the beginning of the month and have slowly been getting back in the groove in the nets.
Patel said: “The first 10 minutes you’re always going to be a bit nervous. You try and get your feet moving, there is a bit of rustiness there from not doing anything, but you fall back into the swing pretty quickly. You start getting bat on ball, a couple of good shots and you’re happy, your feet move better and you’re confident.”
His promising debut at the Oval was followed by what Patel called the “most torrid half-hour I’ve ever faced” against Nottinghamshire.
However, he also feels that those are the situations that help make you a better cricketer.
He said: “A wicket fell about half an hour before lunch and Luke Fletcher was bowling at me.
“He was all over me and I’ll be honest, I felt I was inadequate to play cricket at that level.
“That was a big wake-up call but you need to experience those moments in order to get back up.
“The next game against Yorkshire was a big contrast. It was tough, really tough, but I could take it and suddenly I thought I can hack this.”
The ECB have confirmed that the new season will start on August 1 with a revised fixture list set to be announced later this month.
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