Why is Samit Patel in the England Test squad?

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30 per cent fat is higher than a pork scratching

Life’s about compromise. That’s what we’ll tell our kids when we take them to Lancashire v Yorkshire and buy them an ice cream between them instead of splashing out on Alton Towers tickets.

If the Battotron 9000 averages 50, but has to be bolted to the floor in order to field, we’d pick the more mobile Batmaster 3000 if it averaged 49. Samit Patel might not be a gazelle in the field, but who’d want a gazelle in the field? They haven’t got hands.

No, wait. What was our point?

Oh yeah, Samit Patel might not be much of a fielder, but he’s a very good batsman and a reliable bowler who might get through some overs in Sri Lanka, allowing the quick bowlers more of a rest. Bits and pieces is a bit pejorative. Samit Patel has massive bits and a great big piece…


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  1. Does this make me a muse?

    Regardless of whether Samit’s batting is better than a bits and pieces player, it sounds like that is what he is being picked as. Likely if he played he would bat at 7 behind Prior and be expected to bowl a lot, but wickets would be a bonus. Bits and pieces role. If he either batted like Tufnall or bowled like Boycott, he wouldn’t be in the running based on his other skills, not justifiying his place on any one skill.

    I realise the bits and pieces player is not a clear cut thing. For example Derek Pringle wasn’t one. He was a bowling all-rounder who wasn’t quite good enough so ended up with the figures of a B&PP. Ian Austin on the other hand….

    You’ve said yourself you don’t think Samit is in the top 7 batters in the country. Are you then suggesting that he not, in fact a B&PP, but a batting allrounder who probably isn’t quite good enough?

    I like Patel. I’m delighted to see him in the ODI & T20 side. Id also be delighted if in a few weeks you are saying “We told you so Smudge”. I’ve been wrong several times before, I thought both Colly and Swann had a whiff of the B&PP about them when they arrived on the international scene and I was delighted to be wrong there.

    1. Yes. The best all-rounders would get in the team as just a batter OR just a bowler. Samit would not get in the team as either.

      And yes, I used the word batter. Deal with it.

    2. This ‘they have to be good enough to get in the side solely as a batsman or bowler’ thing is often presented as an unarguable truth. The truth is, a player only has to be good enough to play Test cricket, which isn’t quite the same thing.

      This was the point we were trying and failing to make with the example featuring the two robots above. Hypothetically, you could have two batsman of very similar skill and if the slightly inferior one is a handy bowler and a far better fielder, you would pick him in your team.

      We can’t know for definite that Samit Patel will succeed in Test cricket, but we do know he’s a very good batsman.

      The English often cite the ‘they have to be good enough to get in the side solely as a batsman or bowler’ rule because the national side has so often featured “all-rounders” who were WAY out of their depth.

      Basically, we don’t think Samit Patel will be way out of his depth.

    3. I think the sticking point is your contention that he is a “very good” batsman. I disagree with this contention. It is a contentious contention.

    4. I agree that the rule that an allrounder must justify his place on one skill alone is not immutable- the other bowstring may be strong enough to justify a “nearly good enough” in the primary. i don’t think we are at complete loggerheads on this one- just maybe you have more faith in Samit’s batting than me.

      Incidentally I typed “justify his place on faith alone” there before correcting myself. Who would have thought that the debate on the role of plump all rounders whould relate so closely to reformation theology?

    5. No, agreed, we’re inhabiting adjacent space in a grey area of our own.

      We’re not particularly championing Samit, but he bats at four for a first division county and with some success. That counts for something in our eyes.

      We can think of at least one young batsman who seems to be a press favourite despite having a far worse record playing in the second division.

    6. Samit Patel – First-class bowling average: 37.77
      Sir Geoffrey Boycott – First-class bowling average: 32.42

      Just sayin’.

  2. If Samit Patel had attended a medieval joust as a fully armoured participant, the court ladies would have been impressed both by the girth of his cod piece AND the length of his lance. That’s why he’s in the team. End of.

  3. 1. There’s no Ian Austin in this article, despite all the promises.

    2. In a pond with no fish, a crab is a fish. Or, more accurately, given that a crab has some taste similarities to fish and some nutritional similarities to fish, it can be considered as a reasonable fish substitute, despite being strictly inferior in both categories.

    3. In a pond chock full of fish, crabs will always be twelfth man.

    1. By reflecting only on point 3, Sam, you trivialise my comment. Let me repeat:


      Angry? You bet I am! I cancelled a week’s goat herding in the Algarve so I could chuckle automatically when Ian Austin’s name was mentioned. All for nothing!

      Now I don’t mind there not being any Ian Austin in an article – that happens most days. It’s the sense of let down that I can’t stand.

    2. If it makes you feel any better, bert, I generally consider the comments to be an official afterword on the KC post itself (they tend to be just as entertaining and rather more agreed with each other than the paragraphs of the post), so this update now does contain Austin.

      Those coming after you at least had that hearty chuckle from the inner monologue. Perhaps you could take comfort in that?

  4. He is from Leicester. Therefore, by definition, he’s good enough to play test cricket. Just like Darren Maddy.

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