“The high-pressure, knockout situation of the games that we have means you have to rock up and do well in all three of your pool-stage games," says New Zealand offspinner
Jeetan Patel has had to wait eight years for his second bite at the international cricket cherry, so the Warwickshire spinner is determined to enjoy every moment as he prepares to embark on the ICC Champions Trophy.
The New Zealander had not played ODI cricket since 2009 since his recall late last year, with those previous performances coincidentally coming in the international competition in South Africa.
Mixed performances hinted that international cricket could have been over for Patel, but years worth of impressive domestic displays have seen the now 37-year-old back into the fold.
And with a recall that not many predicted, the off-spinner is keen to make the most of his second wind, particularly with the prize of a worldwide trophy on the line.
“It’s going to be fantastic, I’ve been out of international cricket for a long time but to be able to play an ICC tournament in England, a place where I’ve played a lot of cricket, is very exciting,” he said.
“New Zealand has got just a good a chance as anyone in my opinion, but it’s going to be a real exciting competition for the sport.
“The high-pressure, knockout situation of the games that we have means you have to rock up and do well in all three of your pool-stage games.
“Anyone who plays international sport knows that you have to make the most of every opportunity because it could be your last.
“But it’s great fun to be in the position I’m in, I can go out there and do my job and have fun doing it, because in some ways it has no bearing on my future and where I’m going.”
Patel’s Edgbaston performances have also led him to a Test comeback too, the perfect reward for being named Wisden Cricketer of the Year for 2015.
Indeed he was the only domestic player to take 100 wickets across all formats in the year previous, even declining a Test recall to focus on his performances with Warwickshire.
That has helped sustain a relationship that has quite simply blossomed in county cricket, already taking more than 1,100 wickets in all formats of the game in New Zealand and England.
Now, with his country preparing to head to Edgbaston during their ICC Champions Trophy campaign, Patel is confident familiarities can come home to roost when facing Australia in Birmingham before hosts England and Bangladesh in Cardiff.
“Playing at Edgbaston for New Zealand is going to be different, it’s become my second home so it’s going to be exciting to play Australia there, particularly with a full crowd that I know,” he added.
“I know my way around the ground but I’m pretty excited to go out there, hopefully I’ll be able to do well there.
“The history that it carries, the amount of times that England have played and done well there in big Ashes moments makes it a special place to play.
“There is a lot of esteem around the ground, and with the fantastic new stand it looks like a stadium that can host any form of cricket.”
The ICC Champions Trophy (1-18 June) and ICC Women’s World Cup (24 June – 23 July) will both see the best eight ODI teams in the world compete for glory in England & Wales this summer. Tickets available at icc-cricket.com/tickets
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