David Lloyd explains why Samit Patel could be a useful option for England out in Sri Lanka.
Last Updated: 29/02/12 1:58pm
I keep saying it, but I just have a feeling about Samit Patel.
I just think he could be a really useful player for England, particularly on the pitches out in Sri Lanka, and I'm thrilled to see him included in the squad.
Throughout the Twenty20 series in Pakistan I had a nagging feeling that we should have been getting him in earlier. I feel he's been used mainly as a bowler who bats a bit, but my view is that he's a batter who bowls a bit.
On the face of things, Ravi Bopara will come in for the omitted Eoin Morgan and it's a great chance for him. The selectors like continuity and if Bopara was the man in the squad it seems likely he will fill that role.
I don't think they'll do it, but there is an argument for playing Patel at six instead because that would give you an extra spinner. They've got him up their sleeve if they get over there and the pitches are raging turners.
I think it's more likely they'll play Bopara and utilise his medium pace, but if they feel it's going to be an absolute Bunsen they can play Patel and they'll get some decent overs from him.
I've been shouting it from the rooftops, but in those conditions I think he's a damn good cricketer.
There's a debate to be had about Morgan too. The lad has really struggled and I wonder if it's better for him to take time out. Players sometimes feel that they are better off going away and building up their confidence outside the Test arena.
He could do that in county cricket and the IPL. I have no problem with him going out to India because he can take himself out of the spotlight and it might free him up. Going out of the team can be the best thing for a player; you only have to look at Andrew Strauss, who recharged himself and came back as a much stronger cricketer.
I don't think there's any chance that Morgan will be forgotten though.
I must stress that the tour to the UAE was absolutely fabulous.
If you're looking for a downside, the grounds were in the back end of nowhere and it was an ordeal to get away from them. That needs sorting.
Apart from that, it was really good and I must thank the people of Dubai and Abu Dhabi who made us feel really comfortable (especially those who allowed us to play on the golf courses!)
As you would expect with Twenty20 cricket, there was an ebb and a flow to the series with Pakistan decisively winning the first one and England decisively winning the second.
The third match was anybody's game and Pakistan will feel that they let a great chance slip. They will probably reflect on the innings of their captain, Misbah-ul-Haq, who occupied too many deliveries.
I thought Stuart Broad's captaincy was spot on. Pakistan needed 35 runs from the last five overs and you'd normally back them to win every time, but he stayed calm, manoeuvred his bowlers properly and got his best bowlers on at the death.
Jade Dernbach was terrific and so was Kevin Pietersen. I've been in touch with two former England players who said he was absolutely sensational - and yet this is a lad who still polarises opinion. He's one hell of a player.
There have been murmurings about Jos Buttler on Twitter, but leave him be. Sometimes they hit it off straight away - a la Jonny Bairstow - but others take a little bit of time.
What I would say is that he was being thrown in at six or seven and that's not easy for a kid. Let the young 'uns set it up rather than bringing them in when it gets complicated. Look at Virat Kohli of India, who produced that devastating innings against Sri Lanka this week. He was in at number four and wasn't against the clock.
In the field, I felt sorry for Bairstow when he let one slip through his legs for four towards the end of Pakistan's innings, but he went from villain to hero in the next over with a rocket throw to run out Shahid Afridi.
That shows the thrills and spills of Twenty20 cricket. This format has some very famous detractors, but isn't there room for some rock and roll? If a Test match is an orchestral concert at the Royal Albert Hall, what's wrong with a bit of Frank Sinatra or a bit of Elvis Presley from time to time?
You can throw a bit of The Fall in every now and again as well...
I flew home straight after the final match and am still feeling a bit jet-lagged.
I wasn't helped by the highly-irritating woman in the row in front of me. At 3am when all you want to do is sleep, she was complaining as loud as anything that she didn't like her seat and she didn't like the food. She even complained there were too many people on the plane!
She was harping on about having houses in Stellenbosch and the South of France. What are you doing in Manchester then? Give it a rest love! She was like a cross between Dame Edna and Dick Emery: "You are awful, but I like you."
Well I didn't like her!
I'm going to need a bit of an afternoon snooze before heading off to a do for ex-Lancashire players at The Point. I never usually get to go to these things, so it will be great to catch up with guys like Jack Bond, Peter Lever and Jack Simmons. Sounds like there will be a good turnout.
I've got a few weeks at home now. I'm not doing the Sri Lanka tour as Sky Sports has adopted England's policy of leaving some big names out to focus on strength and conditioning.
Myself and Nasser are to be rested for this tour to ensure we're ready for the assault on the English season. I've just got my schedules through for the summer and there's only one word to describe it: BUSY.
I'd have loved to have gone out to Sri Lanka, but I can't argue with that very nice Mr King at Sky can I?