(Photo: Getty Images)
By Andy Stockhausen
Samit Patel admitted to feeling like a “bag of nerves” as he closed in on a notable personal milestone.
The fact the Nottinghamshire batsman’s only previous first-class double century had come against the students of Durham MCCU in 2013, clearly rankled with a man still hellbent on proving his credentials.
Eager to eclipse his highest first-class total against bona-fide county opposition, the experienced right-hander settled in for the long haul on a typically sluggish Bristol pitch that precluded any attempt to score quickly.
Having achieved his initial goal of raising a Championship double hundred for the first time, the former England player trained his sights on surpassing the 256 he made at Trent Bridge four years earlier.
Despite his years of experience on the county circuit, Patel was overcome by nerves at the point where he drew level with his previous highest score.
He confided: “I was just focused on batting the overs and the time and staying at the crease. When I reached a hundred, I thought I can go on and convert this into something really big.
“Everything went okay until I reached 256 – that’s when the pressure got to me and I felt like a bag of nerves. You play for all these years and think there is nothing left to experience, and then something like that happens.
“Then I pushed the ball to mid-on, ran a quick single and there was this feeling of relief. It had been a long time coming for me. I got back to the dressing room and I could tell the other lads were chuffed for me.”
His own biggest critic, Patel acknowledges his habit of failing to translate good starts into meaningful totals quite as often as he ought to.
He revealed: “I’ve been aware of the need to go on and convert a solid start into a big score for a while now, but it simply wasn’t happening for me.
“I still felt in good nick and knew that it was only a matter of time.
“Because of the situation in the game, I had time to build a really big innings. I decided to get my head down, bat the time and see where it took me.”