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Patel set for Test return

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 29/09/2016

Jeetan Patel of New Zealand bowls during day 1 of the 1st Test between South Africa and New Zealand at Sahara Park Newlands on January 02, 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa © Gallo Images/Getty Images Jeetan Patel of New Zealand bowls during day 1 of the 1st Test between South Africa and New Zealand at Sahara Park Newlands on January 02, 2013 in Cape Town, South Africa Rejuvenated off-spinner Jeetan Patel has shaken off his late arrival in Kolkata and is pumped about the chance to help New Zealand level their three-Test series against India.

The 36-year-old was recalled to the Black Caps for his first Test in more than three years after Mark Craig picked up a side strain on the last day of the 197-run first Test loss in Kanpur.

Patel was dropped from the New Zealand team after 2-0 series loss in South Africa in early 2013, and turned down a offer to return for the tour of the West Indies the following year.

But he brushed off any suggestion he returned as a saviour.

"I'm just excited to be here - I didn't think I'd ever play Test cricket again. But to come over, join a young bunch of lads that are going somewhere is pretty special," he said.

Patel is expected to form part of a three-pronged spin attack with left-armer Mitchell Santner and legspinner Ish Sodhi when the second Test begins at Eden Gardens on Friday.

He is coming off a stellar season of county cricket with Warwickshire, where he has taken 102 wickets in all formats, including 69 in the county championship.

Patel said his season for Warwickshire had been a testing one, but he was confident that experience would stand him in good stead against India.

"I've played seven years for 11 months now on the bounce, and a month off every year," he said.

"It's meant I've bowled a lot of overs. The reality is, I think spinners need to be bowling overs, and I'm lucky enough to be able to do that now.

"The overs I've got under my belt will hopefully help me out there if I get the nod."

A cancelled flight delayed Patel's arrival in Kolkata by eight hours, but he said there were no problems in getting up to speed.

"I feel like I'm in a good state at the moment - I trained OK today, and I'm pretty happy with where I'm at."

Patel said his focus for the Test was centred on two goals.

"One is being simple, and the other is to try and enjoy it. That's such a throwaway comment in sport, but it genuinely means a lot to me to be with these guys.

"I want to have as much fun as I can - I want to be that energy the team need, and I want to be that guy the youngster can go and talk to."

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