Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Min Taking It to the Max to Lead Kent Charge for That Elusive Title; Cricketer of the Month

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Min Taking It to the Max to Lead Kent Charge for That Elusive Title; Cricketer of the Month

Article excerpt

Byline: ALEXANDER CLYDE

Cricketer of the Month

HE HAS had both knees reconstructed and survived a serious back operation, so it is little wonder that Min Patel's Kent team-mates called him Nuts and Bolts. The former England left-arm spinner will celebrate his 35th birthday on Thursday with a present that not even Roman Abramovich's money can buy - the precious gift of health and fitness.

After the midsummer madness of the Twenty20 Cup, Kent will return to the serious business of attempting to win a first County Championship in 27 years at Canterbury this weekend against Sussex.

The unbeaten Division One leaders will have the benefit of a refreshed and rejuvenated Patel in their line-up, with his match-winning bowling potential.

Patel, who sat out the helter-skelter Twenty20, proved he'd lost none of his powers in the long game with an astonishing return of six for 53 in 25 overs of high-class spin as Kent crushed current champions Warwickshire by an innings at Edgbaston in June.

That was the third of three emphatic four-day victories in the month that swept Kent to the top of the table. There were big contributions from the batters, notably from Martin van Jaarsveld, Matt Walker and Darren Stevens, and from bowlers Simon Cook, Amjad Khan and Andrew Hall.

But the most eye-catching, heart-warming displays came from Kent's own bionic man, Patel, who even managed to hit a career-best 87 in the 10-wicket victory over Glamorgan, sharing a double century stand for the eighth wicket with Van Jaarsveld.

The feats have earned Patel the prestigious Evening Standard Cricketer of the Month award for June, for which he receives a bronze statuette plus a magnum of Veuve Clicquot.

"This is a great honour. I'm thrilled," said Patel. "We've been playing really well as a team but the last six weeks have been great from a personal point of view as I felt I've made my contribution.

And, more importantly, I'm feeling fit and well. …

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