During the recent victory for the Exiles against the Strollers on 22 August 2010, veteran bowler Naren Patel became the first Exile to pass 300 wickets for the club. No other bowler even has 200 in fact. The Exiles website caught up with Naren to ask him a few questions…
Naren, many congratulations on taking your 300th wicket for the Exiles. How do you feel about this achievement?
Nothing special but regret not starting my career with Exiles bowling medium pace which could have brought my tally nearer to 400. When I started playing first for the Exiles I used to bowl leg spin but used to concede lots of runs and hardly took a wicket. In the third year we played a team (can’t remember the name) on a ground adjacent to CSSG where the allotments are, we were 4 short. That day I decided to bowl medium pace and took 4 quick wickets and nearly won the game. that was the start which has now taken me to 300.
Are there any particular wickets that stand out in your memory?
I have a very short memory so the wicket which stands out this season is Rob Peter’s from Agricola when I hit his middle stump after his onslaught on my bowling earlier in the season. The other wicket which stands out is that of Mark’s when I hit his stumps first on the second ball I bowled to him when we played the Nomad’s at Nursery Road. I had never managed to do that in any of the club matches prior to him joining the Nomads.
Can you remember your first Exiles wicket?
I have no idea when I took my first wicket. In fact I might have been wicketless in my first season when the Exiles did not win a single match.
Which Exiles bowlers do you enjoy bowling with – and are there any you’ve tried to learn from?
I used to like bowling in tandem with Jonty Tarbuck and that is going back a few years. The reason being that the opposition never knew where their next run was going to come from in the first 12 over or so.
How do you prefer to take your wickets?
The best way I like taking wickets is to it by my own effort and not rely on others.
Are there any batsmen out there that you particularly enjoy bowling at?
I like bowling to batsmen who like to hit everything out of the park. I feel I stand a better chance of getting a wicket against those type of players as I tend to bowl straight. However, I also get upset if they connect.
Do you have a favourite spell that you’ve bowled for the club or victory that you’ve played in?
Frankly I do not have any specific memory about any good spells. I like to contribute in every match with my bowling and every win is a good win for me particularly against some of our old and regular rivals. I say this because when we first started it took us a few seasons before we won our first game. Losing was the order of the day and it did not matter who the opposition was. However, over the years the team has improved so much and with the players we have I find it hard to take to take when we lose.
How long can you keep going – is 400 or even 500 wickets achievable?
Not sure about 500 but 400 is possible provided the team is going on for the next 5 years. Might have to bowl at a reduced pace or go back to bowling spin.
Many younger bowlers out there will be interested to know how you can keep bowling with the same pace and effectiveness, year on year – any tips for bowlers’ longevity?
The message is to keep going and never think you are old. Keep playing and don’t take breaks unless you are injured.
Naren, many thanks for your time and best wishes for your future cricketing career.
Interview by: Andy Wingfield 30 June 2010