Jeetan Patel: Warwickshire spinner still in hunt for Most Valuable Player title
Warwickshire spinner Jeetan Patel still has a chance of retaining his overall Most Valuable Player title going into this week's final round of County Championship matches.
The Bears have been relegated from Division One but Patel still has a chance of overhauling his namesake, Nottinghamshire's Samit Patel.
His ton against Yorkshire last week was on top of an eight-wicket match haul.
It was the third best individual effort since the MVP rankings began in 2007.
His match haul of 80.46 rankings points was a total that has only been beaten by Kent's Martin van Jaarsveld (81.59 points) and Middlesex off-spinner Ollie Rayner.
Patel earned 30 points for his century, the third of his career and second against Yorkshire, added 11 more points for taking two wickets in Yorkshire's first innings and 34 more for his first five-wicket haul of the season.
In this season's overall MVP, Patel, who also won the award in 2014, is now on 458, only 65 points behind Notts all-rounder Patel, the long-time leader, whose last five Championship matches have yielded just 43 rankings points.
Somerset pace bowler Craig Overton is third (455 points), with Hampshire's former South Africa fast bowler Kyle Abbott fourth (453) and Surrey's former Sri Lanka batsman Kumar Sangakkara fifth (451).
In the MVP points list for Championship performances alone, Essex fast bowler Jamie Porter is three points clear at the top after taking another six wickets in the newly-crowned champions' remarkable win over Hampshire.
He is ahead of Hampshire's and Kent all-rounder Darren Stevens, who suffered a frustrating complete wash-out against Derbyshire at Chesterfield.
Porter's county team-mate Simon Harmer, the former South Africa off-spinner, is fourth (313), while Sangakkara is fifth (295).
The top three best MVP totals in English cricket
- Martin Van Jaarsveld: 81.59 v Surrey, The Oval, June/July 2008. 5-33. 1 catch. 114*, 115*
- Ollie Rayner: 80.81 points v Surrey, The Oval, September 2013. 8-46 & 7-72. 3 catches. 4 & 28
- Jeetan Patel: 80.46 v Yorkshire, Headingley. September 2017. 2-61 & 6-50. 4 catches. 100 & 11.
- The Most Valuable Player (MVP) system began in 1987. It identifies the match-winners and key influencers of matches throughout the domestic season, taking into account conditions, quality of opposition, captaincy and strike-rates, as well as runs scored and wickets taken.
Bears healing process has already begun
Patel's first-innings 100, his first Championship five-for in a year and his four catches were not quite enough to get relegated Warwickshire over the line at Headingley.
But it was a heartening display from the Bears and 37-year-old Patel insists that their bid to get things right again at Edgbaston and win promotion back to Division One has already begun.
"The process started last week," Patel told BBC WM. "It started the moment we lost and went down. We're sick of taking backward steps. Now it's time to go forward a bit again."
"We sat down and spoke about just how important the eight days of cricket we had left this season were.
"We need to start breathing again, believing, showing the intent of how we want to play in 2018.
"It's not going to be easy going into Division Two. You can't jut expect to rock and roll teams and score plenty of runs. You've got to put in a lot of work."
Patel's campaign was not helped by his mid-season Champions Trophy call-up by New Zealand in June, when he spent three weeks on drinks-waiter duty.
In the end, he only missed one Championship match - and, in a league now cut short by two matches, he has still weighed in with 594 runs at 29.70, but only 36 wickets at 32.58 - almost certainly ending his impressive run of five successive 50-plus hauls for the season.