Patel: It's great to finally beat India in their own backyard
SAMIT Patel knows from bitter experience how hard it is to beat India's one-day side on home soil, but after finally tasting success the all-rounder is desperate for more.
A nine-run victory in the first one-day international on Friday ended a sequence of 13 games without a win in India for the tourists, a run stretching back to 2006.
Visits in 2008 and 2011 both ended in ignominious fashion, with 5-0 whitewashes on each occasion.
Patel played in every one of those defeats and could be forgiven for feeling the rush of victory a little more intensely than most in Rajkot.
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The Nottinghamshire man played a decisive role too, leading a late charge as England batted first, with his boundary-strewn 44 not out in 20 balls seeing the side to an imposing 325-4.
"I've been here for ten ODIs before and lost all ten. It's just great to get a win here," said Patel.
"Sometimes people don't realise how much of an effort it is to beat these guys over here.
"They're just good players in their own backyard. They play good one-day cricket all around the world, but in India they dominate spinners and they dominate cricket in general.
"On past tours here we've not even won a warm-up game. To win the first ODI in Rajkot was fantastic. We lost the first two warm-ups again, so we knew how crucial it was. We knew the boys were ready, but what a great win and what a great start."
An extra level of satisfaction for Patel came with the fact that his long losing spell was ended in the state of Gujarat, where his Baroda-born parents hail from.
But it is still easy to discern a sense of scarring in Patel's past experiences in the country.
Words like "demoralising" and "hurtful" are not in every battle-hardened sportsman's vocabulary, but Patel uses both when asked about his time in India.
"To play India in 2008 was quite demoralising. We put up good scores and they knocked them off; they put up good scores and we got nowhere near them," he said.
"As a batsman when you hit a boundary and you don't get a clap it can be a bit hurtful, really. You know you've played a good shot and no one's really appreciated it.
"That can eat a bit under your skin, but it's about how you handle it."
If those sentiments suggest a difficult track record then Patel is clear about the best way to put that right – by repeating the success of Rajkot and helping England to only a second series win in India and their first since 1984-85.
"I think the way we've learned how to play their spinners is outstanding and a credit to us as a team because in past tours we've struggled," said Patel.
"It just shows if you put in the hard yards and you learn you get your rewards.
"The Test series win was outstanding. It took a lot of courage, a lot of desire, a lot of hard work.
"It is something good to be a part of and I think we (as a one-day squad) can achieve it if we stay calm and level headed. If we look to be positive and back our own ability then we have a good chance."
The second ODI takes place in Kochi tomorrow.