I’m very glad that Samit Patel declined to play in the IPL this year. He says that he needs to focus on Championship cricket to improve his chances of selection to the Test side. It would be easy for him to try to get some of the money on offer in the IPL with the knowledge that he is very unlikely to get a Test place anyway, but I am glad that he has chosen to fight for that slim chance all the same.
Right now his best chance of getting into the Test squad is probably as a second spinner for subcontinental tours. He’s probably still behind Monty Panesar for that spot and may soon be behind Simon Kerrigan, but he can bat better than either of them. It’s probably too late for him to get into this winter’s tours, but a full season next summer could boost his chances for selection against India, where he performed well in the recent ODIs. I’m not sure how much going to the IPL may have jeapordised those chances (it didn’t really hurt Eoin Morgan), but it would have caused him to miss almost half of the Championship. It probably can’t hurt for him to make his priorities clear to the England management though and a good season will ensure that his name is at least mentioned.