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Swann warns Patel to shape up to be a success

ESPN staff
October 11, 2011
Graeme Swann says his relationship with Samit Patel is fraught © AFP

Graeme Swann has told England team-mate Samit Patel the time has come for him to get his fitness under control and make the most of his international career, despite admitting he doesn't see eye-to-eye with his fellow spinner.

Swann has flourished into a crucial player for the national team in all forms of the game in recent years, although the success has come at a later stage than for most players after making his Test debut as a 29-year-old. Fellow Nottinghamshire bowler Patel, 26, has so far had his own troubles making an impact at international level - with his difficulty in losing some excess weight frequently cited for his inability to progress after making his one-day international debut in 2008.

Now back in the ODI fold and selected for England's current tour of India, Patel has been warned by Swann the time has come to finally focus on making the most of his career.

"Samit has had some well-documented issues with his weight and fitness, including being dropped from the touring party to the West Indies in 2009 when he fell below the minimum fitness standards required by the selectors," Swann said in his autobiography, The Breaks are Off. "Having returned to favour at the start of the 2011 summer, however, it is now up to him to really knuckle down, get himself in better shape and make the most of his undoubted potential.

"Maybe, like me those few years back, he'll realise what he's missing out on and make a pact with himself to sort himself out a decent international career. After all, cutting out a few packets of crisps here or there is hardly the most difficult thing to do if it's the difference between a tour to Australia and a winter spent having bowling-machine sessions with the Notts batting coach."

Swann also revealed in his autobiography that the two men are "not exactly close", after Swann confronted Patel about some views he had been spreading around at Trent Bridge.

"We worked well together for Notts, particularly in one-day cricket, but I had a few issues with him dating back a couple of years previously when he told a few porkie pies about me," Swann noted. "I found out and confronted him and he had the gall to repeat his stories to my face.

"It was only after a couple of minutes of heated argument that he suddenly backed down and apologised. He'd claimed that he'd confronted me about my contributions to the team and said that he should be playing instead. This was all news to me.

"It was a very bizarre and surreal episode and it left me feeling very wary of him. Afterwards, even though relations improved over a few seasons playing together, I still found things awkward."

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