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'Full-time player, part-time coach' – former Black Cap Jeetan Patel explains new England role

After a playing career that's spanned 19 years and 749 professional appearances, former Black Caps off-spinner Jeetan Patel is loving his latest challenge, helping England's touring cricketers on their tour of New Zealand.

With successful domestic careers with both Wellington in New Zealand, and Warwickshire in English County Cricket, you'd struggle to find a more qualified spin bowling expert for either side heading into the current series, the visitors drafting in the 39-year old Kiwi as a consultant.

Despite any conflicting emotions about working against his countrymen and former side, Patel jumped at the chance to move into a coaching role, eyeing a fulltime switch once he finally calls time on his playing days.

"My time in England's been successful on my part, but [coaching's] also what I want to go into, and where I want to go with cricket in general," Patel told 1 NEWS.

"I'd love to be part of a coaching setup somewhere and think this is a great opportunity to start. To be part of a team who's trending in white ball cricket, and an exciting cricket team that want to play aggressive cricket.

"It's an exciting side to be a part of."

The irony of Patel's first assignment coming against his former side isn't lost on him either, with New Zealand Cricket having to allow him dispensation to join England while still contracted to Wellington and the Firebirds.

"It probably makes sense, it helps me being at home. The time I've been given to do this role has been really important.

"Cricket Wellington [and] New Zealand Cricket have been really fantastic in dealing with. That's been awesome, but ultimately, it doesn't really matter what environment, it's just another learning opportunity.

"I've got to make sure that I keep learning off these guys, and pass on whatever knowledge I do have."

While most coaches would start their careers with a smaller domestic side, Patel is thankful to be given the opportunity to work for one of cricket's biggest teams.

"It's very special, I'm very lucky to have this opportunity. A lot of coaches would strive for an opportunity like this.

"For me to go straight into something like this is fantastic, I've been really appreciative of the England boys, and they've been really good to deal with.

"Transitioning can be tough - for everyone I suppose. Hopefully this can lead to something more."

Making no secret of his coaching ambitions, Patel knows that he simply has to make the most of his time with England, before returning to Wellington duties afterwards.

"Right now I'm still a fulltime cricketer that's a bit of a part time coach really.

"This is something I want to do. I want to be involved in cricket, I really want to be involved in cricket, it's given me so much.

"I'm really excited about what's next. I must admit [that] this opportunity's huge for me - not to impress too much, but to get an understanding of how it all works, and what I can give back."

Patel's first coaching assignment comes tomorrow, as the Black Caps begin their international summer against England at Christchurch's Hagley Oval.


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Patel is working against the Black Caps as a spin bowling coach this summer. Source: 1 NEWS


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