Leicestershire batsman Rishi Patel looking forward to some games with Sawston & Babraham in the East Anglian Premier League
Rishi Patel feels like he’s “coming back home” after signing for Sawston & Babraham Cricket Club for the 2021 season.
The former Essex batsman penned a three-year deal with Leicestershire in October, following a loan spell at the end of last season.
Prior to that in 2018/19, he attended Anglia Ruskin University lining up for Cambridge MCCU, but now he “can’t wait” to return to an area he has such an affinity for.
“I was there for one year, it was my first year as a professional. I’d already signed up to do uni but then I decided to go against that and focus on my career.
“But I really enjoyed my time in Cambridge, I love the city, love the people and loved the places to go so it will be coming back home really.”
Sawston & Babraham somewhat overachieved last year, reaching the East Anglian Premier League play-off final in their debut season.
The acquisition of Patel is a sign of intent to go the distance once again this summer, an ambition that the man himself shares.
“I want to be there and help them get on that journey to be competing and winning titles and winning cups,” said the 22-year old.
“I’ll do everything I can when I’m allowed to play to help achieve that goal.
“I’m really looking forward to playing in the EAPL. I know Callum (Guest) from my uni days and then I know a few of the other lads like Peps (Michael Pepper, Essex) and Callum Taylor who was at Essex for a while.”
Doubt still remains over how the 2021 season will look due to the pandemic, however, winter training at Leicestershire is well underway albeit rather different than normal.
“Lockdown has been, I suppose, tough, as it has for everyone,” said Patel.
“There’s not been much to do. But we’ve been in a really fortunate position to be part of elite sport and be able to train. There’s been a few cases but they’ve gone into isolation and it hasn’t really affected the running of the club.
“Obviously, we can’t get away this season due to restrictions. We had a trip planned for Desert Springs but that all got pushed aside.”
Patel left Essex, a club who he’d been with since the age of seven, after making just 10 appearances for the County Champions.
But, a fresh campaign is on the horizon with Leicestershire and the right-handed batsman is very eager to play as big a role as possible for his new county.
“It’s been really good to be able to go into the nets and work on new things and challenge yourself in different ways.
“I’m just being extra careful I’m not meeting anyone outside of those support bubbles that we have. I was a bit ill so had to go and get a corona test.
“Ideally from a personal point of view you want to play as many first-class games as possible as a professional cricketer and use that as a stepping stone to play further cricket,” but when not selected for the Foxes, Patel has vowed to give “100 per cent” to Sawston & Babraham.
“It’s good to be able to take a Saturday off county duties, come in, have a hit, keep the legs ticking over, keep my eye in, so when I am called back up I’m ready to go and able to score runs as best as possible.”
Meanwhile, the club announced this week that departed Haverhill players Anthony Phillips and Olly North are also joining them along with Milton’s James Drummond.