With all the drama surrounding the vacant opening spot in the England line up, it's been easy to overlook Samit Patel's sterling form on the tour so far.
With all the drama surrounding the vacant opening spot in the England lineup, it's been easy to overlook Samit Patel's sterling form on the tour so far. But we've not been blinded by the sideshow, so we're giving him our Player of the Week gong.
Patel has overcome a lot in his England career, including some not so nice treatment from his own team mates at times, and he's having the last laugh. In the first tour match against India A, he took two wickets and scored a lovely century, hitting 104 and seeing off five batting partners.
In the second tour match, where all eyes were on Joe Root and Nick Compton as they battled to become Alastair Cook's partner, Patel quietly went about scoring 60, as well as taking three more wickets in one innings.
He batted with confidence and great technique in both games, and look comfortable against what little spin the opposition decided to bowl at him. Even though he was one of Yuvraj Singh's five scalps in the first game, he didn't look shaky against the 'pie-chucker'.
In fact, Patel's emergence has taken the pressure off the middle order slightly, as his fellow batsmen seemed to take heart from his century. Eoin Morgan and Jonny Bairstow also got some valuable runs on the board in the second game, and it will be interesting to see who the selectors go for, come the first Test.
One cannot imagine that Patel won't crack the nod for the Ahmedabad encounter, especially as his bowling adds another dimension to the attack. The England bowling department is looking a bit under the weather at the moment, what with both Steve Finn and Stuart Broad being injured, so leaving out the double threat that is Patel would be unwise.
We'll also give an honourable mention to Compton, who overcame a duck and a single in his first two highly pressurised knocks to score 64 not out against Mumbai. He batted slowly but with resolve, looking to show the selectors that his experience makes him the man to partner his skipper.
<b>Lindsay du Plessis</b>