Slimline Samit heads for Sri Lanka

Weightwatchers might just have a new poster boy. The England cricketer Samit Patel is providing inspiration for all of those looking to shed a few pounds by securing a place in the England Test squad to tour Sri Lanka.

The talented batsman and spin bowler frustrated England management for years with his attitude. He was excluded from England's one-day team from 2008 to 2011 because of problems with his weight and general fitness. England coach Andy Flower ruled Patel out of contention for last year's World Cup because of concerns about his weight.

Patel’s response has been impressive, if a little tardy. He travelled to Australia at his own expense last winter to undertake a new fitness regime, took on a kick-boxing trainer and changed his diet. Although Patel is never going to be a natural athlete, there has been a noticeable difference in his speed and energy in the field and at the crease.

He has returned to England’s one-day and Twenty20 teams and performed impressively in the series wins over Pakistan in both formats. With England lacking a convincing all-rounder since the retirement of Andrew Flintoff, management are hoping that Patel could make that leap.

Certainly on the Sri Lankan pitches, Patel’s ability to spin the ball, and his astuteness in batting against spinners could be crucial assets. England could even field a team with 3 spinners, Patel joining Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar in the starting 11. The England staff will just have to ensure they steer Patel away from those delicious Sri Lankan buffets.

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