Leicestershire County Cricket Club's Rishi Patel agrees to play for Sawston & Babraham in 2021
It is not known how often he’ll be available for selection, but captain Dan Heath is excited at the prospect of seeing Rishi Patel turn out for Sawston & Babraham.
Patel is contracted to Leicestershire County Cricket Club, but he has agreed to play for Heath’s side this summer when not representing the three-time County Championship champions.
The batsman joined Leicestershire from Essex last year and he has scored 170 runs from seven First Class outings.
His responsibilities with Leicestershire will take priority, yet Heath is still confident that Sawston & Babraham should still get a good look at the 22-year-old in the East Anglian Premier League.
“We felt like the squad needed a little boost,” said the skipper.
“We were due to have a couple of players coming from abroad, but with the Covid situation, that is looking unlikely.
“There are also some PE teachers in our team and if school cricket returns, some of their matches will be on Saturdays, so that will leave us a little bit short.
“We spoke to Rishi last year but it didn’t work out. But we touched base again recently and this time we’ve managed to get something sorted.
“I’ve played against Rishi before and our vice-captain Callum Guest spent some time with him at Cambridge MCCU, so it’s not like we are signing someone we don’t know about – we know how good he is.
“In a way, you don’t want him with us all season. If that was the case, it would mean he’s not doing well for Leicestershire and that has to be his priority.
“I’d like to think we’ll still see a bit of him though, maybe in the middle part of the season.
“It’s a big signing for us and we are looking forward to having him with us.”
Heath also revealed that he would be bringing Noah Thain into the fold.
There are high hopes for the youngster, who has been part of the Essex youth set-up.
“Noah has had some really good schooling at Essex,” added Heath.
“He’s a player I’ve previously coached and he’s a genuinely exciting talent.
“It would be great for us to hopefully play a role in his journey to First Class cricket.”
And in a further boost for Heath, all of last season’s squad have agreed to remain at the club.
He said: “Everyone is staying, which is great news. Hopefully we can get a full season in and look to continue our impressive form from last year.
“We’ll be playing the two different formats, which is not something many of the team has done before.
“It’s an exciting time and we cannot wait to get started – fingers crossed we can get started on time.”
Sawston & Babraham’s season is due to start on Saturday, April 17 at Burwell & Exning.