During the recently concluded Caribbeanhosted ICC 2022 ICC U19 World Cup,
Canada’s Sheel Patel captured 4 wickets for 125 runs in 29 overs bowled at an average of 31.25 runs and with an economy rate of 4.31. Figures which placed him at the very top of the Canadian team’s bowling averages and
second amongst its highest wicket-takers.
As good as those figures may have been, they were still somewhat shy of the personal
ambitious objectives Patel had set for himself heading into the tournament. His personal hopes and objectives had been to bowl to the best of his abilities and to take as many wickets as possible. Knowing that he would
have to bowl in the power play most of the time or early on in the innings, Patel wanted to keep a tight line and length so as to let the opposing batsmen have to force their shots.
Patel had also wanted to be at the very top of the leader board for both wickets and economy rates, not just for Team Canada but for the entire tournament as well. He’d also hoped to help Canada qualify for the Competition’s Super 8 stage.
Patel’s inability to fulfil either of those, somewhat lofty, objectives was significantly impacted by things not having gone quite the way he would have liked, for either his bowling or batting, during the first three matches he played. He was out of rhythm and neither his lines nor lengths were as tight as he would have liked. Although he
did, eventually, find a much better rhythm in the last three matches, by then the chances
for the fulfilment of his personal hopes and objectives had long since gone a-begging.
Having now had the time to reflect on the overall experience of playing on such a global stage as that which the Word Cup had provided, Patel wisely sees it as a wonderful learning opportunity. A great
takeaway of valuable lessons learnt, despite the performances.
For Patel, the most valuable of those lessons would be to stick to what he knows and to remember
to always stay calm when things aren’t going his way. Because it’s such a huge stage, it is very easy
to become overwhelmed and nervous, but staying calm and executing the plans that you know do
actually work, does help!
Canada’s match against powerhouse England, a game that was televised worldwide now easily
ranks highest as Patel’s favourite memory of the entire World Cup. The playing of the Canadian
national anthem at the start of each match, sharing dressing rooms with his teammates, as well as the
overall feeling of being a professional athlete will now, however, be forever fondly held very high among his
most favoured World Cup 2022 memories. Playing in front of his family at the stadium was also huge
both for them and Patel himself, being as it was a dream come true.
Patel would have wished for the match against England, in particular, to have gone Canada’s way, but
despite the eventual losing outcome, it was nevertheless a great experience and a life-changing one. That match gave him an inkling of what professional cricketers feel every game, and what needs to be done in order to reach their highest level. It was, therefore, most wonderful for him to experience playing alongside his teammates
and in front of his very own family.
For Patel, the biggest disappointment of the entire tournament would have been Canada’s inability to prevail in
their opening match against the UAE. That match had become all-important to the Canadians because they knew
that the outcome would be crucial to their chances of progressing to the Super 8.
Not surprisingly, Patel was just as disappointed in his own performance. He did not bowl the way he would
have wanted to and when batting a temporary loss of concentration resulted in him giving away his wicket.
The eventual loss was a huge blow to the entire team. Winning would have instead given them a very good start to the rest of the tournament.
Moving forward, Sheel Patel’s intentions now are to utilize his 2022 U19 World Cup participation
experience to help him to reach the next level for his cricket career development, and in particular
towards his eventual National Senior team Selection! Everything he has learnt, game by game, practice by
practice, has been noted in writing. His intentions, therefore, will be to rely on those valuable World Cup experience notes, as well as the lessons learnt to help boost his performances during the forthcoming Domestic Leagues this summer and in any other tournaments within which he plays.
He would also love to train abroad for a couple of months, as playing on turf pitches and getting quality
practices would help him to become a much better cricketer. All of which would in turn channel back into
helping him perform to the very best of his abilities in the various leagues and as a stepping stone to
National Senior Team selection. Patel now strongly believes that his 2022 U19 World Cup lessons learnt if diligently put into actual practice can and will help him to achieve senior team selection.
In terms of an actual time frame for achieving that worthy goal Patel, whose date of birth is August 29
2004, is now still only 17 years old. As such he should definitely have another U19 World Cup experience
before him. Beyond that, his objective would then be to achieve National Senior Team selection within a
year of his final U19 World Cup and by the time he reaches the age of 20.
Given that he’s now already experienced a couple of seasons playing senior club cricket within Canada and
performing relatively well while doing so, it’s a goal that’s definitely reachable. And his exciting journey
towards which will now indeed be One To Watch!