Smit Patel, a member of the Indian under-19 2012 World Cup-winning team, is looking forward to playing in the Caribbean Premier League (CPL) after officially saying goodbye to tournaments hosted by the Indian cricket board and moving to Arizona (US).
Patel would be hoping to make a mark for Barbados Tridents in the CPL in August before moving on to the Major League Cricket (MLC) in the USA and other franchise-based leagues across the world.
“It’s a new innings for me. Starting with the highs of the under-19 World Cup, then the frustration of not finding a place as a wicket-keeper and then moving four teams [Gujarat, Tripura, Goa, and Baroda] within India for opportunities. All this is bound to happen when there’s stifling competition, so I’ve got no complaints," Patel told cricinfo.com
“I’m blessed to have played for India at a world event. So, I’m moving on with happy memories. All my paperwork with the BCCI [Board of Control for Cricket in India] is complete. I’ve sent in my retirement letter. So, the India chapter of my cricket career is over. If I return, it’ll only be to train here for a month or so every year when it’s snowing back in the US," he said.
Patel admitted it was not easy to leave India.
“Having played for 12 years in India, to suddenly pack up and leave can be intimidating. But since my family was already here [USA], the decision was somewhat easier. Also signing up with MLC [for two years] was a surety that I’m part of a system here," he said.
Patel was in the same squad as captain Unmukt Chand, Hanuma Vihari, and Sandeep Sharma, to name a few, which won the 2012 Under-19 World Cup, but he could not cement his place in the Gujarat team as skipper Parthiv Patel was the first-choice wicketkeeper.
Patel scored a total of 3,278 first-class runs in 55 games, including 11 centuries and 14 half-centuries.