Cricket: Former Black Caps star in English cricket

James Franklin with the trophy. Photo / Getty
James Franklin with the trophy. Photo / Getty

They are surplus to requirements in India, but former New Zealand cricketers Jeetan Patel and James Franklin have played pivotal roles in the English county championship this season.

The competition culminated overnight as 35-year-old Franklin led Middlesex to their first title in 23 years with a 61-run defeat of fellow championship hopefuls Yorkshire at Lord's.

The only New Zealander to previously lead a county championship side to the title was Stephen Fleming with Nottinghamshire in 2005.

A draw would have handed the spoils to Somerset, so Franklin and opposition skipper Andrew Gale negotiated a declaration. Franklin was the last batsman to go, dismissed for 30 in a caught-and-bowled dolly which received criticism for its contrived nature.

Middlesex set Yorkshire 240 to win from 40 overs. They were bowled out for 178. A Toby Roland-Jones hat-trick sealed the result.

Franklin has played as an allrounder for Middlesex in first-class matches, scoring 641 runs at 42.73 and taking 11 wickets at 58.72. He led them in 10 of their 16 game, for a return of five wins.

Speaking to Cricinfo, he defended the manufactured declaration.

"There was to-ing and fro-ing but we wanted to put a show on; a finale to the season at the home of cricket.

"Somerset will feel disappointed that this was how it played out, but we can only look after our own game, and both sides were prepared to lose to win."

Elsewhere, Patel topped the first-class wicket tables with 69 at 24.02 for Warwickshire, equal with retiring former England representative Graham Napier of Essex.

Patel also headed the Players' Association most valuable player table, an honour the 36-year-old off spinner first achieved in 2014. He was subsequently named as one of Wisden Almanack's five cricketers of the year.

Warwickshire finished sixth of nine teams in division one of the county championship, but Patel helped his side win the Royal London Cup one-day final by eight wickets against Surrey on September 17.

His two wickets for 28 runs from nine overs were part of Surrey's capitulation for 136 in 40.1 overs.

Patel and Franklin last played for New Zealand in 2013.

- NZ Herald

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