It seems that instead of packing up for the World Cup, English allrounder Samit Patel has been packing on the pounds. His overweight condition, which he failed to address after being handpicked in the 30-member World Cup squad last month, has effectively seen him miss the boat for the mega-tournament altogether. Indeed, having not met even the squad's most basic fitness standards has left his international career in shambles.
England coach Andy Flower has expressed grave frustration at Patel's indifference over his weight. After all, this cricketer - who possessed the prowess for hard-hitting and deceptive left arm spinning - would have been ideal conditions in the Indian subcontinent where the World Cup is to be held.
Instead, the senior spinner Graeme Swann will now be joined by Michael Yardy and James Tredwell, neither of whom could be described as natural athletes, but who have both shown a willingness to put in the necessary hours in the gym.
"It is very frustrating but only the individual is responsible for that," Flower told reporters in Hobart. "Samit was chosen in the initial squad because his type of player would be very useful in the subcontinent. He was chosen on the condition that he would improve his physical state to be in consideration for this squad of 15. All we were saying was 'get into reasonable shape'. It didn't have to be perfect. In fact, all we wanted to see was an improvement, but a significant improvement. He hasn't done that.
Patel dazzled selectors and fans with both bat and ball during a run of 11 ODIs in 2008, and picked up a haul of 5 for 41 against South Africa at The Oval. But off the field, he was described by England's then-captain Kevin Pietersen as "fat, unfit and lazy", and has been an outcast ever since, despite repeated pleas from England's selectors for a change of attitude.
His standards seemed to slip to an all time low shortly after his wedding in October last year, as his weight ballooned when he was back from his honeymoon. His Nottinghamshire coach Mick Newell said that Patel has only himself to blame for not sincerely focusing on reducing his weight. It's clear, the "scales have tilted" against Samit.