Here is why Parthiv Patel deserves a look in: At 17 years, 152 days, the diminutive Parthiv Patel became the youngest wicket-keeper in cricketing history, when he was called to do national duty as a replacement for the injured Ajay Ratra in the second Test against England at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, on 8th August, 2012. He had broken the record of Hanif Mohammad of Pakistan (17 years and 300 days). By then Parthiv had not played even a single First-Class match.
He was seen sharing the dressing room with the ‘who’s who’ of Team India – Sachin, Sehwag, Ganguly, Dravid, Laxman, Harbhajan et al.
He picked up a couple of catches but scored a DUCK in the first innings and scored an unbeaten 19* runs in the second, batting ‘time out’ on the final day, helping India draw the match.
Featuring in 20 Test matches (30 innings, 7 times unbeaten), since then, he has a tally of 683 runs at an average of 26.69 with 69 as his highest score, which he achieved as opener in the first innings of the Third Test against Pakistan at Rawalpindi in April 2004, facing the likes of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami.
His glove-work was very much suspect, especially while ‘standing-up’ to the spinners. His batting prowess helped him in getting the selectors’ nod until they ran out of patience and replaced him with Dinesh Karthik in the fourth and final Test against Australia in Mumbai in November, 2004.
The move was made inspite of the fact that Patel had done reasonably well with the bat putting in scores of 46,4,54,20 and 32.
Patel was recalled for the national duty during India’s tour to Sri Lanka for three-Test series in July-August 2008. He got an opportunity to play in the third Test but could not do anything worthy.
This was the last heard of Parthiv Patel in the Test arena.
However, Patel had a successful run in the domestic circuit. In Ranji Trophy 2008-09 season, he ended scoring 526 runs from 11 innings, averaging 47.81 with a century and three half-centuries.
The same 11 innings in 2009-10 saw him accumulate 727 runs at an average of 66.09 with 3 centuries and 4 half centuries.
Patel gathered runs at an average of 54.20 in the 2011-12 series, playing in only 4 games and had a couple of centuries to his credit.
Partiv was fourth in the overall chart of ‘high run-scorers’ in the 2012-13 series, knocking up 895 runs from 13 innings, average a remarkable 68.84 runs with 162 as his highest score while 2013-14 season saw him accumulate 594 runs from 11 games, averaging 54.00 with a couple of centuries and three half-tons.
While he had a lacklustre 2014-15 season with just 380 runs from ten innings, averaging 47.50 with only a couple of half-centuries, in the current season 2015-16, Patel has accumulated 452 runs 12 innings and being unbeaten on 2 occasions, he has averaged 45.20 with 2 centuries and 2 half centuries.
The 30-year old also had a decent outing in the recently concluded Vijay Hazare Trophy 2015. Featuring in 8 games he had scored 295 runs at an average of 36.87 with a century and a half-century.
Averaging 52.16 in 7 games of the domestic version of T20, Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy 2016, with four half-centuries, Patel harbours hopes and dreams of playing with the ‘big boys’.
The skipper of Gujarat told newsman prior to the super-league game in SMAT, “I am not someone who puts extra pressure on myself thinking that I have to play for India. Yes, there is dream and there is motivation of playing for India (again), but there”s no point (just) thinking about it. I have been the top scorer so far in the tournament. I am feeling good about my game and if I can win this tournament for my state there is nothing like it. But definitely there is a big motivation of playing for India.”
“I have been the top scorer so far in the tournament. I am feeling good about my game and if I can win this tournament for my state there is nothing like it. But definitely there is a big motivation of playing for India”, he added.
Given the situation now, the position of wicket-keeper in the national team for the Test matches, is still up for grabs. Wridhhiman Saha, who had replaced MS Dhoni, on his (Dhoni’s retirement from the longer format), has been unsuccessful in many any kind of impression.
At such a juncture it would be worthwhile to give suitable opportunity to the Gujarat stumper so that he may deliver and become an integral part of the Indian dressing room for the longer format.
At 30, he is neither a youngster nor a veteran and if he is able to deliver its all the more good for Team India.
India would be playing quite a few Test matches at home and this would be the best opportunity to try Parthiv Patel.