Parthiv Patel says if Indian team wants him as proper batsman, he is ready
Parthiv Patel’s international career has been an unusual one. He got an India Test cap in 2002 and by 2005 he was out of the side with Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s arrival. In the next 12 years, he made some international appearances before receiving an unexpected boost late last year.cricket Updated: Jul 31, 2017 17:54 IST
There is something about Parthiv Patel. From a fairytale start to being dropped, going through the domestic grind and coming back into the reckoning -- he has done it all in the space of 15 years. From a carefree teenager to the glue that held Gujarat together during their maiden Ranji Trophy win, Parthiv has indeed come a long way.
“At a young age, you usually don’t worry about anything. Same was the case when I was 17. It was just a dream come true for me (to represent India). I never sat and thought how big an opportunity was that. It was just a good time for me. The time of my life,” said Parthiv in a conversation with Hindustan Times.
“The main goal (now) is to improve my game, where I can get better, where I can help my team win tournaments. I want to be a better player every day.”
Parthiv’s international career has been an unusual one. He earned the India Test cap in 2002 and by 2005 he was out of the side with Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s arrival. In the next 12 years, he made some international appearances before receiving an unexpected boost late last year. Wriddhiman Saha suffered a thigh strain during the Test series against England and Parthiv was back in the Indian team. This wasn’t all. The Ranji Trophy win and being a part of Mumbai Indians’ (MI) record third Indian Premier League (IPL) triumph summed up a rollercoaster year for the wicket-keeper batsman.
“As a cricketer you have a few dreams,” said Parthiv.
“One of them is to play Test cricket. The other one to play Ranji Trophy. And now the IPL -- a tournament you want to be a part of and that too of a winning team. To get such a reward within an year’s time is very satisfying,” he expressed.
Since 2012-13, Parthiv has never averaged less than 45 in the Ranji Trophy. His show behind the stumps has improved significantly in the last two years and according to him, it’s just the case of focusing on ‘realistic practices’.
“I haven’t changed much in wicket-keeping as far as technique is concerned. The only thing that I have done is realistic practices -- in terms of taking catches, effecting stumpings. In terms of wicket-keeping on a rough surface, I have changed my practice routine in a way that I don’t do both skills at a time, in one session. There is equal importance given to both batting and wicket-keeping.
“As far as batting is concerned, I’ve made a few changes -- especially in terms of initial movements. And there is always a conscious effort of scoring hundreds. I’ve always maintained the mentality that whenever I’m in the middle as a wicket-keeper, I’m a specialist wicket-keeper. Whenever I’m in the middle as a batsman, I’m a specialist batsman,” he said.
With the likes of Rishabh Pant, Wriddhiman Saha and Dinesh Karthik performing exceptionally well in the domestic circuit, Parthiv Patel is unperturbed with the competition he faces.
“When you are playing in a big country like India where 27-28 teams participate (in the domestic circuit), competition will always be there. You always have to be on your toes when want to play for your country. It doesn’t come that easy. Competition gets the best out of all of us. Everyone knows whoever gets picked is good enough to play.
With both fitness and performance standards he has maintained in the past few years, Parthiv feels he is ready to step into any role in the Indian team. “I’m ready for any role the team management wants me to do. Whether it is opening, batting in the middle-order, playing as keeper-batsman, keeper-opener, I’ve enough experience to adjust to the conditions. On top of that, my belief has helped me stay afloat,” said Parthiv.
Asked about his ambition to play the 2019 World Cup in England, he said, “As I said, whichever opportunity I get, I’ll be ready for it. My career has gone up and down but I haven’t set any boundaries for myself. There is no reason why I can’t get into any form of the game.
“So why not. Would love to be a part of the World Cup team,” he concluded.