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Parthiv Patel gets lucky India break ahead of red-hot Rishabh Pant

Parthiv Patel has made a comeback to the Indian Test team after eight years. However, many would feel that Delhi youngster Rishabh Pant was extremely unlucky to miss out after his record-breaking feats in Ranji Trophy this season

cricket Updated: Nov 23, 2016 15:27 IST
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Siddharth Vishwanathan
Hindustan Times
Parthiv Patel,Rishabh Pant,India national cricket team
Parthiv Patel has made a comeback to the Indian team after eight years while Rishabh Pant has had a record-breaking 2016-17 Ranji Trophy.(Hindustan Times)

Parthiv Patel has made a spectacular return to the Indian Test side after a gap of eight years. Patel’s selection has opened up a question whether the Indian team management is looking at the future or wants to give its ‘old’ stars another break.

Parthiv Patel has replaced injured wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha for the Mohali Test against England. The Bengal wicketkeeper suffered a left thigh strain in the second Test in Visakhapatnam and has been advised rest.

However, Patel’s selection will make another young wicket-keeper batsman feel a bit denied. Delhi’s Rishabh Pant, who is having a phenomenal run in the current Ranji Trophy season, was a strong contender but has lost out to the baby-faced Patel .

Read More | Parthiv Patel returns after eight years, to replace Wriddhiman Saha for Mohali Test

It has been a roller-coaster journey for Parthiv Patel. After making his Test debut as a 17-year-old wicketkeeper against England in Trent Bridge in 2002, he showed plenty of promise. He starred with the bat in the series against Australia in 2003-04 and against Pakistan in 2004.

However, over a period of time, his batting and keeping deteriorated and with the emergence of MS Dhoni, Patel last played a Test in 2008 against Sri Lanka at the P Sara Oval. He scored 13 and 1.

In that Test, Anil Kumble was the captain of the Indian team. Now, with Kumble as the coach, Patel will renew old dressing room ties and trying to convert the toehold to something more substantial.

Parthiv Patel in great form

After being dropped from the Test team, the left-hander accumulated runs in Ranji Trophy on a consistent basis. Barring the 2010-11 season where he averaged just 31, his average has never dipped below 50 in subsequent seasons.

Read More | Rishabh Pant is making a case for selection with aggressive, yet calm approach

In the ongoing 2016-17 Ranji Trophy season, Parthiv Patel has been in superb form for Gujarat. He has notched up scores of 61, 53, 60 and 21. However, in the clash against Madhya Pradesh recently, the left-handed batsman smashed an unbeaten 139 in the second innings as the match ended in a draw.

While Patel merits selection, Rishabh Pant’s record-breaking run cannot be ignore. A Test spot would have been a great way to bolster the youngster.

Rishabh Pant unlucky?

In the current season of the Ranji Trophy, the 19-year-old Pant has been in record-breaking form. Pant is the leading run-getter in the current season, having accumulated 874 runs in just six games at an average of 109.

Pant’s scores as a middle-order batsman in the Ranji Trophy have been 146, 308, 24, 9, 60, 117, 135. In the ongoing game against Rajasthan in Wayanad, he smashed 75 which allowed Delhi to take the lead.

In this season, Rishabh Pant has smashed several records. He blasted a century off just 48 balls against Jharkhand, which was the fastest century in the Ranji Trophy. In the same game, he blasted 21 sixes, which is the second-highest in all first-class games.

In the game against Maharashtra, he smashed a triple century, making him the second Delhi batsman since Raman Lamba in 1994 to achieve this feat.

With his aggression and consistency, Pant can feel unlucky to have missed out on the Mohali Test. However, with India playing a further eight Tests in 2016/17, Pant might still get a chance.

Parthiv Patel, who is now 31-years-old, will take the Mohali Test as a lifeline. He can’t afford to blow it up as Gautam Gambhir did because Rishab Pant is just a phone call away.

First Published: Nov 23, 2016 15:21 IST