People talk about Glenn McGrath but Javagal Srinath was right up there: Parthiv Patel
India wicket-keeper batsman Parthiv Patel, who has had the privilege of keeping against all of the above mentioned fast bowlers except Kapil Dev, keeping to Srinath was a challenge in itself because of his pace and bounce.
The current Indian bowling attack comprising Jasprit Bumrah, Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami is rated as one of the best in the world but that was not always the case with Indian pace attacks. Traditionally known for producing some of the best batsmen and finest spinners, fast bowling was never India’s strength. One would not have to struggle much to name the decade-wise best fast bowlers of India. In the 1980s it was Kapil Dev, in the 90s the baton was passed on to Javagal Srinath and Zaheer Khan led the pace attack commendably in the 2000s.
India wicket-keeper batsman Parthiv Patel, who has had the privilege of keeping against all of the above mentioned fast bowlers except Kapil Dev, keeping to Srinath was a challenge in itself.
Parthiv, who made his India debut at the age of 17 against England in 2002, played only three Tests with Srinath as the Karnataka great was at the twilight of his career.
“Zaheer Khan and Javagal Srinath were playing, so that was a big challenge too. There isn’t much of bounce and the ball comes at a good pace.
You have to stand slightly closer to the stumps than you stand when playing outside India. So that was something I learned, as to where to stand behind the stumps when the ball is reverse swinging,” Parthiv told Rediff.com.
The left-hander even went on to draw similarities between Australian legend Glenn McGrath and Srinath.
“People talk about Glenn McGrath, but the first time I kept against Sribhai he was right there and there about all the time and with good pace and bounce,” said Parthiv.
Parthiv kept wickets for India in Srinath’s last Test match which was against the West Indies at the Eden Gardens in Kolkata in October 2002.
“Sribhai (Srinath) was playing in his last series; he did not play any Tests after that.
Even in his last series, he was getting a lot of bounce and at a very good pace. He was also very accurate,” Parthiv added.
Srinath, who retired after the 2003 ODI World Cup, represented India in 67 Tests and 229 ODIs picking up 236 and 315 wickets respectively. Srinath continues to be India’s second-highest wicket-taker in ODIs after Anil Kumble, who has 337 wickets to his name.
Parthiv also spoke about his experience of keeping wickets to Harbhajan Singh and Anil Kumble.
“It was a big challenge for sure, because Anil bhai and Harbhajan were at their peak.
“Their speed was faster than the normal spinners, but more than the speed the biggest challenge was the bounce which they were generating, especially when playing in Chennai and Mumbai.
So that was a very big challenge. I thought I kept really well throughout that Test series.
I had worked on my wicket-keeping skills before that series with Kiran More,” Parthiv said.