Parthiv looking to turn a new leaf in Pakistan
Parthiv Patel, one of the youngest players to don the wicket-keeper's gloves in world cricket, said the disappointing tour of Australia and the constant scrutiny by the critics had stregthened his resolve to make himself a permanent member of the Indian cricket team "by improving every day".
The baby faced teenager said he had identified the flaws in his wicketkeeping during the Australian tour and had worked hard to rectify them.
"I have worked very hard on my keeping after the tour. I knew I was not upto the mark so I was determined to rectify all my problems. I still have a long way to go," the 19-year-old Patel said.
Patel's ordinary display beind the stumps had raised a question mark over his international future but the national selection committee, which includes two wicketkeepers who played for the country with great distinction -- Syed Kirmani and Kiran More -- reposed faith on the youngster and persisted with him on the historic tour of Pakistan.
The youngster has not disappointed them having put up a much improved performance behind the stumps in the first two Tests in Multan and Lahore and also contributed with the bat by equalling his highest score of 62 in the second Test which India lost by nine wickets.
With help from some former wicketkeepers and video technology, Patel identified the flaws in his keeping and worked hard on rectifying them.
"I felt that maybe I was not watching the ball closely in Australia, and that I was probably getting up a little early. I got some inputs from Ian Healy, I am obviously in constant touch with Kiran More, and Kiri bhai too helped me out.
"After listening to them, I went and watched some videos of mine, and I found that what they had identified was exactly what was wrong," he said.
"What happened was that I thought there might be some extra bounce on the Australian wickets, so I was just trying to get up just a fraction of a second early. But that was not helping, because the wickets in Australia weren't behaving the way I had anticipated."
Having smoothened the rough edges, Patel played in domestic cricket after returning from Australia. "I played a couple of one-dayers in Ahmedabad, and I played the Duleep Trophy game too. I did sense a difference in my keeping.
"I am more confident now. I kept well in the Duleep Trophy game, and I kept for a whole day in the practice match in Kolkata before we left for Pakistan."
With the Indians preferring to go with vice-captain Rahul Dravid as wicketkeeper in the one-dayers, Patel did not get to play any match in the five-match one-day series.
"It's a bit hard to just sit out and not to play matches at all. Nobody can improve his game unless he keeps playing matches.
"So it has been quite a difficult period from that point of view, a bit frustrating for me. But it was also good in one sense in that I got some time to work on my wicket-keeping and my batting."
Patel made his Test debut as a 17-year-old in Trent Bridge and was considered a naturally talented keeper but his career graph took a downward plunge with some ordinary display in recent times. But the young man is determined to turn a new leaf from the Pakitsan tour.
"Such periods come in every player's career. There might be some bad phases, there might be some good phases. Whatever has happened, has happened. I have worked hard on my wicket-keeping now and hopefully, it will be a better period for me."
He believed that the Pakistan tour had been a good experience for him and he wanted to leave a mark as a series against Pakistan was always special.
"I feel I am very lucky to come to Pakistan. A lot of Indian cricketers haven't got the chance to come to Pakistan in their entire careers.
"So it is a big series for me personally. I am just trying to hold my nerve and play up to my standards."