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Citing Parthiv’s catching woes, Sunil Gavaskar reckons Dhoni should not have retired from Tests

The catching woes is hurting India with South African inching closer to the series win.

Varun Aaron | CricTracker.com
MS Dhoni talks to teammate Varun Aaron in 2014. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

Former Indian captain Sunil Gavaskar recently opined that the former Indian skipper MS Dhoni should not have hung his boots in Test cricket so early. MS Dhoni retired from the longest format of the game in 2014. Since then, Wriddhiman Saha has been India’s first choice keeper in Test cricket. However, with Saha injured and out of the ongoing South Africa assignment, Parthiv Patel has got his lucky break.

Much to his disappointment, Parthiv has failed to be impressive with the gloves. He dropped Dean Elgar in the second innings of the ongoing Centurion Test. Also, earlier in the game, he had dropped Hashim Amla and had given a reprieve to Faf du Plessis in the first innings. The catching woes is hurting India with South African inching closer to the series win.

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In this backdrop, Sunil Gavaskar recently quoted that had MS Dhoni been in the team, the side would have benefited big time. However, he did add that he respects the decision that the former captain eventually took.

“If MSD [Dhoni] wanted to carry on, he could have carried on. Clearly, I think he might have had too much of captaincy [burden]. I would have actually liked him to maybe give up captaincy and still stay in the team as wicketkeeper-batsman because his advice in the dressing room would have been invaluable. Maybe he thought that the best course for him was to not to be there,” Sunil Gavaskar quoted in an analysis show on Sony Ten 1 TV ahead of fourth day’s play in Centurion.

On Parthiv’s wicketkeeping

Commenting further on the wicket-keeping aspect, Sunil Gavaskar admitted that the Indian team is missing the services of Wriddhiman Saha. Saha had pocketed 10 dismissals in the first Test in Cape Town. Drawing comparisons between Saha and Parthiv Patel, Gavaskar pointed out that the latter can be very competitive with the bat in hand. However, when it comes to the wicketkeeping aspect, Parthiv falls short.

“Wriddhiman Saha has been missed. There is no question about it. His keeping is at an altogether different level. Parthiv Patel though is a competitive wicketkeeper. He is a little fighter as we can see when he gets the bat in his hand. However, sometimes with the gloves he can have a little bit of an issue. We saw with that missed opportunity [Elgar on Day 3]. If we had gone for it and dropped it, then there would have been no issues. But not going for a catch does make you feel a little bit disappointed,” Gavaskar remarked.

On the possible run-chase

Speaking about the prospect of team India batting fourth on a track that has started to tear away already, Sunil Gavaskar opined that chasing any score in excess of 250 will be tough. For now, the Proteas have already managed to get a lead in that proximity. Gavaskar cited that Ashwin has been using the rough pretty well. Hence, the hosts will also have an equal, if not more, opportunities to trouble the Indian batsmen.

“If you look it, the odd ball was keeping low, some balls were bouncing. The pitch has started to wear around the good length area. If Ashwin can use that spot to good effect, he can create a lot of problems. But that also means, India will find batting in the last innings difficult. So they must make sure they are not chasing more than 250-260. Anything more than that is not going to be easy,” the former cricketer pointed out.

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