Guys like Axar, Bumrah changed the mindset: Parthiv Patel
Updated - Jan 14, 2017 11:33 pm
Gujarat skipper Parthiv Patel led from the front as his side Gujarat created history by winning the Ranji Trophy for the first time. Parthiv was the man of the finals as he guided the team to a steep chase with a gritty 143. No doubt that the skipper was a happy man after lifting the coveted trophy. In an exclusive with the ESPNcricinfo after the match, Parthiv spoke about how times have evolved for the Gujarat side.
He reflected back at the time when the side used to play for mere survival. He credited the younger lot of the team for bringing in the new rigor and excitement in the team. A very modest Parthiv Patel took no credit for achieving such a big milestone. He accredited the success to good grass root cricket back in Gujarat.
Commenting on how the team eventually attained the supreme trophy, Patel quoted, “Basically, it’s because of a good plan back in Gujarat. Before the start of the season, we play a lot of practice matches. When we sit to pick the team, our meeting doesn’t last more than four-five minutes because the players pick themselves on their performances. We play so many matches before the start of the season that we are ready to hit the ground running.”
“The system for junior cricket is very good and those who perform in district cricket get an opportunity to play in the KSCA or Buchi Babu tournament. So by the time the Ranji comes around, no one has any doubt over whether he is in form or not. Whoever performs walks into the team,” he added further.
He went down the memory lane to recall how things have changed since he made hi debut for the side. He cited that there were not many big names in the team and the aim of the team was to survive in the elite group. Since he took over, the team has change a series of transitions. From being relegated to lifting the trophy this year, Gujarat has come a long way indeed.
Talking about the difference between then and now, he said, “There has been a big difference, no doubt. Our main aim was to survive in the Elite League when I made my Ranji debut in 2004. It was an honest assessment of where we were. Our best player was Niraj Patel, who averaged around 37, so you can understand how the mood was. Then when I took over, we were relegated in the first season.”
Parthiv Patel mentioned that it was the influx of young players like Jasprit Bumrah, Axar Patel and Manprit Juneja, who helped the team to come up as a stronger unit.
“I was helped by a great bunch of young Under-19 players, who came in and ensured players dream big. In the last three-four years alone, guys like Axar [Patel] and Jasprit [Bumrah] have changed that mindset. Manprit [Juneja] has played for India A. IPL has transformed the mindsets a great deal. If you look at the India Under-19 team over the last four-five years, we have always had at least two players in the team,” quoted the wicket keeper batsman.
RP Singh was drafted into the Gujarat squad this season. The veteran Uttar Pradesh bowler came up good for the eventual champions. Speaking about his inclusion, Parthiv quoted that RP aided experience to the bowling department. “RP has the knowledge and experience, so when we brought him, it was always as a mentor who could chip in at vital times for us,” he said. “RP has been the bridge between the captain and coach when it comes to the bowling department,” he added further.
Lastly, he conceded that it was all about the belief that was needed to get through a tournament like this. He cited that the team had done well in the last two editions as well, but this season they had the self belief more than ever before.
“We won two T20 championships and a 50-over championship in the last three years. So the talent and ability was there, it was just a question of belief. Luck also played a part. Performing under pressure can’t be taught. It’s just a case of experience being the best teacher,” he conceded.