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I wasn’t frustrated when I wasn’t playing but was waiting for it for a long time: Parthiv Patel

Parthiv Patel India
Parthiv Patel. (Photo Source: BCCI)

Sourav Ganguly recently said, there is no better wicket keeper batsman in the domestic circuit than Parthiv Patel at the moment. His words were 100 per cent true. The Gujarat skipper proved with his recent admirable performances against England in the recently concluded Test series. He made a return to international cricket after a gap of eight years and it’s never easy to stamp your mark again. The pressure was right on him to make the selector’s choice as a good one and show the hunger in him to play for India at the highest level.

“I have always had the self-belief of making a comeback at the international level. I was enjoying my cricket because of the success I was getting at the Indian Premier League. More than the contract, you test yourself playing against international quality bowlers. That’s something you look forward to when you are not playing for India. It keeps you going,” said Patel taking in an exclusive chat with Cricbuzz.

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It was a quite well-known fact that Patel had to make way for Wriddhiman Saha, the first-choice ‘keeper, once the latter was declared fit. It was due to his injury that Patel got a look-in and an opportunity to emulate his domestic achievements. Parthiv got to play three Tests on the trot and did well as an opening batsman scoring a 67* at Mohali and 71 in Chennai.

The 31-year-old opened up on what had kept him motivated during those eight years in wilderness and how he kept the frustration away from him.

“I wasn’t frustrated when I wasn’t playing as I never worried about it (selection). The present committee told me where I stand and that’s a welcome step. Sometimes, when you are not in the loop, you don’t know where you are. If a player knows where he stands, I think he will be able to think in the right direction.”

“Every day was an opportunity for me. I was waiting for it for a long time. I was definitely not worried that this might be my last game or the last day of my Test cricket. I was just enjoying representing the country again. When you are playing such a high-pressure sport, you don’t really worry about what is going to happen in the future. You just try and give your best shot.”

Patel’s showing in the series made fans compare him with Saha and a debate regarding who is the best kicked off. But, the wicket-keeper says that he doesn’t believe in comparison while stating that it is a thankless job but of very high importance.

“I don’t believe in any comparisons. I have already said this before – give me one ‘keeper in the world, who has a 100 % record and hasn’t dropped a catch. Since I’m in the centre of the things, usually the dropped chances get noticed. It’s like the umpire’s job. Nobody talks about the catch to dismiss Bairstow or Ben Stokes or the stumping of Alastair Cook where it bounced at Wankhede. But I’m very confident and more experienced now. I’m sure I can handle pressure and not worry about other things.”

The commitment was high from his side. An example of it was the final Test in Chennai when he kept for close to 160 overs and came to bat open India’s innings in the last session. This not only proved that he was all focussed on his job but also was at his fittest.

“When I was dropped, I wasn’t moving well, maybe I wasn’t fit and strong enough to handle 90 overs. Now I don’t need to tell anyone how fit I’m. I kept about 160 overs and came out to open. I felt really good about it. There are a lot of keeping drills that I have been doing, which has helped me to make sure that I’m ready and alert. I have had a good three Test matches. And the wickets were not that easy to keep. The experience I have had on keeping in Indian wickets has helped me a lot.”

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