MSK Prasad justifies his decision to go for Parthiv Patel ahead of Rishabh Pant
by Ankit Editor
Published - Dec 4, 2016 2:11 pm | Updated - Dec 4, 2016 2:11 pm
Most wicketkeepers in India were just restricted to playing domestic cricket after Mahendra Singh Dhoni made his debut for India and absolutely owned the position. Someone only got an opportunity when Dhoni was not available. It was Wriddhiman Saha who emerged as his successor and took over the position after Dhoni retired from Tests. But when Saha was injured the selectors were forced to look deep and plow back another keeper from domestic cricket.
Chairman of selectors MSK Prasad had a tough choice to make between young Rishabh Pant and veteran Parthiv Patel. Going by the way Parthiv has developed his game in domestic circuit in the last couple of seasons Prasad & Co. decided to call him back in the Test team after a gap of 8 years. He made the chance count and scored healthy runs in both the innings.
It did justify the selectors decision but having ignored someone as talented and in-form as Rishabh Pant the selectors should have had a strong reason to back it up. Prasad was quoted by Indian Express saying “It’s 100 per cent a strong message to those scoring at domestic level. I have been talking to Parthiv for the past one year or so. Parthiv has raised the bar and has reached new levels,”
Parthiv has been at the peak of his game with the bat having scored 524 runs for Gurjarat with an average of 65.5. “Exactly a year ago, I showed him this is where you stand, and this is where you’ll get your chances. You have to be prepared when it comes your way. He was eagerly waiting for it. He has really earned it. It’s very tough for a wicket-keeper. There’s always only one slot up for grabs,” said Prasad.
“The way he batted, it looked like he was just ‘knocking’ or in practice. It was phenomenal the comfort with which he batted for a guy who’s come back after eight years. It speaks volumes about his mental toughness. For Parthiv, apart from keeping his motivational levels high, things like IPL have really helped.”
Though Pant has been scoring heavy runs in the Ranji season and already has a triple century and three centuries with an average of over 77.76 the chief selector feels the 19-year-old still has some distance to travel before he is ready for the highest level.
“I had a long discussion with Rishabh Pant and I explained the roadmap to him, and I have shown him the picture that lies ahead of him, where he is, where he should be heading, how he can get there,” he said. “It’s the same with any youngster like Priyank Panchal or a Deepak Hooda, the selectors need to draw the roadmap for them,” he added.