There is a healthy competition which is bringing the best out of us: Parthiv Patel
In the current scheme of things, there are five wicket-keepers with equal reckoning for the national side.
Parthiv Patel thinks that the retirement of longtime keeper-captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni from the longer format of the game has opened up a great opportunity for the rest of them to step up and prove their mettle. Parthiv, who had debuted for India at an early age of 17 way back in 2002, got eclipsed by the arrival of the former skipper and his performance. But Parthiv was always on the sidelines, showing up in the IPL matches and filling in some international matches as well in Dhoni’s absence.
His persistence finally paid off when he was called back to join the national team earlier in the England test in 2016 after almost 8 years. Though it was primarily because of the injury and ruling out of regular keeper Wriddhiman Saha, Patel is hopeful about their rotating chances.
“These are exciting times for us. There are a number of wicket-keepers at this point of time waiting for their chance,” he says. He feels that this pressure of competition will only help to improve the quality of keeping in the team. “There is a healthy competition which is bringing the best out of us,” Parthiv adds.
But along with that, all of them have really big shoes to fill, given the lightning movements of their predecessor behind the stumps as well as the key role of a finisher he played in the batting line up. “Keeping wickets is no longer the sole criterion for selection now. The game has evolved. One has to contribute handsomely with the bat, too. It’s as good as an all-rounder’s job now,” Patel says about the contributing factor of a wicketkeeper in the current scenario. “I feel everyone is trying to match the high standard Dhoni has set.”
Wicketkeepers in need at the moment
The competition and the increased demands from the wicketkeeper mean that all of them also need to put their best feet forward all the time, otherwise there is someone else the team management would rather go for. “Whoever is playing has to be on the top of the game whenever he gets an opportunity. That’s the reason you see whoever is coming in is doing so well,” says the Gujarat captain.
To further prove his point, the RCB keeper mentioned the whirlwind innings of 29 off 8 by Dinesh Karthik against Bangladesh in the final of the tri-series.
Parthiv will be playing for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the upcoming IPL season. He is very much looking forward to sharing the dressing room and playing under his national captain once again, about whom he had a couple of nice words to say. “When Virat’s captaining, you have to be on your toes. He brings in a lot of positive energy and makes sure you are giving 100 percent.”