Sep 09, 2017
By MI Media
When Sachin Tendulkar broke into the Indian side as a teenager, not only did he create a record of becoming India’s youngest debutant, but also proved that age is not a restricting factor when it comes to playing cricket. A certain youngster from Gujarat had a similar dream to play for his country. His first introduction to the leather ball was not until the age of ten. And, just five years later, he found himself leading the West Zone Under-19 team against a touring England U-19 side. The player is Parthiv Patel - someone who currently has a dual responsibility of opening the innings and keeping wickets. Parthiv loves to thump the ball, punch it with perfection, pace his innings with a calculative attacking style and has a rock solid defense. He has now completed 10,000 First-class runs. It clearly shows that his hunger for scoring runs is still at its peak, in his long career so far.
He grabbed everyone’s eyeballs when he smashed twin tons in 2000, in the Vijay Merchant U-16 Trophy. Parthiv Patel looked up to Ian Healy and Adam Gilchrist as his role models. Parthiv quickly wanted to follow Gilchrist, who succeeded at the highest level with his attacking instincts, giving quick starts to Australia, and kept wickets really well too. From the time Parthiv wanted to make it big, he never looked back. “I wish to play for India as a wicketkeeper for a long time,” were his words early on in his professional career. His dream came true when he became the youngest wicket-keeper to play Test cricket, making his debut against England in 2002. On his first tour, he had a big burden of saving the Test. "I told myself: even if I don't score runs it is okay, but I have to hang in there in the middle. I was asked by my captain to stay in the middle, and I am glad that I could do that." He managed to do so, dug in hard and saved the Test match for India.
He was destined for greatness and caught eyes everywhere he went. He scored his maiden first-class century at 18, when he thumped 22 fours and faced 146 balls in an impressive 129. He was touted as a future star and had his own moments when he was still young. In the Ahmedabad Test match in 2003, Parthiv Patel’s entry was as vociferous as the one that greeted Sachin Tendulkar across India. The wicket-keeper managed to stay unbeaten in both the innings. He was in attacking mode, standing like David in front of Goliath. Sourav Ganguly had words of praise for Patel. "That's why I say that it is important to have a wicketkeeper who can bat, and if Parthiv can do this consistently, it will only be good for India."
Parthiv Patel was consistent throughout his domestic career. His long and successful run in the domestic circuit earned him another call-up to the Indian team after 8 years. In November 2016, he was called up as a replacement wicket-keeper, having missed 83 Test matches since his last one. During that long gap, he never thought he would score the winning runs in the Mohali Test which gave the Indian team an 8-wicket victory against the touring English side. He smashed an unbeaten knock of 67 from 54 balls to show he wasn’t done yet in the international arena.
Parthiv Patel led Gujarat to their maiden Ranji Trophy title in 2016/17 when they defeated the Mumbai Ranji team. Beating Mumbai in a final was always going to be an uphill battle but Parthiv showed his nerves and smashed 90 and 143 in the final. Mumbai didn’t have any answer to him and suffered a loss as Gujarat lifted the coveted trophy. Thus, Parthiv Patel became the first captain to have won all three major domestic titles in India.
Parthiv Patel continues to shine brightly in the domestic circuit. It has been a long career so far but his appetite for runs is never-ending. With 10,000 First-class runs and counting, it still looks like he is still chasing some unfulfilled dreams.