Wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel will don gloves for India against England in the fourth Test at Mumbai beginning Thursday. His selection comes as regular keeper Wriddhiman Saha has not been able to recover from a thigh strain. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) announced on Tuesday on its official twitter handle.
— BCCI (@BCCI) December 6, 2016
Patel’s selection have set tongues wagging on whether the Indian team management made the right choice or not. However, there are four reasons which prove that the decision is not at all wrong.
1. Batting prowess: While he erred on most of the occasions behind the wickets, Parthiv Patel did not disappoint on the batting front. After a patient first innings knock of 42, he struck a blistering 67 not out to take India home at Mohali. If you think it was a fluke, let me tell you the 31-year-old has never averaged less than 45 in Ranji Trophy. Plus, this year Patel boasts of an impressive average of 60. In today’s time, when wicketkeepers are expected to contribute towards the team total, the tides turned in his favour.
2. Choice as an opener: Although KL Rahul is fit for the Mumbai Test, but Patel can be a good option as a makeshift opener. In Mohali, he showed glimpses of his batting talent against the likes of James Anderson, Chris Woakes and Adeel Rashid. Opening the innings along with Murali Vijay, Patel did not show any signs of vulnerability while facing the new ball as he took on the English bowlers superbly.
3. Saha’s flop show: When Mahendra Singh Dhoni retired from Test cricket all of a sudden in 2014, Wriddhiman Saha was brought in as his replacement. But, you know MSD’s shoes proved to be too big for the Bengal wicketkeeper to fill. Despite among runs in the Indian Premier League, Saha has not been able to replicate his form in the longer format of the game. He falters while donning gloves and cannot be trusted to bail the team out during trouble.
4. Deserves another chance: You cannot have a good day on the field all the time. Even the likes of Adam Gilchrist and Mahendra Singh Dhoni have faltered on their bad days. So, it is unfair to rule out Patel for his dropped catches. One must not forget how he stumped Ben Stokes in the first innings at Mohali when the latter was becoming dangerous. To those cricket fans who have been following the young Parthiv since his younger days, remember how he took a stunning catch to dismiss Australian opener Justin Langer in Sydney 12 years ago?