Veteran wicketkeeper-batsman Parthiv Patel feels India’s young keepers should be given a “consistent run” to secure their place in the national team, something which has not been happening of late.
While Wriddhiman Saha has been a regular in Tests (especially at home), India currently do not have a fixed wicket-keeper in limited-overs cricket with KL Rahul recently taking over duties from Rishabh Pant, who is a regular squad member but not a sure starter anymore.
“I don’t think it is a case of not getting any fixed wicketkeeper in the Indian team,” Patel said during an Instagram chat with sports journalist Nikhil Naz.
“In domestic cricket we have KS Bharat who plays for India A... Rishabh Pant or KL Rahul who keeps for Karnataka... Saha is your number 1 Test wicketkeeper,”
“But I genuinely feel we can get a bit more consistency so that [keepers] have the assurance. Everyone has it in them, it’s about getting a bit more consistent run [in the team].”
Patel said that, in preparation for his retirement, he is doing a course in broadcasting as he felt comfortable with the thought of being a commentator.
Talking about the evolution of wicket-keeping, Patel, who last played a Test for India in 2018, said: “I think wicket-keepers are all-rounders. You have to keep a mindset that you’re a pure batsman and not a wicketkeeper. If you think your job will be done by just scoring 30-odd runs and then will keep. It will not happen anymore.”
“There has been an evolution totally. People want your wicketkeeper to score runs. You can then play with five bowlers in a Test. You will have more chances of getting 20 wickets,” Patel added.
Former India cricketer and Patel’s social media partner in crime Yuvraj Singh has spoken about the lack of role models in Indian cricket currently. When asked what has been the biggest change in Indian cricket since his debut to now, Patel said that IPL has played a big role in taking the fear out of the equation for youngsters.
Patel recalled that when he made his debut, usually youngsters made the jump from domestic cricket straight to international cricket and were suddenly in the midst of idols who they grew up watching. But IPL has made sure that the jump is not so significant for youngsters who are around big players either as coaches or team’s seniors. “It has helped humanising the senior players,” Patel added.
The wicketkeeper-batsman also spoke about the importance of balancing batting and keeping.
“When I was on the Australia tour (in 2018), (MSK) Prasad was chairman, I had told him that when a wicketkeeper comes to team it’s only because of his runs he scored but when he is dropped it’s because of poor keeping. You have to strike the right balance and have the mindset that you are a pure batsman as well as a proper wicketkeeper. You have to keep that mindset.”
The 35-year-old has played for four-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians in the past and is currently with Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore, who are yet to win the title.
“I’m with them for three years now. Like any other team we go with the mindset that we will win this year... when you are not successful pressure increases,” Patel said.
Speaking about chipping in as the virtual vice-captain at RCB when Kohli fields in the deep, Patel said: “Wicket-keeper has a 360-degree view, personally I’ve experience of leading domestic side for 10-15 years. I always tell Virat (Kohli) whatever I feel, same with Rohit earlier (when I played with MI) I feel it is the duty of the wicketkeeper, especially when experienced.”
In the chat, Patel also spoke about facing Shoaib Akhtar’s pace in a Test match in Pakistan, his many tussles with umpires at the domestic level and more:
(With PTI inputs)