Former India wicket keeper Parthiv Patel has expressed his desire to represent the nation in the upcoming 2019 World Cup. Following a successful season at home last year, the 32-year-old remains confident of stepping up as and when needed despite being out of limited over format since 2012.
The left-handed batsman was quite an early bloomer in his cricketing career as he debuted in the national side against England back in 2002 as a 17-year-old. But, things didn’t go as planned and he was out of the side in three years with the emergence of Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Though he had made some appearances sporadically over the next decade or so, his game didn’t see some major improvement whatsoever.
“At a young age, you usually don’t worry about anything. Same was the case when I was 17. It was just a dream come true for me (to represent India). I never sat and thought how big an opportunity was that. It was just a good time for me. The time of my life,” said Patel.
The Gujarat boy was in conversation with Hindustan Times, where he stressed upon his journey as a cricketer in the past 15 years and how he has changed his game over time. “The main goal (now) is to improve my game, where I can get better, where I can help my team win tournaments. I want to be a better player every day,” he said.
However, his persistence and hard work did bring him in the spotlight last year. As an unfortunate thigh strain to current Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha had ruled him out of the series against England, Patel was called up. And he did brilliantly in the Chennai game, getting involved in four wickets from behind the stumps and making a convincing 71.
He didn’t stop at that. It was followed by Gujarat’s Ranji win and Mumbai Indians' triumph in the Indian Premier League for the third time. Patel recalls the fruitful season stating, “One of them is to play Test cricket. The other one to play Ranji Trophy. And now the IPL -- a tournament you want to be a part of and that too of a winning team. To get such a reward within a year’s time is very satisfying.”
Patel has improved as a cricketer retaining both his fitness and performance and his batting average clearly shows it. It hasn’t dropped below 45 in the Ranji Trophy and the player credits it to his development as a player the few changes he had to make over the years.
“I’ve made a few changes -- especially in terms of initial movements. And there is always a conscious effort of scoring hundreds. I’ve always maintained the mentality… I’m ready for any role the team management wants me to do. Whether it is opening, batting in the middle-order, playing as keeper-batsman, keeper-opener, I’ve enough experience to adjust to the conditions… So why not. Would love to be a part of the World Cup team”