After calling it a day from cricket, Parthiv Patel has reckoned that it was Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble’s leadership that made him a better person on and off the field. While admitting that the retirement timing was right, he recalled the 2002 Headingley and 2003 Adelaide as his favourite Tests.
On Wednesday, Parthiv Patel called it a day from all formats of cricket bringing the curtains down on an 18-year-long career in the sport. During his time in the Indian team, the left-hander has spent a chunk of his early life-celebrating India’s historical wins in the early 2000s. The southpaw was part of the squad that won the Test match in 2002 at the Headingley Cricket Ground and also incidentally was the first-choice keeper during India’s historical win against Australia in 2003 at the Adelaide Oval.
The Gujarat wicketkeeper recalled his time in the Indian jersey, reckoning that Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble’s leadership in the 2000s had made him a significantly better person both on and off the field. The southpaw has also made his Indian return several times during his 18-year-long cricketing career.
“Sourav Ganguly and Anil Kumble. They were leaders, their management and man-management skills both on and off the field made me a better person,” Patel told ESPNCricinfo.
“Yes, I did feel I was ready when I was handed a Test debut, because I had good tours of South Africa and Sri Lanka with India A. I'd gone through a Border-Gavaskar Scholarship Programme in Australia. For me, the biggest pressure was when I was looking to make a comeback, when you know you have to keep performing year after year, and you have to wait for your chances. That was the bigger challenge for me,” he added.
In the Headingley Test, India posted 628 runs on board in the first innings before Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh blew open the home side to help India set up an innings and 46 runs victory. In 2003, it was Australia’s turn as familiar figures of the Indian batting unit once again helped India to one of the most famous victories of the country in the last two decades. Patel also recalled the time when he was given his first Test cap, with his name wrongly spelt as ‘Partiv’.
“The best memory for me is to have been part of India's Test wins in Headingley [in 2002] and Adelaide [in 2003]. Contributing to our series win in Pakistan in 2004, where I took up the opening slot in Rawalpindi - all these are greats moments. Also, receiving the first Test cap from Sourav [Ganguly] in Nottingham was special. I still have the cap that Dada gave me - I've been spelt wrongly as "Partiv" there.
When asked about his retirement, the Gujarat keeper was modest with his answer - admitting that it was the ‘right’ time for him to step away from the game in order to give more opportunities to the youngsters.
“I think the timing is right. I've been contemplating (it) almost for a year now. I was taking it season-by-season. I felt that this was probably the right time, having played 18 years of first-class cricket and India career. I'm satisfied and content with the career I've had. I've been part of three IPL title wins. I also feel that Gujarat cricket is in very good shape right now,” he concluded.