Recently, Indian wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel announced his retirement from all forms of the game. He was one of India’s youngest debutant. He was also a wicket-keeper who was a victim of the colossal talent of MS Dhoni. Here’s the hard-fought story of what could’ve been a remarkable career of Parthiv Patel :
The Horrific Incident During his Childhood
Like many cricketers, Parthiv Patel too had a very sad story before his rise. At the age of 6, his little finger came in the door and was cut. Being a wicket-keeper as well as a batsman, it must have been incredibly tough for Parthiv to undergo this sort of an injury. Especially, it was extremely uncomfortable keeping with a cut finger to bowlers bowling at 130kmph+ speed. He, however, had a solution to this problem. He had taped that part of the gloves and kept wickets.
Here’s what Parthiv had to say about that incident :
It is slightly difficult in a way because the last finger doesn’t fit in the wicket-keeping gloves. So I tape it down the gloves so that it stays joint. I don’t know how it would’ve been if I had all the fingers but when I look back, it feels good to represent India as a wicket-keeper with nine fingers.
Parthiv Patel shows his injury (Image Source: Twitter)
India hardly had wicket keepers who could bat well at that time. After Nayan Mongia got into the fixing scandal, India needed to find a wicket-keeper who could also bat well. And at that time, it was Parthiv Patel who was giving some consistent performances for Gujarat in the domestic circuit. After the injury of Ajay Ratra in the India-England series in 2002, Parthiv was called as a replacement keeper for the Indian team. He was touted to be the next big thing in Indian cricket. He was only 17 years and 152 days when he made his international debut and became the youngest keeper in the international circuit.Embed from Getty Images
Patel was also selected in the Indian team for the 2003 World Cup as a wicket-keeper, but unfortunately couldn’t even get a single chance to prove himself as Rahul Dravid took up that slot to play an extra bowler in the team. But being in a World Cup squad at the age of 18 is itself a big thing, isn’t it?
The Steve Waugh Incident:
In the 2003-04 Border Gavaskar Trophy, in Steve Waugh’s last Test innings, Parthiv Patel jokingly commented, “Let’s see if you can play one of those famous slog-sweeps, and miss one.” Steve Waugh’s reply was even more savage and hilarious. He replied that Parthiv was in his nappies when Waugh played his first Test way back in 1985.Embed from Getty Images
And sledging Waugh is never a good idea to do because he’ll make sure you pay for it. Steve Waugh single-handedly saved a Test from the jaws of defeat scoring a fine 80. Parthiv still recalls this incident with a great fondness.
The International Comeback and Downfall:
Parthiv was, however, performing inconsistently for India at that time. Many extraordinarily talented wicket keepers such as MS Dhoni and Dinesh Karthik were coming up the ranks. Both of them were extremely crafted glovemen and Parthiv’s place in the squad started to be vulnerable. And it was MS Dhoni who cemented the place in the squad after some swashbuckling knocks at number 3 with 148 and 183* against Pakistan and Sri Lanka respectively. It was quite certain that Parthiv was going to lose his place and vanish.
However, he gave another comeback in the Test squad in 2008 against Sri Lanka after becoming the first Indian to slam five first-class centuries in five consecutive innings. However, he failed in the only Test match he played, with the scores of 13 and 1. And he was never picked again in the team for the next 2 years.Embed from Getty Images
He then gave a comeback in the ODI team in 2010 against NZ. He showed his class scoring back to back half-centuries and continued to be good until the England series. But again, his form dipped and then he was removed once again in the Commonwealth series in Australia.
In 2016, after a remarkable 8 years, Parthiv Patel once again came into the Test team for the injured Saha in the Mohali Test against England. He scored 42 and 67* in both the innings to win the Test match for his side. Despite these performances, he was dropped again in that series only to make a comeback 2 years later against SA in Johannesburg in 2018. Patel ended up with the scores 2 and 16 on a tough wicket only to not play for India again. Due to the emergence of a lot of young wicket keepers through the ranks like Pant, it was next to impossible for him to play for India again.
The Domestic Cricket Great:
Although his international career never went as he would have expected, he had a great journey in domestic cricket. He has been one of the most prolific players of Gujarat in both List-A and First-Class cricket. He has amassed over 15,000 runs for Gujarat across all formats.
His biggest high as a cricketer would be winning the Ranji Trophy for them in the year 2016-2017. He was also adjudged the ‘Man of the Match’ for scoring a total of 233 runs in the final in both the innings. With this Ranji victory, he became the first captain to have won all three major domestic titles.
Despite the ups and downs in his international career, Patel was quite successful in the Indian Premier League playing for Chennai Super Kings, Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Deccan Chargers, Mumbai Indians and Royal Challengers Bangalore. He has won 2 IPL titles as a player in the Indian Premier League.
Parthiv Patel hits a four (Image Source: Royal Challengers Bangalore | Instagram)
Patel has also captained Kochi Tuskers Kerala during the mid-season. He was also the top scorer for the Mumbai Indians in their title-winning season in 2017. And for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, he played an attacking role taking on the bowlers right from the powerplay. His most memorable performances in the IPL include a fine half-century against the Super Kings in 2019 IPL and a sublime run out in the last ball of the match playing for RCB when his father passed away the previous day and also a fine half-century against Gujarat Lions in a tricky run chase.
In his final season of IPL in 2020, he didn’t get to play even a single game for RCB.
In 2020, he announced his retirement from all formats of the game and currently has been appointed the talent scout for Mumbai Indians’ in the next edition of IPL.
I am a cricket enthusiast. I love watching cricket, especially Test matches. I have been playing cricket as an all rounder at academy level for 3 years. Apart from that, I have written 100+ answers on Quora with nearly 600,000 views