Following India’s loss in the first Test against South Africa due to their batting troubles, some changes in the playing 11 were obvious. Apart from including KL Rahul in place of Shikhar Dhawan, the other change came in the form of the injured Wriddhiman Saha’s replacement, Parthiv Patel.
Wriddhiman Saha suffered from a niggle in his hamstring – and this has allowed Parthiv Patel to return to the squad. Despite being a treat to watch behind the wickets, Saha looked like a fish out of water in the first Test with the bat in hand. He could only manage scores of 0 and 8 in the two innings.
Patel, on the other hand, has scores of 15, 42, 67, and 71 (his career-best) in his last four innings. His compact technique against the rising ball also gives him an upper hand over Saha.
Although Patel has been in and out of the side since his debut against England in 2002, he comes into the Indian squad with an experience of 15 long years. Parthiv Patel had made a comeback after eight long years away from the team for the third Test against England in 2016.
When the keeper made the return in 2016, he opened the batting and batted at number six as well. The 32-year-old bats at number four for his team in the Ranji trophy. This ability to bat anywhere in the batting order has made him a valuable asset.
Keeping in mind the nature of the Centurion pitch, Patel is not a bad bet at all. He is known for his cut and pull shots – and he can certainly do the needful for the team.
Having a decade-and-a-half old career in international cricket, Patel is quite an experienced player. The Gujarat captain has scored more than 10,000 runs in first-class cricket at an average of 45. India can certainly benefit from the inclusion of stroke-playing batsman and his experience.
Patel’s only shortcoming is that he is a little shoddy behind the wickets. This is the reason that he had not been picked until now, despite all his qualities. However, of late, he has been working very hard on this aspect of his game.
As it is, he is a team-man and a batsman who provides flexibility to the batting order. If he can showcase better glove work, he can certainly turn out to be a useful addition to the Indian squad.