Following India’s loss in the first Test against South Africa due to 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 injured Wriddhiman Saha's replacement, Parthiv Patel.
Wriddhiman Saha suffered from a niggle in his hamstring and this has allowed the return of Parthiv Patel 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 0 and 8 in both innings respectively.
Patel, on the other hand, has scores of 15, 42, 67, and 71 (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 on the Indian Test side for the third Test against England last year.
When the keeper made the return last year, he opened the batting and batted at No. 6 as well. The 32-year-old bats at No. 4 for his Ranji team. 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 & pull shots and can certainly do the needful for the team.
Being a decade and a half old in International cricket, Patel is a substantially 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 experienced campaigner and a stroke-playing batsman.
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 of his qualities. However, he has been working very hard on this aspect of his game lately.
He is already 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.
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