Parthiv: Gutsy cricketer who sledged Waugh, took on Akhtar’s pace

The baby-faced wicketkeeper-batsman, who was a surprise pick to the Indian Test squad for the England tour in 2002, played 65 international games

Parthiv Patel said he is retiring from all forms of cricket as a "proud man". Photo: Twitter/BCCI

Parthiv Patel, who made his Test debut at the age of 17 years in 2002, has retired from all forms of cricket, bringing the curtains down on his 18-year-old cricketing journey.

The baby-faced wicketkeeper-batsman, who was a surprise pick to the Indian Test squad for the England tour in 2002, played 65 international games (25 Tests, 38 ODIs, and two T20Is).

The 35-year-old Parthiv announced his retirement on his Twitter and Instagram accounts, saying, “Today (Wednesday, December 9), I announce retirement from all forms of cricket and as I bring down curtains on this 18-year-old cricketing journey, I feel heavier with gratitude for many.”

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Test debut at 17 years

When he made his Test debut in Nottingham, Parthiv became the youngest wicketkeeper in Tests. He began his international journey under Sourav Ganguly’s captaincy, coming in as a replacement for Ajay Ratra. Parthiv is the fourth-youngest cricketer to play for India after Sachin Tendulkar, Piyush Chawla and Laxman Sivaramakrishnan.

In his maiden Test innings, he was out for a 10-ball duck, playing in a team full of superstars, including the ‘Fab Five’ of Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, and VVS Laxman.

He overcame that first innings failure with a gutsy 60-ball 19 not out. His 84-minute stay at the crease ensured that India drew the contest at Trent Bridge. His maiden catch behind the stumps was to dismiss England captain Nasser Hussain off Harbhajan Singh. In the same innings, he took a catch off Ajit Agarkar to deny opening batsman Michael Vaughan his double century as he fell for 197.

Parthiv was thrown into the deep waters of international cricket even before he had played Ranji Trophy. However, he had the experience of playing on international tours as he was with the India A side and also in 2002 had led India at the Under-19 World Cup.

Gutsy left-handed batsman

A gutsy left-handed batsman, Parthiv was promoted to open the batting in the longest format of the game as well as in the Indian Premier League (IPL). But, his poor glovework cost him his place in the Indian side.

He was part of the Indian team that travelled to Australia and had famously sledged captain Steve Waugh in his final Test series in 2004. The Senior Waugh told him, “Show a bit of respect, you were in nappies when I played my first Test match.” When Waugh made his Test debut in December 1985, Parthiv was a seven-month-old baby!

In the same year of 2004, Parthiv was part of the historic tour to Pakistan. He opened the batting with Sehwag in Rawalpindi, facing Shoaib Akhtar and Co. His fearless approach yielded 69 as India won by an innings and 131 runs. The match is best remembered for Dravid’s career-best 270.

After losing his spot in the Indian team, the emergence of Dinesh Karthik, MS Dhoni, and later Wriddhiman Saha, almost shut the door for Parthiv. However, he was part of the Indian Test squad which won a series for the first time on Australian soil in 2018-19. But he did not get a chance to feature in any of the four matches for the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

Last Test appearance

His last Test appearance was in Johannesburg in January 2018. India registered a famous win, and Parthiv opened the batting in the second innings. He was also part of the Indian ODI squad at the 2003 World Cup when the team reached the final and lost to Australia. He did not feature in any of the games as Dravid was the wicketkeeper.

While his international cricket sojourn was not long, he was a stalwart in domestic cricket, scoring more than 10,000 runs in first-class cricket. Also, in 2017, he led Gujarat to Ranji Trophy glory, scoring 90 and 143 in the final against Mumbai as the team chased down a record 313. Two years earlier, captain Parthiv hit a century (105) in the Vijay Hazare Trophy as Gujarat beat Delhi in Bengaluru to take the title.

Parthiv’s first captain Ganguly, who is now the president of the BCCI, called him a “team man”. Ganguly said, “Parthiv has been a brilliant ambassador for Indian cricket. He has always been a team man and it was a pleasure to captain him when he made his international debut at the age of 17.

“His hard work has earned him laurels in international and domestic cricket. I congratulate him on a fantastic career and wish him the very best for his future endeavours. His performance in the Ranji Trophy final to win Gujarat their only title will always be remembered in the history of Gujarat cricket.”

Parthiv leaves cricket, in his own words, a “proud man”. Indeed, he can be proud of his achievements, though he would have wanted to have played more at the highest level. “As I walk away a proud man, having fulfilled more dreams than I thought possible, I hope to be remembered with that thought and find your support for my future endeavours.”

Parthiv Patel’s career in numbers

Tests: 25 (934 runs, 6 fifties, 62 catches, 10 stumpings)

ODIs: 38 (736 runs, 4 fifties, 30 catches, 9 stumpings)

T20Is: 2 (36 runs, 1 catch)

First-class: 194 matches (11,240 runs, 27 hundreds, 62 fifties, 486 catches, 77 stumpings)

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