Parthiv Patel. (Image credit: Getty Images)
New Delhi: Parthiv Patel was the boy wonder of Indian cricket when he made his Test debut as a baby-faced youngster in 2002 against England. The Ahmedabad boy was all of 17 when he received his Test cap to play alongside the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid.
Between 2002 and 2004, Parthiv Patel represented India in 19 Tests before losing his place in the side. The rapid rise to global stardom of a certain Mahendra Singh Dhoni meant Patel's international career was on the backburner and he had to settle for playing in the domestic circuit. After a gap of four years, he got a chance in his 20th Test in 2008 against Sri Lanka in Colombo.
He though would get a rare opportunity to rub shoulders with the who's who of world cricket during the Indian Premier League. His last brush with international cricket came in February 2012 when he played in an ODI against Sri Lanka at Brisbane.
After being in cold storage for over four years, Parthiv's international career will daylight yet again, and it will be against England in the third Test at Mohali, which begins from November 2016. The Gujarat cricketer was included in the squad after first choice wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha was ruled out of the Mohali Test after developing a strain in his left thigh. The southpaw will be the second-oldest player in the playing XI on Saturday in the Mohali Test.
In a release, the BCCI said: "As a precautionary measure, Saha has been advised rest and will not play in the next Test match of the series. Parthiv Patel will replace Saha in the Indian team for the third Test."
Many feel this call-up is well deserved. Since 2012-13 season, Parthiv has been a prolific run-getter in the domestic circuit. His average has never gone below 45 in the Ranji Trophy. In the ongoing Ranji Trophy season, the left-hander has already scored three fifties and a century in eight innings, at a staggering average of nearly 60.
While the likes of Rishabh Pant, Dinesh Karthik and Naman Ojha could be the other choices for Saha's replacement, the selectors gave Parthiv a chance on the basis of his experience and current form.
In his 20-Test appearance for Team India, Parthiv has 41 catches and eight stumpings. He has scored 683 runs at 29.69 with a best of 69 against Pakistan at Rawalpindi.
With Saha being the favoured choice as the wicketkeeper in the longer format, after Mahendra Singh Dhoni's retirement from Tests in 2014, Parthiv may have a last chance to prove himself and try to put his international career back on track.
At 31 he still has a few years to go and a good performance at Mohali could well bring him back into the mix.