Parthiv Ajay Patel is a former Indian professional cricketer who played as a wicketkeeper and batsman for the Indian national side. He is a left-handed batsman who played domestic cricket for Gujarat. He struggled at first to maintain wickets after losing a finger at the age of nine, but with some practise, he got the hang of it.
Sourav Ganguly and co. scouted 17-year-old baby-faced Parthiv Patel, who appeared less than 15, in the early 2000s, when Indian cricket was looking for a long-term wicketkeeper in the post-Mongia era, and entrusted him with the job of wicketkeeping in the Indian Test squad.
With Ajay Ratra out with an injury, Parthiv Patel was given the go-ahead for the England tour, and at the age of 17, he became Test cricket’s youngest wicketkeeper at Trent Bridge in 2002.
Parthiv went about his task calmly, displaying great ability with the wicketkeeping gloves and impeccable technique with the bat on his way to an amazing 19 in the second innings, which helped the team avoid an innings defeat. He also went to South Africa with the team for the 2003 Cricket World Cup, skipping his high school board exams in the process.
Parthiv’s glovework was inconsistent at first, ranging from competent to bad, but it was his batting skills that earned him a spot on the national team. Parthiv was particularly impressive in his third overseas tour, when he hit a half-century in a losing cause against Pakistan at Lahore. After losing Sehwag, he was entrusted with the opening slot at Rawalpindi. He and Rahul Dravid stood firm against the ferocious pace of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami to lead India to a historic first Test series victory in Pakistan.
Due to his increasingly poor work behind the stumps, he was demoted in 2004, and, as Dinesh Karthik and later MS Dhoni rose through the ranks, Parthiv fell further down the pecking order.
With Dhoni well entrenched in limited-overs sides, Parthiv Patel had to contend for the second wicket-place keeper’s alongside Wriddhiman Saha, Naman Ojha, and Karthik. He returned to the Indian side for the 2008 series in Sri Lanka after some eye-catching performances during the A Tours of Zimbabwe and South Africa, as well as regular performances on the home circuit for Gujarat.
However, he remained unreliable behind the stumps, and he lost his chance, with Dhoni coming back in the following series. In 2011, he made a brief return to the ODI fray, scoring a career-best 95 as an opener in England. After the CB series in 2012, however, he was dismissed from the squad again due to a lack of regular performances and his failure to secure his spot with huge scores.
When it comes to Parthiv Patel, time stops still. The wicket-keeper batsman has been a part of the Indian Premier League since its beginning, and he has played for six different franchises. In 2008, he joined Chennai Super Kings and stayed with the team for three years. Parthiv was unable to solidify his place in the XI with MS Dhoni leading the team and maintaining wickets.
However, he did able to play 13 games in the first season and score over 300 runs, but the emergence of Murali Vijay in the following editions saw Parthiv relegated to the bench. The Kochi Tuskers Kerala franchise was next, however it barely lasted a year before being cancelled after only one season.
The Deccan Chargers became Parthiv’s third team, and although playing every game in his debut season, his numbers were average. In the next three editions, he changed teams three times: in 2013, he played for the Sunrisers Hyderabad, in 2014, he played for the Royal Challengers Bangalore, and in 2015, he played for the Mumbai Indians.
He had his greatest season at Mumbai, scoring 339 runs at 26 with a strike rate of 137. He and Lendl Simmons developed a solid opening tandem, and the two contributed significantly to Mumbai’s second IPL title.
With the advent of MS Dhoni as a wicketkeeper-batsman and his tenure as captain of the Indian team, Parthiv’s – and most other prospective wicketkeepers in the country’s – possibilities disappeared. In the domestic circuit, Parthiv continued to lead the run charts for his Ranji side Gujarat.
Due to an injury to Saha, Parthiv Patel was called up to the Indian Test team for the third Test against England in Mohali, owing to his outstanding domestic performances. Parthiv smashed two half-centuries, speeding up India’s triumph. Despite a good return, Parthiv faded away under a fidgety skipper in Kohli, and he continues to play the role of the prototypical backup.
Patel declared his retirement from all forms of cricket in December 2020. Patel joined the Mumbai Indians as a Talent Scout after retiring.