Until six months ago,Parthiv Patel was India’s second-choice wicketkeeper in limited-overs cricket. With 326 runs at 54 in five first-class matches last season,including a 55 as Rest of India (ROI) skipper in the Irani Cup and two centuries in the Ranji Trophy,the seasoned campaigner would surely have been pleased with his returns from the 2011-12 domestic season.
But on Monday the national selectors opined that the 27-year-old Parthiv wasn’t even among the top 28 domestic players in the country,leaving him out of both the ROI squad as well as the two teams for the Challenger Trophy. And while Wriddhiman Saha will keep wickets for ROI in the Irani Cup in Bangalore,the selectors went with a surprise-pick in Maharashtras Rohit Motwani to replace the Gujarat captain for the annual one-day opener.
Having been the first-choice wicket-keeper for Maharashtra since 2008,the 21-year-old’s 191 runs at 38.20 last season were his best figures,ever,in his List A career. Being selected for India B for the Challenger will be Motwani’s first foray into the upper tier of the domestic circuit.
Selector Bhaves protege
The Maharashtra skipper has been mentored by national selector Surendra Bhave ever since he was selected for the Cadence Cricket Academy in Pune a decade ago. Surendra Bhave has been my coach from the start. It was he who encouraged me to take to keeping in the first place, Motwani told The Indian Express.
Incidentally,the selection committee meeting on Monday was Bhave’s final one,with his four-year term coming to its natural end. And he signed off with his protege given a promotion to the big league.
The severe snub,on the other hand,has left Parthiv both shocked and lost for words. I was surprised and shocked to not see my name, he said. I knew that getting into ROI was tough,but missing out on the Challenger is baffling.
Parthiv played 21 ODIs in 2011,either side of the World Cup,where he averaged 24.55 and formed an able opening partnership with Ajinkya Rahane. He,in fact,was the senior opener in the absence of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir even overseasboth in the West Indies and England. He was also part of the ODI squad in Australia,but only got one game following captain MS Dhonis ban.
On his return,Parthiv skippered West Zone in the Deodhar Trophy,slamming two consecutive half-centuries. I really don’t know where I went wrong? I have been scoring decently in domestic games for the past couple of years. I can’t get over the disappointment of not even featuring in the India A team, said Parthiv,who will now have to satiate his hunger in the JP Atray tournament.
Motwani,meanwhile,can’t wait to make the most of this most unforeseen opportunity. It’s big. Sharing the dressing room with India players will be a learning experience, he said.