Derby: Young Parthiv Patel is much more mobile now than he was earlier this week, after being struck on the right knee by a Ajit Agarkar delivery (last day of the Headingley Test), but even complete recovery before next Thursday’s Test at The Oval may not guarantee him a place in the XI.
According to The Telegraph’s sources, Patel’s rather tardy ’keeping at Headingley hasn’t been well received by the team management. Moreover, Ajay Ratra’s fine unbeaten 101 against Derbyshire hasn’t done his cause any harm. It shouldn’t, then, surprise if Ratra reclaims his place in the final Test.
Of course, it’s Ratra who began the Test series as No.1 ’keeper and the big gloves were his at Lord’s (first Test). On the eve of the second Test (Trent Bridge), however, Ratra received two blows at nets and could barely walk on the morning of the match. So, ten minutes before the toss, 17-year-old Patel was told he would have to step in.
Patel, as it turned out, became the youngest ’keeper ever and the guts he showed on that last afternoon at Trent Bridge — remaining not out on 19 (82 minutes, 60 deliveries) — earned much acclaim all over. Patel, though, wasn’t sharp enough at Headingley.
“With The Oval being the decider, we need to play the best ’keeper... Somebody who has already taken some pressure... It wouldn’t, then, be odd if Ratra got back the job,” is how a well-placed source put it Friday morning.
Twenty-year-old Ratra, it may be recalled, replaced Deep Dasgupta after the first Test in the West Indies and emerged the youngest ’keeper to hit a Test hundred during the fourth match, in Antigua. Ratra got an unbeaten 115.
With good reasons, the team management isn’t thinking of effecting any other change. The selection worries are all England’s.
Meanwhile, Jawagal Srinath, who is turning out for Leicestershire, dropped in at the Derbyshire CCC ground Friday afternoon. However, if some expected a one-to-one with captain Sourav Ganguly, where the latter would probably again have asked Srinath to make himself available for Tests, that didn’t come about.
Sourav, in fact, wasn’t at the ground — having taken manager Ranga Reddy’s permission, the captain left for Harrow (on a private visit) pretty early in the day.