The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Behind the stumps, I can’t afford not to concentrate on every ball: Parthiv Patel
- ‘More than anything else, I have realised not one run comes easy’

Parthiv Patel doesn’t have to shave more regularly to make it evident he is maturing. In fact, his performances remain his best advertisement. Clearly, both behind and in front of the wickets, one never gets the impression he is just 17. The youngest wicketkeeper-ever, who idolises Adam Gilchrist, spoke to The Telegraph on the eve of the Eden Test.

Following are excerpts

On the lessons learnt in his short international career

Bahut kuch seekha hai… Behind the stumps, I’ve learnt to concentrate on every ball… Actually, that I can’t afford not to… Then, where my batting is concerned, I’ve learnt it’s wiser to play off the front foot more often.

On whether he is religiously following any one piece of advice

Bob Taylor, whom I met in Mumbai, suggested I keep watching the ball very closely. I’ve been doing just that.

On whether Taylor (174 victims in 57 Tests) had something else to say

Kuch jyada nahin… It’s just that he asked me to keep working on the basics… He didn’t, for example, suggest I change my style.

On his thoughts when both Ajay Ratra and he were named in the Board President’s side, for the West Indies’ tour-opener (in Bangalore)

Man mein ek hi baat thi — perform karna hai. As it turned out, I was picked in the XI… At no time, though, did I think of anything else… Didn’t worry about, perhaps, not making the Test squad.

On his thoughts on the eve of the Mumbai Test, his first at home

I knew it would be a big test and, gradually, settled down well enough. The wicket had turn and much bounce… It was, by and large, a nice learning process.

On ’keeping to Anil Kumble and Harbhajan Singh

The key is concentration and confidence… Of course, it’s difficult when Anilbhai unleashes the faster one and when Bhajji bowls the one which turns the other way… With experience, I’ll get better. In any case, I keep psyching myself after each ball.

On preparing to ’keep to the duo

Main nets mein unko kafi kareeb se dekhta hoon… For instance, I closely watch Anilbhai’s googly and the top-spinner.

On whether there’s an ‘understanding’ between him and the spinners

(Smiles) Not really…

On his approach to what obcvbviously is a difficult job

Perform karna hai, aur kya'

On regularly interacting with former India ’keeper Kiran More, now a national selector

We talk generally, every two-three days… Interacting with somebody of his experience can only be beneficial.

On the emphasis on his own batting

Quite a bit. After all, whatever runs I get, down the order, will help the team… Today, instead of 60-40, the effort I put in is 50-50.

On his courageous unbeaten 19 (84 minutes), which helped India save the Trent Bridge Test

More than anything else, I realised not one run comes easy (in international cricket) and that tight khelna parta hai… Bowlers jyada chance nahin dete.

On his most cherished dismissal

The low catch off Zaheer Khan which ended Ridley Jacobs’ stay in Chennai (second innings)… That Jacobs is himself a wicketkeeper gave more satisfaction.

On whether having to ’keep before a mammoth Eden turnout has added to the butterflies in his stomach

Nahin… I’ve told myself dekha jayega…

Finally, on the pressure he faces as a 17-year-old

(Smiles again) Kuch nahin… I don’t even think about it… In fact, to the extent I can, I try and relax. Just the other day, before coming to Calcutta, I saw Dil Vil Pyar Vyar… Picture theek thi.

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