| Sachin Tendulkar on arrival at a city hotel Saturday. Picture by Santosh Ghosh
Calcutta, Nov. 30: Ten of the 16 men chosen for the trip to New Zealand haven’t toured Sir Richard Hadlee’s country before. Young Parthiv Patel doesn’t belong to that ‘unlucky’ group.
The 17-year-old wicketkeeper captained India in the Under-19 World Cup hosted by New Zealand ten months ago. And though his team didn’t have great run, Patel feels that experience of January-February will come in handy.
“Yes, thanks to that trip, I know exactly what to expect in New Zealand,” said Patel, who was the first to land in the city (Friday evening). The others arrived in batches Saturday. The squad leaves for New Zealand Sunday morning.
“It can get very cold and windy out there (New Zealand) and the ball seams around a lot… I am ready for the challenge,” announced the youngest wicketkeeper ever to have played Test cricket.
He is aware that the team expects some runs from him apart from solid glovework. “I always want to contribute with the bat and am quite satisfied with the way I have batted so far,” said the five-Test-old Parthiv.
Ajay Ratra’s presence doesn’t mean any extra pressure. “I have prepared myself in such a way mentally there’s no pressure,” said Patel.
Patel has every reason to be oozing confidence. Shiv Sundar Das, by comparison, is in a far tighter corner. The Orissa opener lost his place at the start of the England series and hasn’t featured in the last seven Test matches. “I always look at things positively and am confident of winning my place back,” said Das who was a regular in the XI till the series in the West Indies.
“The three-day match (versus Central Districts in Napier from December 6) will be very vital… Hopefully I will be in the XI. If I get a big score, I think I’ll be in contention for the first Test (in Wellington from December 12),” said Das.