The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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With 'rehab', spotlight back on Parthiv
- To keep his place, he (Dinesh Karthik) has to be consistent: Team India Captain Sourav

Calcutta: The national selectors dropped Parthiv Patel quicker than they would a hot potato, after the Nagpur Test against Australia, but captain Sourav Ganguly is convinced he will bounce back and 'serve India for long.'

In any case, the selectors have themselves 'rehabilitated' Patel somewhat by picking him for India B in the Challenger Trophy beginning Monday.

The tournament, significantly, is being held just weeks before the tour by Pakistan and Patel is bound to garner a thick slice of the spotlight.

Actually, with opener Gautam Gambhir making an excellent early impression (and reducing the Team India thinktank's headache), the only slot which remains an area of concern ' in Tests, certainly ' is the wicketkeeper's.

Dinesh Karthik has kept in the last five Tests, but not everybody is convinced he is the answer to a problem that has been around since Nayan Mongia was first dropped.

That was years ago ' so much so, Mongia has even retired.

'Karthik needs experience and should get better' To keep his place, though, he has to be consistent,' is what Sourav told The Telegraph the other day.

On Patel, he had this to say: 'He's so young, like a kid' Basically, he has to handle pressure better and, as important, must learn to keep sundry thoughts out of his mind.'

Sourav continued: 'When behind the stumps, Parthiv has to realise nothing matters more than his 'keeping' He's not yet 20 and, because of his age, probably thinks of too many things' That should stop.'

Patel's biggest plus, of course, is his ability to hold fort in any position. He helped save the Trent Bridge Test, on debut in 2002, and did a commendable job (getting 69) when asked to open in the series-deciding Rawalpindi Test last April.

His presence does give the captain the option of utilising him in a double role.

'Well, yes, I have high hopes' Parthiv is going to serve India for long' That conviction is there within me' I've seen him deliver as a 17 and 18-year-old and there's no reason why he won't in the years to come as well,' Sourav remarked.

The youngest-ever to keep in Tests and ODIs, Patel has featured in 19 Tests (46 victims) and 14 ODIs (15 victims).

Incidentally, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who kept in all three ODIs in Bangladesh ' and did a neat job too ' is (as of now) being seen equipped exclusively for limited overs action.

Yet, as Sourav pointed out, Jharkhand's first India cricketer needs 'more exposure' before perhaps qualifying as a certainty.

The all-important pehla look, however, has been pleasing.

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