On a bright Wednesday morning, while most domestic cricketers walked up to their respective venues to play for their respective state sides, one man packed his bags from Hubbali in down south to Chandigarh, up north.
After a gap of 8 long years, Parthiv Patel had just gotten yet another opportunity to don the whites for India, after Wriddhiman Saha was given a rest from the 3rd Test at Mohali against England in order to avoid any further aggravation of a right thigh injury which he had sustained.
"(I knew my chances were coming) since it was going to be a long season with 12-13 Test matches in home conditions and I was always amongst the runs and keeping well in domestic cricket. Though I was not in India A, I always kept speaking to the selectors and they kept saying, 'keep doing what you are doing'. The biggest hope came when I went to Asia Cup as a keeper as MS Dhoni's cover. So, I knew I had to be ready. I was working hard, so this is definitely not a surprise call," Patel told Cricbuzz in an interview.
"I wasn't expecting (Wriddhiman) Saha to get injured. It is really unfortunate, but that is how it is,” Patel added.
After having made his debut in 2002, Patel was part of the team on a regular basis until 2004, when first Dinesh Karthik replaced him and then MS Dhoni entered the scene and rest as they was history.
While most ‘keepers would have rued their chance of having missed out on a chance to play for their country in continuity, the 31-year-old admitted that, with Dhoni being as good as he was, one certainly would have found it hard to get into the team.
"I wanted to improve my own game, I love playing cricket, I love going to the ground, working hard and doing all those things that a cricketer loves to.
"You can't really do much about that, especially when you have a wicket-keeper/captain as good as MS Dhoni is. What he has achieved is remarkable. You can't really worry about that, you can't do much about factors that a not in your control,” he said.
Interestingly, Patel will be the third oldest member in this present Indian squad at 31, just a year younger to Murali Vijay and three years younger to Amit Mishra, who turned 34 today. Patel will now look to make it a memorable comeback in Mohali and hopefully, be part of a winning team once again.