In 2004, Mahendra Singh Dhoni burst into the scene with his sheer firepower. His skills behind the stumps were nothing to scoff at either. But before a sensational debut, he had to contend with regulars, Parthiv Patel and Dinesh Karthik. The two were responsible for keeping wickets during the Sourav Ganguly era.
But was it Dhoni’s skill that gave him a chance to be the first-choice wicketkeeper? Or was it simply because of Parthiv and Karthik’s poor form?
Not only did Dhoni become the first-choice wicketkeeper but he was also named captain after Rahul Dravid. He then led India to win the inaugural ICC World T20 (2007), World Cup (2011) and Champions Trophy (2013).
Till today, he is considered as one of the greatest Indian captains. Dhoni even holds a series of records as captain and as a wicketkeeper.
Parthiv and Karthik were only considered when Dhoni was rested or was injured. Even when he retired from Test cricket in 2014. Patel was the second choice after Wriddhiman Saha.
Recently, Parthiv spoke about how he and Dinesh Karthik lost their place as wicketkeeper in the Indian squad.
“He (Dhoni) is a legend. There’s one thing many people tell me that you’re born in the wrong era. But I feel that we started playing before him. So, if we didn’t perform poorly he wouldn’t have played in the first place. So, instead of thinking that, I think it’s us who didn’t perform to our potential. That’s why MS came,” Patel said.
“So to blame someone else that I was born in the wrong era and all that is to comfort you, but deep down you know that you have not performed that’s why,” he added.
Parthiv returned to the Test side during the South Africa tour earlier in January after a year’s absence. When Saha was rested for the 2nd Test of the three-match series, Parthiv was selected again. However, he had a torrid time with plenty of mistakes and misjudgement. As a result, it cost the Virat Kohli led side at the time.
Dinesh Karthik also returned to the Test squad after ten years for the one-off Test against Afghanistan. This was because Saha had to sit out due to injury.