Trying to take Dhoni's place always difficult: Parthiv Patel

With Wriddhiman Saha back and Rishabh Pant staking a powerful claim, Parthiv Patel is back to leading his State in the Vijay Hazare trophy.

Rising Pune Supergiants wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni takes a catch to dismiss Mumbai Indians batsman Parthiv Patel in an Indian Premier League match in 2016.

Rising Pune Supergiants wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni takes a catch to dismiss Mumbai Indians batsman Parthiv Patel in an Indian Premier League match in 2016.   -  Vivek Bendre

“No one is out of Indian cricket at any point in time. History says there have been a lot of comebacks.”

That’s Parthiv Patel’s firm conviction as he enters his 18th year of first-class cricket. Three years ago, he made a comeback to the national side for the Tests against England after a long period in the wilderness. Since then, the wicket-keeper has managed to stay in the reckoning playing in South Africa and travelling to Australia late last year.

But with Wriddhiman Saha back and Rishabh Pant staking a powerful claim, the 34-year-old is back to leading his State in domestic cricket in the Vijay Hazare trophy.

On Saturday, the skipper led from the front with a 90 against Madhya Pradesh to help his side post its second win in as many matches in the competition.

“There is no reason not to believe I am not in the scheme of things. I am just 34,” Parthiv told Sportstar a few days back during a training session when asked about his chances of yet another return to the national side.

“But these are external pressures I don't want to take. I just want to go out and enjoy my game. If I keep scoring runs and the selectors and team management believe I can make a comeback, I know I am fit enough to be there.”

For the likes of Parthiv (who made his debut for India in 2002), Saha, and Dinesh Karthik, the prime of their careers coincided with the arrival of MS Dhoni and the 34-year-old conceded one can’t worry too much about it because it was never going to be easy to replace an Indian captain.

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“That’s how it is. When you are trying to represent India, you are fighting with 27 keepers and it is never easy. Obviously what MS has done for India is phenomenal and his achievements are there for everyone to see. As someone who is trying to take the place of the captain, it is always difficult. So you just don't worry about these things.”

“You just have to go hit those runs and take the catches and I stayed positive during those times and that’s why I was able to make a comeback.”

Recently, the left-handed wicketkeeper-batsman turned analyst for the Star network during the World Cup and said it offered him a new dimension to understanding the game. He added he wasn't worried about the perception it might send out about whether he wants to retire soon.

“I knew I understand the game well because I have the experience of leading Gujarat for a while now. It does help you because you have access to so much information and you see the game differently. You see a lot of player-to-player analysis. The broadcaster prepares as much as a team does.”

On the targets for the upcoming season, Parthiv said, “I am at the stage of my career where I have played for 18-19 years so I am just going to go out and have fun. I also want to help youngsters as much as I can do and try to put in a big performance every time I go out.”