Parthiv Patel on Thursday backed under-fire India wicketkeeper-batsman Rishabh Pant, saying one or two innings can change the perception around him and give the youngster much-needed confidence. “Obviously, when you play for India, you have something in you. He made his Test debut in a tough place like England where the ball swings a lot. He’s a young player. It’s about gaining confidence. It can change in a matter of one-two innings,” Patel told reporters on the eve of Gujarat’s Ranji Trophy match against Bengal at the Eden Gardens.
At 17 years and 153 days, Patel became Test cricket’s youngest wicketkeeper when he made his debut against England at Trent Bridge in 2002. He is presently the captain of Gujarat.
“Opinions should not matter when you know that the team management and selectors back you. It’s about enjoying the moment and expressing yourself,” said the 34-year-old.
“It’s just because he’s doing well, there’s so much talk around him. He has done well in the last series. He has got the talent and the team is providing him that confidence to do much better,” said Patel, who has played 25 Tests and 38 ODIs for India.
Pant has often been criticised for not performing on a consistent basis. Seen as MS Dhoni’s successor, there have been calls from all around for the 22-year old to improve.
Patel said that Pant can get better with pressure and that will happen over time.
“If you play for India, there would be pressure. Every player has got pressure of different situations. Your skills get honed in such pressure situations. In the T20I series (against the West Indies), he did well. You see, he’s having a fun time at the ground as well. He can become a good player when he comes out of such pressure situations.
“We never saw a bigger pressure-like situation than the IPL. Today’s youngsters have got the advantage of playing with the big stars and sharing the dressing room with them. When you are struggling for form, you get opinions from all quarters. It’s about keeping yourself away from opinions and focusing on your game,” Patel said.
Asked who is the best behind the stumps, Patel said it has to be India’s Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha.
“There’s no doubt about that. The way he takes catches and brings the energy on the field, there’s no doubt that he’s the No 1 wicketkeeper in the world. He knows what’s good for him,” Patel said.