New Delhi, Nov 23: BCCI selectors once again shocked cricket fans in the country with their decision of recalling veteran wicketkeeper batsman Parthiv Patel to replace injured Wriddhiman Saha.
The left-handed batsman from Gujarat who made his last Test appearance in 2008 against Sri Lanka was picked as wicketkeeper for Mohali Test starting November 28.
Patel has played 20 Tests for India and scored 683 runs in 30 innings he has played. The southpaw from Gujarat, who made his Test debut at the age of 17 in 2002 in England, failed to capitalise over the opportunities given, thereby losing his place.
Eversince Mahendra Singh Dhoni's arrival into Indian cricket, the team never looked for any replacements across all formats.
But Patel's selection isn't justified keeping present scenarios in mind. Firstly, he will be dropped from the side, the moment Saha is fit. Secondly, representing Team India in just one game would do no good to Patel, either. Thirdly, it is high time the selectors start searching for a young wicketkeeper.
The selectors, thus, should have chosen a youngster, who they thought has potential to become a permanent member of the Indian squad.
There are quite a few young wicketkeepers in the country, who are making the right noises in the domestic circuit.
Therefore, picking any of these would have boosted their confidence. It would have been an ideal opportunity for a youngster to learn under Anil Kumble and Virat Kohli, even for a shorter period of time.
Spending time and sharing the dressing room with the present stars could have given them a boost and helped improve their game.
Young Delhi wicketkeeper Rishabh Pant has performed exceptionally well in the ongoing Ranji Trophy. Only yesterday (Nov 22), the 19-year-old smashed a quick half century to help Delhi take first innings lead against Rajasthan.
Also, team management and selectors would soon have to look a replacement for Wriddhiman Saha as well, because the Bengal cricketer is already 32 and wicketkeeping isn't easy in Tests at this age.
Here are a few players who would have been a better choice than Parthiv:
Talented Delhi batsman recently stormed into record books by smashing fastest century in the history of Ranji Trophy. The 19-year-old slammed his ton off just 48 balls and broke the previous record of 56 balls held by two cricketers.
Before hitting the fastest hundred, Pant scored 146 against Assam and hammered 308 off 326 balls, against Maharashtra, which was just his fourth first-class match.
Batting at a strike rate of 94.5, the aggressive batsman smashed nine sixes and 42 fours on the way to his maiden triple hundred. With his 514-minute long innings, Pant scripted history by becoming the youngest wicketkeeper to score a triple century in first class cricket in the world.
This 22-year-old glovesman batsman from Kerala has impressed the experts with batting as well as his work behind the stumps. The youngster, who made T20I debut during India's tour of Zimbabwe, has been performing consistently well at domestic stage as well.
He has played 36 first-class matches and made 1968 runs with an average of 36.44. Samson has also played 50 List A matches and aggregated 1091 runs. Thus, he could also have been a better option, had team management thought of grooming and preparing youngsters, keeping future prospects of Indian cricket in mind.
Ishan Kishan (left)
He is another exciting young talent who is making right noise in the domestic circuit. The 18-year-old Jharkhand wicketkeeper batsman was the skipper of India's U-19 team in the World Cup. The left-handed batsman has played just 16 first class matches and averages an impressive 51.34.
He has accumulated 1,335 runs so far with 273 being his highest score which came against Delhi in the Ranji Trophy match. It was the same match in which Rishabh Pant slammed 308 runs.
He has scored 599 runs at an whopping average of 74.87 with three hundreds in the ongoing Ranji season.
He could have been a better choice if the team management wanted an experienced man behind the stumps. The 33-year-old wicketkeeper batsman from Madhya Pradesh made Test debut against Sri Lanka in Colombo. Ojha has scored nearly 9000 runs in the 127 First-class matches he has played so far at an impressive average of 42.69.
He was only dropped after Wriddhiman Saha made an entry into the national team. Ideally, the right-handed batsman deserved a place in the team in Saha's absence.
The Tamil Nadu batsman has time and again proven his wicketkeeping acumen. The right-handed batsman too missed out of the national side because India had a giant in MS Dhoni playing for it most of the time. He was preferred over Parthiv Patel when the latter couldn't meet up to the expectations.
Like Parthiv, he too had made his Test debut before MSD, but couldn't keep his position intact in the Test squad after Dhoni's arrival.
The wicketkeeper has played 23 Tests for India and made 1,000 runs. Karthik has also played 71 ODIs and scored 1313 runs. So far he has aggregated 8,734 runs in 149 first-class games. Karthik averages 41.75.