Port of Spain: Parthiv Patel, who spent many years in the wilderness after being dropped from the Indian team, has said it was the passion for representing the country that motivated him to keep fighting. (Agencies)
Parthiv Patel is resigned to the fact that he would only be India's second best wicketkeeper as long as Mahendra Singh Dhoni is around.
"You play the game because you want to turn out in India's colours. That has always been a huge motivation," Parthiv said on the eve of India's first ODI against the West Indies at the Queen's Park Oval.
After an impressive start to his international career in 2002, things suddenly went wrong for the cherubic 26-year-old wicketkeeper-batsman.
But years of toil in the domestic circuit and advices from seniors and friends helped Parthiv find his bearings.
"I received great help from (Kiran) More sir, Anshuman Gaekwad and of course Dhoni.
"It's been beneficial to see how Dhoni goes about his work. The best lesson watching him is to notice how relaxed he is," Parthiv said of India's regular skipper.
Looking back at his career, Patel felt it was lapse of concentration than anything else that cost him his career.
"Some said I wasn't receiving the ball well. Others pointed out that I was getting up too soon (while receiving the ball). But I think it was just a lapse of concentration," he said.
His equanimity once helped India save a Test against England from a difficult situation. But, somehow, Parthiv failed to keep the promise he had showed initially.
"Certain things are accepted. If you perform well, you stay in the team. If you don't, you go out.
"Frankly when I was out, I wasn't keeping well. I didn't deserve to remain in the team," a candid Parthiv said.
Still it wasn't easy for him as suddenly a life of stardom was turned into one of obscurity.
"It sure wasn't easy. But you needed to find your way back. You needed to improve."
Parthiv, who made his T20 international debut for India last Saturday, surprisingly played only 18 ODIs in a career spanning nine years, but is expected to play all the five ODIs
against West Indies in the next few days.
Talking about the opening T20 fixture, Parthiv said the ploy was to stay calm in the first four overs.
"We (the openers) had decided to stay put for the first four overs as the wicket was a little damp. But then I went after the bowling as we needed to make the most of first six
overs," he said.
Parthiv made 26 runs off 20 balls with two fours and one six.
While keeping, he didn't concede a single bye on a rank turner as Harbhajan Singh, Ravichandran Ashwin and Yusuf Pathan sent down 12 overs.
"I am used to keeping to Harbhajan and Ashwin so that really is no problem."
Port of Spain: Parthiv Patel, who spent many years in the wilderness after being dropped from the Indian team, has said it was the passion for representing the country that motivated him to keep fighting.