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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Does 'opener' Parthiv fit Dhoni's No 6 slot?

Does 'opener' Parthiv fit Dhoni's No 6 slot?

February 23, 2016 20:49 IST

'Parthiv has to bat at No. 6, and in that position it is a different ball game.'

Former India cricketers discuss with Bikash Mohapatra/Rediff.com the selectors' wisdom in calling up Parthiv Patel as cover for the injured Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the Asia Cup.

Parthiv Patel

IMAGE: Parthiv Patel during the 5th Natwest One-Day International against England at the Swalec Stadium in Cardiff, September 16, 2011. Photograph: Clive Rose/Getty Images)

Team India will be without its skipper when they begin their quest for the elusive Asia Cup.

For a country that won four of the first five tournaments, India has just one title from the seven subsequent editions of the continental tournament.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni suffered a muscle back spasm during training and is certain to miss the initial stages of the tournament.

The selectors have drafted in, as cover, someone who hasn't played international cricket in a while.

Parthiv Patel's last international game was in the tri-series Down Under four years ago.

For his last T20 International appearance, one has to go further back: Against England at Manchester in August 2011.

Is the gamble worth it?

"The selectors are happy with the way he has performed in various domestic competitions," explains Praveen Amre (11 Tests, 37 ODIs) adding, "That's why he has been selected."

"Dhoni's presence absence will, no doubt, make a lot of difference," says Maninder Singh (35 Tests, 59 ODIs).

"He gives the team that right balance, where you can play five specialist batsmen, two bowling all-rounders and three bowlers," Maninder adds.

Parthiv Patel

IMAGE: Parthiv Patel during a Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy T20 game last month. Photograph: PTI

Parthiv's domestic form is impressive: A century in the Vijay Hazare and Deodhar Trophy -- both 50 overs tournaments. He has been a steady, if not brilliant, performer in the Indian Premier League over the years.

Questions remain over his ability to justify taking Dhoni's place in the Indian T20 team.

"Parthiv has been selected on his domestic form," says Maninder. "He has scored a lot of runs recently, but, mind you, he has done so well opening the innings."

"Now he has to bat at No 6, and in that position it is a different ball game."

"I don't want to cast any doubt on Parthiv's ability, but it remains to be seen if he can adapt like Dhoni."

"On the positive side, Parthiv has had a fantastic season. He is also more experienced now. It will be interesting to see how he grabs this opportunity."

Amre expects Dhoni to be back sooner than expected.

"We know Dhoni is a key player and a brilliant leader. So let's hope he will be fit soon."

Bikash Mohapatra / Rediff.com