If that happens, it will be the start of another chapter for Patidar, the 30-year-old from Indore in Madhya Pradesh, who earned an ODI cap in South Africa in December. Patidar still wonders how life has turned around in the last few months, after he spent nearly eight months away from the game for an Achilles injury that required surgery in London.
“It’s always tough when you get injured,” Patidar told bcci.tv. “I told myself that I couldn’t do anything about the time it would take me to recover, I couldn’t change that. So I stayed in the present and did whatever I could. Getting a call-up [to the Test team] so soon after recovering from the injury is my happiest moment, because my biggest dream was always to play Test cricket for my country. So when the call came, I was very happy. I was with India A, and was happy that what I had dreamed of had happened.”
“I have played with many of the players [who are in the Test team] in domestic cricket. I have been speaking to Rahul [Dravid] sir when I have been around him,” Patidar said. “I hadn’t spoken much with Rohit [Sharma] bhai earlier, but got a chance to speak to him about batting on this tour. He shares his experience. That’s given me confidence.”
Patidar is a free-stroking batter with a strong technique and good base. He’s known for his ability to play spin well and, in general, take the attack to the bowlers while being consistent. A first-class average of 45.97 in 93 innings is testament to that.
“I have always been an aggressive batter, from the time I started in domestic cricket, I have always played these shots,” he said. “It’s my habit, it’s about preparation – I have prepared for it, so it’s become a habit now. I study opposition bowlers, the patterns in their bowling, their fields, and also watch people like Rohit bhai, how he tackles those fields. I have tried to add all that to my game.
“I always observe, from behind the nets or wherever I can, when he [Virat Kohli] bats. I especially observe his footwork for over-pitched deliveries and his body movements. I enjoy watching him, and try to add all that in my game. It’s not easy, but I am giving it a good shot.”
Sarfaraz: ‘I was not sure I had actually been selected’
“This game is about patience. If I have to play Test cricket, I have to be patient,” he told bcci.tv. “There are times in life when we try to rush into things. I would have tears in my eyes [when I wasn’t selected]. My abbu [father] told me, ‘keep working hard, no-one can stop you’. I feel it’s very important to believe in yourself and be patient. More than myself, I am happy for my father. It’s a matter of great pride that in a country of over a billion people, I am in the team.”
“I didn’t believe it at first, I was not sure I had actually been selected,” he said. “Then I told people at home; my father wasn’t at home at the time, he was at our village, so I called him, and everyone – my wife, abbu, ammi [mother]. Everyone was so happy and emotional.”
“Everyone knows my father has been my coach, so I have always tried to make sure his efforts don’t go in vain, I wanted to be selected for India one day,” Sarfaraz said. “Now I think all the work I have put in hasn’t been wasted. I am in the team now, I am thrilled.
“I have had a dream that all my India A team-mates are congratulating me, shaking my hand, coming to greet me. The dream of being selected to the national team would keep visiting me – I am playing for India, I am scoring runs… whatever happens, happens for the best. It’s a dream come true now.”