Indian wicket keeper batsman Parthiv Patel talked about his famous encounter with Steve Waugh way back in 2004, on Waugh’s last Test match at Sydney. In a YouTube show called the Cow Corner Chronicles, Patel also narrated the incident of him saying the exact same lines to Steve’s son, Austin, during the 4th Test, again at Sydney, of India’s tour of Australia in 2018-19.
India went on to win a Test series against Australia in Australian soil for the first time. Speaking about the series win, Patel said with a wide grin, “We missed out narrowly in 2003-04 in Australia. To be there again, as part of history was brilliant. To win a Test series in Australia is huge. To be able to do it for the first time, even though I didn’t play a single Test. To be around the team and be part of the moment, makes me proud.”
The last time Patel played a Test was back in February 2018, when India played South Africa at Johannesburg. India went on to record a hard fought away Test match win. Mohammed Shami bowled an excellent spell in the second Innings, taking 5/28. Speaking about that game, the wicketkeeper with 25 Test matches and 38 One Day Internationals to his name said, “Johannesburg Test was a very difficult wicket, to play. Then to show the kind of character which Indian team showed there and to be part of that Test match also, feels great. Having been part of history making Test matches like Headingley (2002), or Adelaide (2003-04) or Johannesburg (2017-18) or Australia (2018-19). Looking back at my career I feel proud that I was part of all these big moments of Indian cricket.”
The Sydney Test match of 2004 ended in a thrilling draw. Waugh was the main architect behind Australia drawing the Test match. There was a point of time when the bowlers were unable to trouble Waugh, so the close in fielders were coaxing Patel to say something and break his concentration. Patel, after a lot of coaxing, went on to persuade Waugh to play one of his famous slog sweeps for one last time, to which Waugh turned around and replied the following,
“Show a bit of respect, you were in nappies when I played my first Test match.”
Around 15 years later, Patel saw an opportunity and walked up to Austin Waugh, who was fielding as a substitute for Australia, to give it back in the same coin. “I didn’t bump into Steve Waugh, but I did bump into his son, during the Test match in Sydney in 2018-19. He was one of the substitute fielders for Australia. I went up to him and said: “You were in your nappies, when I made my Test debut.” Patel said while having a chuckle.
Patel also played an attractive knock of 62 in the same Test match, batting alongside Sachin Tendulkar, who went on to score a historic double hundred, finishing with 241*, and he did so without attempting to hit a single cover drive, a stroke which got him into trouble through out the series.
“I told him to pass my regards to his dad (Steve Waugh) and just say those words back to him,” he added.
Patel also spoke about a valuable piece of advice he received from former Indian captain and current BCCI president, Sourav Ganguly, which has helped Patel immensely, and in a way, has also helped the Gujarat Cricket team. Patel went on to lead his team to a Vijay Hazare trophy title and Ranji Trophy title in consecutive seasons.
The captain of the Gujarat Cricket team said, “I was scoring lots of runs in domestic cricket. I bumped into Sourav Ganguly at an airport once the season finished. He asked me, ‘how was your season’, I said I have got 700 runs in the season. He was like, ‘This is something that you do every year, you must do something that attracts everyone’s attention, people start noticing you. Either score 1000 runs in a Ranji Trophy season or get the team to win trophies. So that everyone would start noticing you,” said Patel.
That is the reason why Patel has still not given up hopes of making an India comeback. “It is just the passion of being on the field, just being around this whole atmosphere. That itself is a big motivation. I don’t believe in…whether I am playing IPL or playing Test cricket, Ranji Trophy or a club game, I like to be on the field. That burning desire is still there.”