As Indian run-machine Sachin Tendulakr bows out of the ongoing one-day series against South Africa, former Indian opener and wicketkeeper Parthiv Patel has been called up to replace him. It will undoubtedly be a challenge for the 25-year-old to fill the sizable shoes of his senior, especially on the bouncy picthes of South Africa, a scenario in whcih he has no experience.
Parthiv will be paired up with Murali Vijay and considering India have two relatively new openers to face the venom and fire of the Proteas pace battery, it might be tough going for the tourists.
Parthiv possesses an an average of 24.10 in one-dayers at a strike trate of 68.27. The number of runs he scores per match is comparable to Vijay's average at 19.50 and a strike rate of 63.10, but they both pale in comparison to India's regular opening combination of Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir, whose averages are 34.64 (at a strike rate of 103.27) and 40.43 (at a strike rate of 86.52), respectively.
The statistics of Parthiv and Vijay are hardly encouraging when one takes into account the fact that India badly need to improve their batting in the series, having yet to cross the 200-run mark in their innings. One can only hope that these two will up their game and step up to the plate or that India's middle-order will compensate for their perceived inadequacy.