When Parthiv Patel made his Test debut against England, way back in 2002, it was a very different time. George W Bush was president of the United States of America. Social media didn’t exist. And nobody had possibly heard of Virat Kohli, who was just 13 at the time, yet to be called up to the Delhi Under-15 squad.
When Parthiv makes his return to Tests after eight years, against England again in Mohali, the world will be an entirely different place. He’s nearly traversed the entire span of Barrack Obama’s presidency away from the Indian Test team. Facebook and Twitter exist everywhere. And Kohli struggles really hard to be anonymous.
And Parthiv is still just 31 – to put that in perspective, he’s just a year older than R Ashwin. It’s like Parthiv operates in a different time-space continuum, and to drive home just how stunning his comeback is, we look at what his team-mates and opponents from his Test debut are currently doing.
Wasim Jaffer: Played the last of his 31 Tests in 2008 against South Africa in Kanpur. Still active in India’s domestic circuit with Vidarbha in the Ranji Trophy, though he is yet to play this season. He became the highest run-getter in Ranji Trophy history in 2015.
Virender Sehwag: Called time on his international career in 2015. He now passes his time as a Hindi commentator on TV, and bantering with Piers Morgan on Twitter.
Rahul Dravid: Currently coach of India’s age-group and ‘A’ sides. Still as humble and gentlemanly and articulate as ever – just ask the Canada boys.
Sachin Tendulkar: After calling time on his career in 2013, he has engaged himself in a variety of things, including co-owning the football team Kerala Blasters and cleaning the streets of India as part of the Swachh Bharat campaign. Last spotted in Mumbai ahead of the Coldplay concert.
Sourav Ganguly: Has his fingers in multiple pies: TV pundit, president of the Cricket Association of Bengal, member of the BCCI’s technical committee, co-owner of football team Atletico de Kolkata, among other things. Hasn’t been seen with his shirt off since Lord’s.
VVS Laxman: Another legend who now graces the commentary box. Last spotted attempting Ravi Shastri’s #TracerBulletChallenge … and not doing too well.
Ajit Agarkar: Retired from all forms of cricket in 2013, and has since imparted cricketing wisdom as an expert with broadcasters and websites.
Harbhajan Singh: Captain of the Punjab side in the Ranji Trophy, although he is yet to play for them this year. It’s on the playing fields of the IPL that we last saw him back in May.
Zaheer Khan: Officially retired from the international game in 2015. Now an occasional TV pundit.
Ashish Nehra: Made a fine comeback to the national (Twenty20) side earlier this year, and won the IPL with Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2016. One of the rare cricketers not to have a Twitter account.
Rob Key: Retired from professional cricket in April 2016. Has taken the initial steps as a commentator and TV pundit, and was in the commentary box when England lost 10 for 64 in Dhaka recently.
Michael Vaughan: An established and well-respected figure in the commentary box. Also writes widely-read columns for The Daily Telegraph, interviews Kohli, and is a particularly entertaining figure on Twitter.
Mark Butcher: Another former player now using his expertise for a broadcaster. He is, in fact, the IPL expert for Sky Sports.
Nasser Hussain: Frequently spotted in commentary boxes in matches involving England alongside Vaughan. A respected voice in cricket, writes columns for newspapers and websites, including Daily Mail.
John Crawley: Teaches history and acting as Master in Charge of Cricket at the Oundle School in Northamptonshire.
Alec Stewart: Works in the media when not busy in his role as executive director of Surrey. Very frequently spotted Tweeting in support of Chelsea Football Club.
Andrew Flintoff: Last played for England in 2009. Since then, he’s worked in the media as an expert, played cricket for Twenty20 franchises, and even attempted a career in professional boxing.
Craig White: Moved to coaching following his retirement, and is first team coach with Hampshire. He is also the brother-in-law of Australia coach Darren Lehmann.
Dominic Cork: The former paceman took up a coaching position with Derbyshire and works with Sky Sports as a cricket expert. But most bizarrely, he was on television screens trying his hand at reporting football transfer news on deadline day in August 2016.
Matthew Hoggard: He’s swimming. In 2015, Hoggard completed four of Britain’s five great swims for the charity Cricket Without Boundaries. Apart from that, he works with the media, and according to his website, he is “sought-after for his expertise and humour” by the likes of BBC, Sky Sports and BT Sport.
Steve Harmison: He’s a sport shifter. After his retirement in 2013, Harmison was a pundit and a commentator with Sky Sports before being named manager of Ashington in the ninth-tier of English football.
Indians with longest gaps between Test appearances since independence
|Player||Last Test before being left out||Comeback Test||Duration|
|Parthiv Patel*||Against Sri Lanka||Against England||8 years, 3 months, 16 days|
|August 8-11, 2008||November 26, 2016 onwards|
|Mohinder Amarnath||Against Australia||Against New Zealand||6 years, 28 days|
|December 24-28, 1969||January 24-28, 1976|
|Chandrakant Pandit||Against Australia||Against Australia||5 years, 3 months, 4 days|
|September 26-30, 1986||January 2-6, 1992|
|CD Gopinath||Against Pakistan||Against Australia||4 years, 11 months, 23 days|
|January 29-February 1, 1955||January 23-28, 1960|
|Narendra Hirwani||Against Sri Lanka||Against New Zealand||4 years, 11 months, 13 days|
|November 23-27, 1990||November 8-12, 1995|
|Navjot Singh Sidhu||Against West Indies||Against New Zealand||4 years, 10 months, 15 days|
|December 24-29, 1983||November 12-17, 1988|
|Manoj Prabhakar||Against England||Against Pakistan||4 years, 10 months, 11 days|
|December 31-January 5, 1985||November 15-20, 1989|
*Parthiv will join the list when he takes the field against England on November 26, 2016 in Mohali.