February 20, 2014

Sandeep Patil: the Bombay Hammer

He only played international cricket for about half a decade, but his brutal, attacking style left its mark on the game in India
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Patil tees off in the semi-final of the 1983 World Cup
Patil tees off in the semi-final of the 1983 World Cup © Getty Images

India versus Australia in Adelaide, January 1981. India have already lost the first Test of the series by an innings. Now, in response to Australia's first-innings score of 528, India are 130 for 4. They eventually score 419 and save the game.

India versus England at Old Trafford, June 1982. India have lost the first Test of the series by seven wickets. In response to England's first-innings total of 425, India are 136 for 5. They eventually recover to 379 and save the game.

India versus England, World Cup semi-final, June 1983. As India chase England's 213, their run rate flags, even as they keep wickets in hand. When the third wicket falls at 142, the game is still in the balance. Barely ten overs later, the game is over, decisively swung India's way.

India versus Pakistan in a one-day international in Jaipur, on Mahatma Gandhi's birthday, October 2, 1983. Pakistan make a modest 166, and in response, India are 52 for 2, before being sent hurtling to 135 for 6 by an innings that features a shot still remembered by any Indian schoolboy who saw the game.

If you remember these games, and these developments, you will also remember the batsman who was responsible for them.

For a brief period in the 1980s, one Indian batsman promised (or threatened, depending on your perspective) to reconceptualise Indian batting. He played some of the most memorable knocks of that period, in a distinctive yet unfamiliar, style. That batsman was Sandeep Patil.

In Adelaide against Australia, Patil scored 174 off 240 deliveries against an attack that included Lillee and Pascoe. At Old Trafford against England he scored 129 off 196 deliveries, including 18 fours and two sixes; six fours came in one over off Bob Willis. In the World Cup semi-final he hammered Willis, Graham Dilley and Paul Allott, scoring 51 off 32, turning a game that was in the balance into a rout. And in that India-Pakistan one-day international, during his innings of 51 off 28 deliveries, he launched a straight drive so fierce that the bowler - Mudassar Nazar - decided discretion was the better part of valour and nimbly skipped out of the way.

In each innings Patil, using a bat that was then the heaviest ever used by an Indian batsman, batted against fast bowling in a manner that Indian fans, not entirely used to counterattacks against the quicks, could delight in. They were used to the stoic defence of Gavaskar, the dazzling cut and thrust of Viswanath, and the bold hooks deployed by Mohinder Amarnath. But a tall, burly crasher of the ball through covers, who deployed a bludgeon for a bat, was still a novelty. Patil was not subtle; he hit the ball hard, and he intended for the ball to stay hit. His square drives and cuts were as fierce as could be imagined.

Srikkanth might have flailed away at the bowling a bit more and thus indicated a more kinetic performance was under way, but Patil conveyed the impression of a boxer whose punch, if it landed, would almost certainly knock you out. If I were a cricket ball, I could imagine Patil standing over me, saying, "Don't get up or I'll hit you again." And I'd listen. Small wonder that Mudassar decided to not risk bodily injury by attempting to field that fierce rocket off his own bowling.

I first heard of Patil from a cousin of mine, then studying dentistry in Bombay, who had seen him bat in local club games. Legend had it that he could hit sixes into the sea from the Wankhede. Another tall tale suggested he hit sixes all the way from Brabourne to Wankhede. And so on. Whatever he did, he seemed to have captured the local imagination like no other Bombay bat had in a very long time. We could barely wait for him to play for India. Which he did. He made his debut against Pakistan in 1980, and less than five years later, he had played his last Test.

It was a disappointingly short career, made all the more so for the brief glimpses he provided us of his undoubted talent. In that time, in the games above, and on other occasions when he shone, he batted like very few Indian batsmen had before or have since, in combining power and style. It was a physical and stylistic reconfiguration of a school of batting that desperately needed new blood.

Perhaps the fondest tribute I can pay Patil is that as a Delhi fan in the 1980s, he was a Bombay batsman I could not stop admiring. If only he'd stuck around a little longer to displace the then ruling paradigms of Indian batting.

Samir Chopra lives in Brooklyn and teaches Philosophy at the City University of New York. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • harshthakor on February 23, 2014, 3:40 GMT

    One of the most dashing and spectacular batsman I have ever seen.In full flow Sandeep Patil's attacking batting resembled a dynamite exploding.Patil's agression posessed the ferocity of a tiger.At his best few batsmen in the world could tear the likes of Lillee,Imran and Willis in the manner Patil did.His 129 at Old Trafford in 1982 ranks amongst the top 5 innings ever scored by an Indian batsmen where he superbly blended agression with defence while his 174 at Adelaide was a another classic knock.In both innings he saved India from imminent defeat.He also scored a masterly 68 at Lahore and 85 at Faisalabad in 1982 demolishing the great Imran Khan.At his best he dominated great pace bowling in the manner of great batsmen like Viv Richards.

    Sadly he faded away very early and lost an opportunity to join the greats of the game.Patil had simply innovated a new style of batting by an Indian batsmen.

  • mk49_van on February 24, 2014, 5:11 GMT

    In today's world where mediocrities like Raina get 200 or so kicks at the ODI can, Patil's quick fading away is scarcely believable. With a little bit more support and a touch more luck he would have been a great. Even an all-time master. He will though, forever remain the man who smashed an all-time great English bowler for 6 4s in an over. And for those shots that will stay etched in my memory I shall remain forever a fan.

  • Vikram_Afz on February 23, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    great to hear from our Pakistani brothers, cheers! @Mateen Chaudhry, great input cheers. @J751, I feel India searched too hard for crafters and stylists, hence the 'hammers' suffered as India felt a burly allrounder like Kapil or another can fulfil the role. This answers @Haaris's question partially!Well, it's also been argued that film acting distracted Sandeep to an ajnabi! @Sir_Ivor, I too was there at 8 years at the Bangalore '79 Test but missed that bit about Sandeep walking back. Thanks! @CricketLifer, superb input. few had the gumption to raise their scoring rate and risk 'careers' which Patil probably did. A martyr over a process so to speak. After redefining batting and helping the country to victories with sledgehammer batting the selectors can't expect him to crawl to 100s if that's what they wanted. a longer lease of life would have helped Sandeep perhaps, but alas! @sandy7965, beautiful input. Your pointers about his Madhya Pradesh stint point to his super professionalism

  • harshthakor on February 23, 2014, 3:56 GMT

    The memories of Sandeep Patil's best batting is etched in my mind forever.In the most difficult situations he proved that attack was the best form of defence.In Australia in 1980-81 he tackled pace bowling like few Indian batsmen ever did . After being felled in the 1st test scoring 65 he scored a spectacular 174 at Adelaide in the 2nd test when India were reeling.His hook shots and drives were simply audacious.At Old Trafford in 1982 he executed on the finest attacking Innings ever seen in test cricket when he banged Bob Willis for 6 boundaries in a single over.The field simply looked like pawns on a chess board.He repeated it in 1983 in the world cup,winning the semi-final for India.Without doubt Patil was one of the most entertaining batsmen ever with his dynamic approach. Sadly we never saw him enough against the great West Indian quartet. He proved how lack of temperament can curtail a great career,something so relevant in the modern era with so much money coming in the game.

  • sandy7965 on February 22, 2014, 8:30 GMT

    Excellent article and judging by the responses from Delhi and Pakistan, both otherwise sworn enemies, Sandeep Patil was and still is clearly among the most popular of cricketers. CricketLifer - it was the 82-83 Ranji Trophy final where Mumbai were behind on 1st innings and Patil came and hammered 121 unbeaten runs before lunch on the last day, declared and tried to make a match of it. Thereafter, his stint with Madhya Pradesh as their captain in the Ranji Trophy saw them win it inspite of not having any international players in their ranks. One also recalls him coaching minnows Kenya to the ICC World Cup semi-finals in 2003. Encouraging an inexperienced bunch to punch above their weight was his speciality. His disciplinarian stamp as the current selection committee Chairman is also evident in the way heavyweight seniors have been eased out. May his tribe increase!!

  • Vikram_Afz on February 22, 2014, 4:47 GMT

    Quite right, Samir. Call him Longshanks - the hammer of the English! For Mumbai's batting finesse of recent, credit has been given to the Gavaskars and Wadekars for building the foundations of Tendulkar and Kambli's generation but Sandeep has been ommitted. He played in an era where attacking batsmen were considered unworthy of literature. How things have changed! And by the way, as a Mumbai-bred I laud your Delhi's Dil-waala spirit in singling out this player. Reminds me of when Akash Lall, the selector from North Zone spoke in favour of Kambli from West Zone at a time when selectors risked getting their heads chopped off by diverting attention from their own zones' players! May your tribe increase! And may India thrive!

  • CricketLifer on February 22, 2014, 4:08 GMT

    Sandeep Patil was a real stroke maker and in the days when scoring at 2 runs per over was the norm in test cricket, he scored at much higher rate. I don't recall the exact test but in a late session on 4th day he scored almost 100 to move a test heading for a draw to result by giving India enough runs and time to bowl the opposition out. One of the comment here mentioned that his test career came to an end because of one rash stroke! He could have served India well for many more years! He was also a great fielder.

  • on February 22, 2014, 3:41 GMT

    Sandeep Patil was one of the most exciting players of that early 80s generation. Along with srikanth and kapil dev he could provide great entertainment to fans plus his looks, style made him a great persona. Real pity that one bad shot led to his being dropped and thereafter circumstances conspired against him with his replacement Azharuddin scoring 3 consecutive hundreds. There was no way back. He could have contributed to indian cricket for at least next 5-7 years. The one argument against his potential was his lack of success against the West Indies fast bowlers of that era that defined greatness of technique, character like Gavaskar, Amarnarh, Vengsarkar and even to some extent Yashpal Sharma. Barring this, great hero to follow in that era. Pity it couldn't last long enough.

  • nareshgb1 on February 21, 2014, 15:27 GMT

    I also remember this guy - probably the most handsome batsmen I have ever seen - I mean he was good looking, had the physical presence and the way he used to punch rising deliveries into covers off the back foot (just like you described) - I just could not believe it. Just a little handsome flourish and it was gone. For many of my Mumbaikar friends, he was the man who displaced even Sunny as "our guy".

    Its amazing that he went on to be a pretty handy coach and selector etc....he was a bit of a Philanderer in his playing days. Anyway, thanks to him for some incredibly joyous moments watching him bat.

  • Sir_Ivor on February 21, 2014, 14:37 GMT

    contd... I was taken in by this courageous young man against the Australain fast bowling. I remember him being hit on the head by a bouncer from Pascoe resuming his innings and scoring some forty odd I think. He hit that brilliant 174 against the same bowling at Adelaide. The Australians took to him instantly,as much for his batting and courage as for his good looks. In England it was Willis and Botham that he came up against and his 6 fours of Willis in a Test is part of folklore. That over had one no ball though ! I have till this day wondered why Patil did not get to play in more Tests. But I think it was over him getting out playing a rash shot against England in 1986. He was dropped just as Kapil was for one Test. Thouh Kapil came back, I am not sure if Sandip did because by then Azhar had made 3 hundreds. It was unfortunate because if Sandip had continued Indian cricket would have played attacking cricket much before the Kohlis and Dhawans of this world. Sandip was matchless.

  • harshthakor on February 23, 2014, 3:40 GMT

    One of the most dashing and spectacular batsman I have ever seen.In full flow Sandeep Patil's attacking batting resembled a dynamite exploding.Patil's agression posessed the ferocity of a tiger.At his best few batsmen in the world could tear the likes of Lillee,Imran and Willis in the manner Patil did.His 129 at Old Trafford in 1982 ranks amongst the top 5 innings ever scored by an Indian batsmen where he superbly blended agression with defence while his 174 at Adelaide was a another classic knock.In both innings he saved India from imminent defeat.He also scored a masterly 68 at Lahore and 85 at Faisalabad in 1982 demolishing the great Imran Khan.At his best he dominated great pace bowling in the manner of great batsmen like Viv Richards.

    Sadly he faded away very early and lost an opportunity to join the greats of the game.Patil had simply innovated a new style of batting by an Indian batsmen.

  • mk49_van on February 24, 2014, 5:11 GMT

    In today's world where mediocrities like Raina get 200 or so kicks at the ODI can, Patil's quick fading away is scarcely believable. With a little bit more support and a touch more luck he would have been a great. Even an all-time master. He will though, forever remain the man who smashed an all-time great English bowler for 6 4s in an over. And for those shots that will stay etched in my memory I shall remain forever a fan.

  • Vikram_Afz on February 23, 2014, 5:10 GMT

    great to hear from our Pakistani brothers, cheers! @Mateen Chaudhry, great input cheers. @J751, I feel India searched too hard for crafters and stylists, hence the 'hammers' suffered as India felt a burly allrounder like Kapil or another can fulfil the role. This answers @Haaris's question partially!Well, it's also been argued that film acting distracted Sandeep to an ajnabi! @Sir_Ivor, I too was there at 8 years at the Bangalore '79 Test but missed that bit about Sandeep walking back. Thanks! @CricketLifer, superb input. few had the gumption to raise their scoring rate and risk 'careers' which Patil probably did. A martyr over a process so to speak. After redefining batting and helping the country to victories with sledgehammer batting the selectors can't expect him to crawl to 100s if that's what they wanted. a longer lease of life would have helped Sandeep perhaps, but alas! @sandy7965, beautiful input. Your pointers about his Madhya Pradesh stint point to his super professionalism

  • harshthakor on February 23, 2014, 3:56 GMT

    The memories of Sandeep Patil's best batting is etched in my mind forever.In the most difficult situations he proved that attack was the best form of defence.In Australia in 1980-81 he tackled pace bowling like few Indian batsmen ever did . After being felled in the 1st test scoring 65 he scored a spectacular 174 at Adelaide in the 2nd test when India were reeling.His hook shots and drives were simply audacious.At Old Trafford in 1982 he executed on the finest attacking Innings ever seen in test cricket when he banged Bob Willis for 6 boundaries in a single over.The field simply looked like pawns on a chess board.He repeated it in 1983 in the world cup,winning the semi-final for India.Without doubt Patil was one of the most entertaining batsmen ever with his dynamic approach. Sadly we never saw him enough against the great West Indian quartet. He proved how lack of temperament can curtail a great career,something so relevant in the modern era with so much money coming in the game.

  • sandy7965 on February 22, 2014, 8:30 GMT

    Excellent article and judging by the responses from Delhi and Pakistan, both otherwise sworn enemies, Sandeep Patil was and still is clearly among the most popular of cricketers. CricketLifer - it was the 82-83 Ranji Trophy final where Mumbai were behind on 1st innings and Patil came and hammered 121 unbeaten runs before lunch on the last day, declared and tried to make a match of it. Thereafter, his stint with Madhya Pradesh as their captain in the Ranji Trophy saw them win it inspite of not having any international players in their ranks. One also recalls him coaching minnows Kenya to the ICC World Cup semi-finals in 2003. Encouraging an inexperienced bunch to punch above their weight was his speciality. His disciplinarian stamp as the current selection committee Chairman is also evident in the way heavyweight seniors have been eased out. May his tribe increase!!

  • Vikram_Afz on February 22, 2014, 4:47 GMT

    Quite right, Samir. Call him Longshanks - the hammer of the English! For Mumbai's batting finesse of recent, credit has been given to the Gavaskars and Wadekars for building the foundations of Tendulkar and Kambli's generation but Sandeep has been ommitted. He played in an era where attacking batsmen were considered unworthy of literature. How things have changed! And by the way, as a Mumbai-bred I laud your Delhi's Dil-waala spirit in singling out this player. Reminds me of when Akash Lall, the selector from North Zone spoke in favour of Kambli from West Zone at a time when selectors risked getting their heads chopped off by diverting attention from their own zones' players! May your tribe increase! And may India thrive!

  • CricketLifer on February 22, 2014, 4:08 GMT

    Sandeep Patil was a real stroke maker and in the days when scoring at 2 runs per over was the norm in test cricket, he scored at much higher rate. I don't recall the exact test but in a late session on 4th day he scored almost 100 to move a test heading for a draw to result by giving India enough runs and time to bowl the opposition out. One of the comment here mentioned that his test career came to an end because of one rash stroke! He could have served India well for many more years! He was also a great fielder.

  • on February 22, 2014, 3:41 GMT

    Sandeep Patil was one of the most exciting players of that early 80s generation. Along with srikanth and kapil dev he could provide great entertainment to fans plus his looks, style made him a great persona. Real pity that one bad shot led to his being dropped and thereafter circumstances conspired against him with his replacement Azharuddin scoring 3 consecutive hundreds. There was no way back. He could have contributed to indian cricket for at least next 5-7 years. The one argument against his potential was his lack of success against the West Indies fast bowlers of that era that defined greatness of technique, character like Gavaskar, Amarnarh, Vengsarkar and even to some extent Yashpal Sharma. Barring this, great hero to follow in that era. Pity it couldn't last long enough.

  • nareshgb1 on February 21, 2014, 15:27 GMT

    I also remember this guy - probably the most handsome batsmen I have ever seen - I mean he was good looking, had the physical presence and the way he used to punch rising deliveries into covers off the back foot (just like you described) - I just could not believe it. Just a little handsome flourish and it was gone. For many of my Mumbaikar friends, he was the man who displaced even Sunny as "our guy".

    Its amazing that he went on to be a pretty handy coach and selector etc....he was a bit of a Philanderer in his playing days. Anyway, thanks to him for some incredibly joyous moments watching him bat.

  • Sir_Ivor on February 21, 2014, 14:37 GMT

    contd... I was taken in by this courageous young man against the Australain fast bowling. I remember him being hit on the head by a bouncer from Pascoe resuming his innings and scoring some forty odd I think. He hit that brilliant 174 against the same bowling at Adelaide. The Australians took to him instantly,as much for his batting and courage as for his good looks. In England it was Willis and Botham that he came up against and his 6 fours of Willis in a Test is part of folklore. That over had one no ball though ! I have till this day wondered why Patil did not get to play in more Tests. But I think it was over him getting out playing a rash shot against England in 1986. He was dropped just as Kapil was for one Test. Thouh Kapil came back, I am not sure if Sandip did because by then Azhar had made 3 hundreds. It was unfortunate because if Sandip had continued Indian cricket would have played attacking cricket much before the Kohlis and Dhawans of this world. Sandip was matchless.

  • Haaris- on February 21, 2014, 14:33 GMT

    As a Pakistani, a big fan of his batting. I always thought that he had Pakistani qualities as a player (the writer alluded to himself in this article as batsman unlike before or after). When he walked to the crease or stood at the pitch, he had a flair unlike others and you got the impression he was going play his style regardless of the opposition. I also wish he had played longer than he did. Given his style, I imagine he was a straight talker and that may have been "partially" the reason for a short career.

  • Sir_Ivor on February 21, 2014, 14:21 GMT

    I got my frist glimpse of Sandip Patil before the Bangalore Test against Pakistan in 1979. It was a toss up between him and Roger Binny as to who would play. Finally Roger got the nod. I saw this ext remely macho cricketer walking back dejected,into the pavilion. That Pakistan team was unique. Most of them had this Packer mystique. Apart from that most of them were very good looking. I remember there was Majid in his typically Oxbridge walk.Zaheer anaemic with spectacles and every bit an intellectual Imran of regal disdain and of course balanced with Wasim Raja the brother of Rameez, whose father was from the Pakistan Civil Service and the unique Javed.Against such a bunch handsome men I thought India could have done with their own movie star in the form of Sandip Patil. It was not to be sadly. I had read about his exploits of in domestic games in erstwhile Bombay.and got to hear of his courage and big hitting later in Australia in 1980/81 against the formidable Lillee and Pascoe......

  • J751 on February 21, 2014, 11:47 GMT

    He was an exciting batsman to watch.I remember a photograph of Sandip Patel in the Pakistani magazine The Cricketer captioned "India's Batsman of the Future." It seems he didn't fulfill his potential.

  • on February 21, 2014, 8:56 GMT

    As a kid growing up in Pakistan, we really felt strongly against Indians who played against our great Zaheer, Imran and Miandad, but there was something about Sir Sandeep Patil that we Pakistani fan loved. He was a pure entertainer and we did not mind at all when he hit sixes to legend like Abdul Qadir. Sandeep has been in our warm memories after 30 years. Border did not exist when Mr. Patil batted. Love you Sir.

  • Emancipator007 on February 21, 2014, 8:45 GMT

    @Brija: FYI, Gavaskar's Test exploits shadow his ODI batting transformation & records in 80s. He averaged a VERY HIGH (for that era) 40 under Kapil's captaincy & was epitome of consistency too with 21 50s (including fastest World Cup 100 in '87) in about 60 innings & SR same as "swashbuckling Greendidge". Please don't colour his legacy for younger followers. All supreme sports performers have personality flaws & are bound to be viciously caricatured/critiqued unfairly. Imran too was despised by many players & Pak cricket establishment but he cared only about his nation's cricketing performance. Same with Sunny who wanted to keep India's flag flying thru his (and team with limited bowling resources) supreme batting skills & record breaking world-class exploits.Sunny proved that with comprehensive World Championship victory in OZ in '85-one of the most clinically accomplished perfect ODI tournament victories in cricket history-had Sunny's personality stamp. Sunny always backed Patil.

  • Emancipator007 on February 21, 2014, 8:41 GMT

    Memories of Sandy:O Man!Rushing back from school in '81 to hear older residential colony kids/adults talk animatedly (also mythologizing from news bulletins) about his 174 after the knockout blow by Pascoe.Rushing to cousin's neighbor 's house to watch on TV after hearing exploits of his 4/6 hitting spree on radio in Test against England in '81.He was on track to be India's best ODI bat in '80s & deserved more chances (like how Raina/Rohit keep getting this century).@Longmemory: he was not totally finished: when India was about to drop seniors B4 '89 WI tour (over payments issue I think), he was standby captain with a B team also ready. His bended-knee sweep for 6's of pacers still embedded in memory.BTW, young Tendulkar used to be called the "new Sandeep Patil " on the Mumbai club circuit cos of similar swashbuckling batting style.

  • Sun25 on February 21, 2014, 7:25 GMT

    Yes, Sandeep Patil was known for hitting sixes into the sea - however this was from the Hindu/ Parsi/ Islam Gymkhana grounds on Marine Drive, not the Wankhede Stadium. The club games would always attract a large crowd when Sandeep Patil was at the crease. One of his great post-playing days achievements was coaching the Kenya cricket team during the 2003 World Cup, when they made the semi-finals. Now, as n Indian selector he has been making tough calls, which the K. Srikanth led panel was reluctant to make.

  • sewd on February 21, 2014, 6:46 GMT

    Sandeep Patil was a flamboyant cricketer both on and off the field. He made his debut late and his lack of physical fitness incuding his shoulder issue curtailed his career.Whenever he batted long enough you could always expect some magical un Indian cricketing shots.But please do not blame Gavaskar for everything. Gavaskar is no "USA" of Indian cricket. I am very impressed with Sandeep Patil the Selector as he has made some tough calls, which the previous committe had deferred to the detriment of Indian cricket.

  • Longmemory on February 21, 2014, 4:55 GMT

    @Michael Flynn - no one outside the closed circle around these cricketers knows the answer. Rumor has it that Patil was not exactly the most disciplined character off the field in terms of practice and lifestyle. I have no idea if that is true. I doubt that Sunny G or anyone else can be blamed for Patil's unfulfilled career. He made his debut under Sunny and the latter backed him in a big way early in his career. Nor do I agree with many other posters about Sunny trying to influence the way others batted - I think he was above that. Patil himself, later on in life after his retirement, blamed his own immaturity and inability to handle success for his brief career. And no, he wasn't 'prematurely' dropped from the team - the guy was done by the time he was axed.

  • sreni on February 21, 2014, 4:51 GMT

    well brought back the memories. I still remember the 65 at Sydney too, when india scored exactly 201 in both the Inn.

  • brija on February 21, 2014, 3:26 GMT

    Samir u may have been a young fellow then but i have seen it all.There was another exciting cricketer those days called surrinder amarnath who was a dashing batsman but nobody seems to remember him. Rajsingh dungarpur was a cruel selector those days and gavaskar who scored 36 not out in 176 deliveries in 1975 world cup should never have played another one dayer.sandeep bwas an exciting cricketer who unfortunately did not play long enough. gavaskar influenced lot of selection.the trouble is gavaskar has so much venom that no body can afford to keep him out, i mean bcci and media.even his son rohan was a better one day player but got a raw deal because every one was fed up with sunil gavaskar and took it out on rohan. in short some exciting cricketers like sandeep patil and surrinder amarnath could not last long because of gavaskar factor

  • on February 21, 2014, 2:36 GMT

    such a handsome man too such a handsome man too

  • RogerC on February 21, 2014, 0:38 GMT

    Sandip Patil was dropped after playing a rash shot in the Delhi test against England (along with Kapil Dev). He was replaced by a young kid named Azharuddin in the next test. Azhar went on to score 3 hundreds in his first 3 tests and there was no way back for Sandip Patil. Today cricketers get many chances before being dropped. In Patil's case it was just one bad shot and he his career was over.

  • on February 20, 2014, 19:54 GMT

    What happened to him and why didn't he fulfil his talent?

  • chsj on February 20, 2014, 18:08 GMT

    Yes Sandeep Patil was a conjurer of magic ... a fammilar radio comment when he batted : Patil drives - four runs; the briefest pause between 'drives' and 'four'. Such was his stroke play, clean, elegant and yes, classy too - no ugly slog. In a way the dominant Indian batting style then was Gavaskar's - which as captain he tried to impose on the likes of Vengsarkar, Mohinder and Patil. Patil fell away unable to match his style with what was thrust upon. Even Vengsarkar survived the phase and came out of Gavaskar's shadow after Gavasakar was no longer captain and India was luckier with a more positive version of Vengsarkar. Possibly it did not help Patil was too new in the team and hence could not properly flower. I am a fan of Gavaskar's for his effectiveness as batsman and his conquering all conditions - but he was far too counter productive as captain.

  • Game_Gazer on February 20, 2014, 18:02 GMT

    should have been a great like viv richards..the resounding & brutal strokes still ring in ears..

  • MaruthuDelft on February 20, 2014, 16:57 GMT

    In the 1981 series Gavaskar was made to look like a club cricketer by Lillee and Pascoe. Patil took the attack to Lillee and Pascoe.

  • Longmemory on February 20, 2014, 16:19 GMT

    Lovely piece Samir - brought back loads of memories. Sandeep Patil could have been in the same league as Vivian Richards. He had everything going for him back then - a real pity that he squandered all that talent. When he first came into the India XI, he was a more than useful medium pace bowler as well. And mind you the guy was technically very sound. He was no slogger, played with a straight bat and had every shot in the book. Yes, "if only he'd stuck around a little longer...."

  • on February 20, 2014, 12:54 GMT

    He should have been a batting great. He kept India alive in the series against the Aussies in 1981. I remember him getting hit by a Len Pascoe bouncer in Sydney (surprisingly he credits Rodney Hogg in his autobiography for this). He wore a helmet for the first time in this Adelaide innings you mention. One particular shot where he goes down on his knees to cover drive Dennis Lillee is still fresh in my memory. If I remember correctly he and Kapil Dev were dropped after India lost the Delhi test against Gower's English Team. He never really was the same player after that.

  • on February 20, 2014, 12:54 GMT

    He should have been a batting great. He kept India alive in the series against the Aussies in 1981. I remember him getting hit by a Len Pascoe bouncer in Sydney (surprisingly he credits Rodney Hogg in his autobiography for this). He wore a helmet for the first time in this Adelaide innings you mention. One particular shot where he goes down on his knees to cover drive Dennis Lillee is still fresh in my memory. If I remember correctly he and Kapil Dev were dropped after India lost the Delhi test against Gower's English Team. He never really was the same player after that.

  • Longmemory on February 20, 2014, 16:19 GMT

    Lovely piece Samir - brought back loads of memories. Sandeep Patil could have been in the same league as Vivian Richards. He had everything going for him back then - a real pity that he squandered all that talent. When he first came into the India XI, he was a more than useful medium pace bowler as well. And mind you the guy was technically very sound. He was no slogger, played with a straight bat and had every shot in the book. Yes, "if only he'd stuck around a little longer...."

  • MaruthuDelft on February 20, 2014, 16:57 GMT

    In the 1981 series Gavaskar was made to look like a club cricketer by Lillee and Pascoe. Patil took the attack to Lillee and Pascoe.

  • Game_Gazer on February 20, 2014, 18:02 GMT

    should have been a great like viv richards..the resounding & brutal strokes still ring in ears..

  • chsj on February 20, 2014, 18:08 GMT

    Yes Sandeep Patil was a conjurer of magic ... a fammilar radio comment when he batted : Patil drives - four runs; the briefest pause between 'drives' and 'four'. Such was his stroke play, clean, elegant and yes, classy too - no ugly slog. In a way the dominant Indian batting style then was Gavaskar's - which as captain he tried to impose on the likes of Vengsarkar, Mohinder and Patil. Patil fell away unable to match his style with what was thrust upon. Even Vengsarkar survived the phase and came out of Gavaskar's shadow after Gavasakar was no longer captain and India was luckier with a more positive version of Vengsarkar. Possibly it did not help Patil was too new in the team and hence could not properly flower. I am a fan of Gavaskar's for his effectiveness as batsman and his conquering all conditions - but he was far too counter productive as captain.

  • on February 20, 2014, 19:54 GMT

    What happened to him and why didn't he fulfil his talent?

  • RogerC on February 21, 2014, 0:38 GMT

    Sandip Patil was dropped after playing a rash shot in the Delhi test against England (along with Kapil Dev). He was replaced by a young kid named Azharuddin in the next test. Azhar went on to score 3 hundreds in his first 3 tests and there was no way back for Sandip Patil. Today cricketers get many chances before being dropped. In Patil's case it was just one bad shot and he his career was over.

  • on February 21, 2014, 2:36 GMT

    such a handsome man too such a handsome man too

  • brija on February 21, 2014, 3:26 GMT

    Samir u may have been a young fellow then but i have seen it all.There was another exciting cricketer those days called surrinder amarnath who was a dashing batsman but nobody seems to remember him. Rajsingh dungarpur was a cruel selector those days and gavaskar who scored 36 not out in 176 deliveries in 1975 world cup should never have played another one dayer.sandeep bwas an exciting cricketer who unfortunately did not play long enough. gavaskar influenced lot of selection.the trouble is gavaskar has so much venom that no body can afford to keep him out, i mean bcci and media.even his son rohan was a better one day player but got a raw deal because every one was fed up with sunil gavaskar and took it out on rohan. in short some exciting cricketers like sandeep patil and surrinder amarnath could not last long because of gavaskar factor

  • sreni on February 21, 2014, 4:51 GMT

    well brought back the memories. I still remember the 65 at Sydney too, when india scored exactly 201 in both the Inn.