Uma Pathy, the Indian team's friendly doctor since the 1977-78 Aus tour, reveals how he gave a pain-killing injection to Kapil Dev in Melbourne
Ever since the tour of Australia in 1977-78, every Indian team has visited Dr Uma Pathy's house for a traditional dinner party. Melbourne-based Dr Pathy was first introduced to the Indian team by good friend and former wicketkeeper Syed Kirmani -- who played under his captaincy for the Bangalore Union Cricket Club (BUCC), of which Rahul Dravid is currently the President. Dr Pathy, 77, has been the official Team Doctor recognised by the Indian cricket Board for every tour since 1977, albeit the team travels with a full fledged medial staff these days.
Kapil Dev being lifted by fans at the Melbourne Cricket Ground
after guiding India to a memorable win against the Aussies in
1981. PIC/MiD DAY Archives
"I have been the Indian team's team doctor every time they come to Australia. In 1980-81, Kapil Dev was suffering from tonsillitis just before the Test match (and also from a groin injury later in the match). He needed treatment, it was a very acute condition," Dr Pathy told MiD DAY outside the Melbourne Cricket Club (MCC) Long Room here yesterday.
Dr Pathy revealed that he was scared to give an injection to Kapil. "I had to attend to Kapil very cautiously. I was scared to give him an injection because if there was a reaction and if anything happened to him, I would have been held responsible. I went to his room -- there were no witnesses. I told him 'Look Kapil, I will give you some capsules. It will take a little longer to cure, but you will be better.' He said, 'No, Please give me the injection. He kept insisting. I was frightened. He got better after the injection. That was a frightening moment for me. If something would have happened to him, there would have been severe consequences," Dr Pathy said.
Dr Uma Pathy
Incidentally, it was before the same Test which Kapil singlehandedly won for India on the fifth and final day with a splendid haul of 5-28 that helped the visitors square the three-Test series at one win apiece. Many rate that spell by Kapil as one of the finest by a visiting fast bowler to Australia.
Dr Pathy was hopeful that MS Dhoni's team would keep with the tradition. "We had been preparing for the team dinner party for so long, had made all the arrangements. We were very disappointed that they couldn't come yesterday (December 25). We've been told by manager Shivlal Yadav that they will visit when they return to Melbourne for the ODIs," he said.