India's chief selector Sandeep Patil went into rewind mode the other day at Shivaji Park Gymkhana (SPG), a venue that Patil graced to attend the launch of the SPG academy.
Sandeep Patil at a local cricket prize distribution function during his playing days . His coach Ankush 'Anna' Vaidya is to his right
Patil spoke on how it was important to have a sense of loyalty while playing for one's club. He bemoaned the fact that today's players move from one club to another at the drop of a hat. Then came a revelation. Patil said he rated the century before lunch he scored for Shivaji Park Youngsters against Navroze CC in 1975 higher than his four Test hundreds.
'Loved to play Kanga'
"If you are mentally tough you can overcome your physical problems. You can tackle situations, which is vital. Mumbai cricketers are called 'khadoos' because of the Kanga League. I once got a Kanga League hundred in a session and I considered it better than my hundreds in Test cricket because you are playing in trying conditions.
I loved to play the Kanga League and I hope it grows," said Patil who scored a hundred before lunch while opening the innings for Shivaji Park Youngsters (SPY) against Navroze at Azad Maidan in 1975.
Patil's SPY teammate Dr Pratap Raut recalled that then Mumbai captain Ashok Mankad wanted Patil to open the innings for his club and the 20-year-old batsman was glad to do so. Prakash Kelkar, a regular at SPY matches remembered Patil telling the club's secretary Sharad Kotnis that he will open the innings and get a hundred, which he did in scintillating fashion.
"Kanga League conditions were trying and there were some quality bowlers. That 100 before lunch will remain very, very special to me," Patil concluded.