'Tiger' Pataudi, who passed away last week, loved his drinks. Kenia Jayantilal, the former India and Hyderabad all-rounder should know. He used to fix them when Pataudi turned up for Hyderabad in the 1960s and 1970s.
Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi (right) with Kenia Jayantilal at the National
Cricket Academy in Bangalore a few years ago.
"Being a teetotaler, I used to fix the drinks for Pataudi, Abbas Ali Baig and M L Jaisimha (Bishan Bedi likes the full form of ML to be millilitre). Tiger used to take his time and nurse his drink. While others had four after a day's play, he would just have two," Jayantilal told MiD DAY.
Jayantilal can never forget how he made his Ranji Trophy debut for Hyderabad because Pataudi couldn't make it for the game against Andhra in November, 1968: "My father learnt that I would be making my debut because of Pataudi's absence. I remember getting a call at my neighbour's home and dad saying to me, "Pataudi cannot make it for the game and you will play in his place. Ensure you give a good account of yourself and do justice to the man who you have replaced.' " Jayantilal got a hundred on debut.
"Pataudi was very helpful to younger players. He never made you feel out of place. I remember him mixing with all of us during our rail journeys to play domestic cricket. He had a cabin to himself and the cutlery he used came from his home," said Mumbai-based Jayantilal.
"We were playing Tamil Nadu and he noticed me blocking away against S Venkataraghavan and VV Kumar. "Apna khud ka game khelo," he yelled, urging me to play my natural game against them. Being more aggressive helped and soon Venkat and VV Kumar's frustration showed in the manner in which they started abusing me in Tamil," said Jayantilal.
Many years later, Pataudi paid a visit to the National Cricket Academy in Bangalore where Jayantilal was one of the coaches. "We took him round to show him the facilities and he soon got talking to the boys. He advised them to share whatever knowledge he had with their teammates. It's exactly the same thing he did and we benefited greatly. He knew all the tricks.
We were batting together for Hyderabad against Karnataka and Brijesh Patel was guarding the deep mid-wicket fence. His under-arm throws were restricting our runs, so Pataudi asked me to run the first run very quickly and we should be ready for the second run just before he decides to throw underarm. It worked."
Sunil Gavaskar and Ian Chappell have written about how Pataudi didn't carry any equipment. "When he came to Hyderabad, he wanted to use my bat, pads and gloves. I was only too honoured to provide him my kit," said Jayantilal.