Stay home, says Mumbai's oldest Test player Chandrakant Patankar

Updated: Mar 27, 2020, 07:29 IST | Clayton Murzello | Mumbai

Dr Chandrakant Patankar, 89 years and 124 days old, stressed that he has not seen the nation in such a standstill state in all these years.

Dr Chandrakant Patankar
Dr Chandrakant Patankar

If any more evidence was required as to how very unique these times are, it comes from Mumbai's oldest living Test cricketer.

Dr Chandrakant Patankar, 89 years and 124 days old, stressed that he has not seen the nation in such a standstill state in all these years.

"I could never imagine this scenario, where everything has come to a halt," Patankar, a PhD in Materials Management, told mid-day over the phone on Thursday.

The Coronavirus-caused lockdown prevents Patankar from taking his evening stroll, meet his age-group friends and attend the odd function at his Ambekar Nagar residence in Parel.

"I am home all the time and adhering to all the guidelines that have been put forward," said the former wicketkeeper-batsman, who represented India in one Test against New Zealand during the 1955-56 season.

Patankar, who spent his younger days in Pune, could only draw a similarity to the time when Mumbai's neighbouring city grappled with numerous cases of typhoid.

"Movement on the streets was restricted and my father—a doctor—had many patients coming in for injections. I used to help him out," said Patankar.

Dr Trimbak Patankar lived a 100 years and was proud to see his son Chandrakant, then 55, complete a PhD in Materials Management in 1985. Patankar Sr wanted Chandrakant to follow in his medicinal footsteps but a Masters degree in Zoology even while playing competitive cricket in Mumbai was good enough.

Patankar is convinced that if people stay away from each other on the streets for a while, the virus will be conquered and this crisis will end: "Look, this is not about the air. It's a people issue. It is imperative to stay home, follow a hygienic path and have some patience. If everyone does that, this will pass."

Patankar's advice is simple yet sound. It holds true from a scientific and cricketing angle because patience and staying at the crease is very much part of the traditional form of the willow game which Patankar displayed when he kept wickets or batted during a first-class cricket career that spanned 1949-50 to 1967-68.

Patankar is India's third oldest Test player. Topping the list is former captain Dattajirao Gaekwad (91 years, 152 days) followed by CD Gopinath (90 years, 26 days).

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