Sandeep Patil arrived to play the Test just before stumps in Nagpur Test 1983 © Getty Images
Sandeep Patil arrived to play the Test just before stumps in Nagpur Test 1983 © Getty Images

Before the Nagpur Test took on October 5, 1983 there was immense confusion which led the match to draw even due to regular bouts of rain even after last minute inclusion of former Indian batsman Sandeep Patil before stumps. The confusion started off when former Indian cricketer and current cricket analyst Mohinder Amarnath was declared unfit in spite of constant medications. Roger Binny, former Indian all-rounder, who pulled off a Houdini act on the first day of the Test when Pakistan’s Tahir Naqqash reduced India to 85 for 7, was not considered at that moment and was keen on picking Patil who was not found in the squad. ALSO READ: Sandeep Patil arrives to play a Test just before stumps

Former Pakistan cricketer Zaheer Abbas went into a defensive mode to clear India within 100 runs, but that fell through as Binny and Madan Lal pushed India to 275 giving Pakistan a lead of 13 runs. Jullundur was hosting its first match and it witnessed Anshuman Gaekwad striking a slow double Test hundred at that point and Dara Dotiwalla gave Mohsin Khan LBW off the first ball. The third innings of the Test match lasted mere 9 overs and the local hero Jahangir Khan grabbed attention with his appearance for the Test.

Before contemplating between Binny and Patil, when Amarnath was called unfit, the match took drastic twists and turns. Abbas called up Mohammad Nazir, a spinner for defence. On the other hand, India left out Srinivas Venkataraghavan and included Raghuram Bhat who debuted for his first Test. Binny was in good form with bat and bowl as he struck 83 and 54 in 2 Tests as well as claimed two wickets at Jullundur. KR Wadhwaney, former sports editor at Indian Express wrote in Indian Cricket Controversies: “Why was Binny not being included when there was a clear-cut vacancy was difficult to understand. It seemed that the powers that-be had different designs and ideas up their sleeves.” ALSO READ: Sandeep Patil does not agree with MS Dhoni as far as Indian pace attack is concerned

The issue cropped up when Patil was found to be in another city and there was no way he could make it for the match. Wadhwaney further mentioned: “In arrived Nagpur’s most influential politician. He revealed that after a lot of effort, he had been able to convince the Maharashtra Government that Sandeep Patil might be provided state plane to arrive in Nagpur for the match.” Amongst this confusion, Patil was clueless about the on-going scenario and could not be contacted. His family sent his kit to the airport and the aircraft was waiting until he boarded the flight. ALSO READ: India must learn from mistakes: Sandeep Patil

Sunil Gavaskar gave a special mention about this incident on Runs ‘n’ Ruins: “Who exactly were the people who made the decision to ask Patil to fly down is not clear, though at the time it was announced that the team as a whole had met and insisted on Patil being asked to play. This is not true at all, because I do remember Kapil calling a meeting in the dressing-room and informing the players, rather than asking their opinion. So it was quite clear that the decision was made by someone else.”

The only decisions that went in India’s favour were the rains delayed 50mins of play on Day 1 before tea and India elected to bat. Had India bowled first, the decision of substitute would not have cropped up. Patil arrived just before stumps. He played “an exquisite drive to get off the mark”, but was too late in playing a bouncer from Azeem Hafeez, edged it, and was caught by Raja.