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Vithal Patil taught us discipline at Podar College, says Avadhoot Zarapkar

Avadhoot Zarapkar said that Vithal Patil (above) was someone who motivated his players to do very well on the field.
Avadhoot Zarapkar said that Vithal Patil (above) was someone who motivated his players to do very well on the field.

By Nishad Pai Vaidya

Mumbai: Jun 10, 2014

Vithal Patil, the renowned cricket coach in Mumbai’s circles, passed away at the age of 86. He was a coach who instilled discipline and commitment towards. Many cricketers, who trained under his tutelage, went on to play for Mumbai and India. They remember him with respect and speak about the discipline he instilled in them at a young age.

Avadhoot Zarapkar, the former Mumbai off-spinner, was coached by Patil. He said, “It is a sad news. May his soul rest in peace. He was one of the finest coaches who never got the awards. He probably deserved the Dronacharya Award. I still remember when Sunil Gavaskar used to go on tours, he used to specially ask Patil sir to bowl to him.”

Zarapkar also spoke about the discipline Patil instilled in the players, something that was etched in each of his student at the Podar College. “At Podar College, he taught us discipline. Whatever we are is because of him. Whatever cricket I played, the credit goes to Patil sir. He taught me the finer points of off-spin.”

Patil was someone who motivated his players to do very well on the field. He inspired them to overcome the odds and take on the challenge head on. Zarapkar recalls one such incident. He said, “ We (Podar College) were playing the finals of inter collegiate tournament final in 1972-73 against Siddharth College. We were playing at CCI, and they were 275 for six, needing 25 to win. By Tea time, I had bowled about 54 overs. My spinning finger was cut I told him (Patil) that I couldn’t bowl as it was painful.”

He said, ‘Tujha bot tutla tari chalel, pan bowling tulach karayla lagel’ (Marathi for: It is ok if you break you finger, but you will have to bowl). We won the game by eight runs and I took the last wicket. In that innings, I had recorded figures of 6 for 54. It was a lesson that whatever be circumstances, you have to dedicate yourself to cricket.”

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