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By Nishad Pai Vaidya
Mumbai: Jun 10, 2014
Vithal Patil was a man who dedicated himself to cricket and mentored players, said former Mumbai cricketer Kiran Mokashi. The former Mumbai off-spinner, is one of the many players coached by Patil who went on to play for Mumbai. But, Patil pressed his students to grow as human beings and not just cricketers. Patil coached many cricketers at the Podar College.
“His life was dedicated to cricket. He was keen on youngsters doing well and character building. He used to instill discipline. If you see, Podar College boys are very disciplined. That was his trademark,” Mokashi said.
Mokashi said that Patil wanted his students to have good academic qualifications. “He was for cricketers with good academic qualification, discipline and character. He used to insist they do well on academics,” said Patil.
Patil had his own style to coaching and wasn’t very technically oriented. “He wasn’t too technically oriented. He bowled to batsmen before 1983-84. If he saw a batsman was not good at on-drive, he would bowl on the leg-stump. If he was nicking outside off-stump, he would bowl outswingers. He would believe everyone has to find their own way. He was a superb cricketing personality and you would hardly find someone like him. He gave Mumbai many good players,” said Patil.
Mokashi recalls an instance when Dilip Vengsarkar had failed in his first Ranji Trophy game, but had persuaded the selection panel to pick him for the Irani Trophy. They picked him and Vengsarkar did well in that game. “More than a coach, he was a mentor. It is sad. We will miss him a lot,” Mokashi said.
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