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  • CRICKET – ‘He was a versatile cricketer’

    November 26th, 2015adminSports
    J.C. Patel. Photo: The Hindu Archives

    J.C. Patel. Photo: The Hindu Archives

    His cricket was driven by passion. The lanky all-rounder was past 60 years of age when he turned out for the Madras Cricket Club in the TNCA league. Those who watched him remember his zest for the game.

    Jayanthibai C. Patel, who passed away here recently aged 85, epitomised the spirit of the game in his era. He sought fulfilment on the field without seeking financial rewards. The purity in his cricket typified the amateur era where the game was bigger than individuals.

    Remembering Patel, a left-handed top-order batsman and a left-arm spinner, champion leg-spinner V.V. Kumar said to The Hindu, “JC was a gritty batsman who grafted for his runs. He had a good straight drive. And he was a steady bowler with an effective arm ball.”

    Kumar, Patel’s team-mate in the Madras Ranji side, said: “He (Patel) was a lively person. And he had so much enthusiasm for the game.”

    “MCC had a good attack when M. Balakrishnan bowled his outswingers from one end and Patel sent down his left-arm spin,” said Kumar.

    Turning out for two States in the Ranji Trophy in the 50s and 60s, Surat-born Patel represented Baroda before settling down in Madras. In all, he made 1,248 runs in 41 first-class matches at 21.15. Patel also claimed 54 wickets at 22.57.

    Recalling an anecdote, Kumar said: “Chandu Borde told me this story. Patel, then playing for Baroda, got the vital wicket of Bombay’s Madhav Apte with an arm ball. When Baroda captain Vijay Hazare walked up to the bowler and told him it was a good arm-ball, he replied, ‘No captain, it was an ‘army ball’.’ He further explained that the ball could get an army out! Patel had his own way of communicating.”

    Former India stumper Bharat Reddy said: “Before you settled in your stance and looked up, he (Patel) would be ready to release the ball. There were times when the batsmen moved away. It was one of his tactics to unsettle them. He went through his deliveries and overs quickly.”

    Reddy added: “He was a versatile cricketer. He could bowl slow medium pace with the new ball and brought the delivery in. He was also a fun-loving personality. In all, his contribution to MCC was immense.”

    source: / The Hindu / Home> Sports> Cricket / S. Dinakar / Chennai – November 26th, 2015

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