Of India-New Zealand and Rashid Patel's short-lived dream

Rashid Patel could not feature beyond a Test and a lone ODI for India, he did play 42 first-class matches and scalped 113 wickets.

As Mumbai gears up to host New Zealand for yet another Test match - after 33 years - it opens a floodgate of memories for Rashid Patel, who now lives in Bolton.   -  Special Arrangement

The last time India played a Test match against New Zealand at the Wankhede Stadium was in November 1988. Under the captaincy of Dilip Vengsarkar, a star-studded Indian team lost to John Wright’s touring team by 136 runs.

While it was a forgettable outing for India, the match marked the debut of a young fast bowler - Rashid Ghulam Mohammed Patel. After faring well in the domestic circuit for Baroda, the 24-year-old Patel was drafted into the team for the Mumbai Test, and he still remembers every moment from that ‘special match’. It is a different story that Patel could not feature beyond a Test and a lone ODI for India. He did play 42 first-class matches and scalped 113 wickets.

As Mumbai gears up to host New Zealand for yet another Test match - after 33 years - it opens a floodgate of memories for Patel, who now lives in Bolton.

RELATED| IND vs NZ, 2nd Test: Series, WTC points at stake amid rain threat

“It was a great experience to play for India, and in those days, there was tremendous competition. Also, back in those days, you did not have infrastructures like today - there were limited domestic matches, and then you had to play Test cricket. It was a great pleasure to play Test cricket at that time,” Patel told Sportstar on Thursday.

“I was not that successful at the international stage as I had less experience. We did not have so many matches - be it domestic cricket or the IPL. Now, you can play a fair amount of first-class cricket before making it to the Test side. But things were different in those days,” he said.

Patel who once bowled alongside the likes of Kapil Dev, is now working the Bramshaw Cricket Club.   -  Special Arrangement

 

Spearheading the pace attack, along with Kapil Dev, Patel bowled 14 overs and went wicketless, conceding 51 runs. “With Kapil Dev, Vengsarkar, Kiran More, Mohammad Azharuddin - it was a top Indian team at that time. So, it was an honour to be part of the team. I had great support from Mohinder Amarnath, he was a gentleman, and he, along with Kapil paaji would encourage us to work hard. So, for a young cricketer like us, it was a great thing to be appreciated by the star cricketers.”

“The seniors backed us and advised us on how to handle tough situations. It was a great learning experience. Every cricketer wants to perform well for India, and the competition was so intense that if you failed in one game, you never got another chance…” he reminisced.

RELATED| Virat Kohli on Kanpur draw: We tried everything we could as a team

While he played his only Test in Mumbai, he enjoyed every moment of the outing. “I have always bowled well at the Wankhede Stadium, even playing for Baroda. Back in those days, Mumbai was a great side with some top batters - (Lalchand) Rajput, (Sunil) Gavaskar, (Chandrakant) Pandit, (Shishir) Hattangadi, (Ravi) Shastri. So, every time we faced them, the target was to get them out early, and I enjoyed bowling. So, it was really special to make Test debut at that venue,” Patel said.

His international career did not last for long, and later, he got into a controversy for chasing Raman Lamba with a stump during the Duleep Trophy final in 1990-91 - which led to his suspension. But every time there is a Test match in Mumbai, it makes Patel nostalgic. After all, this is where he lived his dream!

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :