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England vs India: For Sandeep Patil, technique & timing matter more than footwork

The Indian batsmen will need to prove their mettle in the upcoming series in England.

Sandeep Patil India
Sandeep Patil during a press conference. (Photo by Vipin Kumar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

Former Indian cricketer Sandeep Patel didn’t believe in his playing days that footwork is a key to good batting and doesn’t believe it now either. The 61-year-old who played 29 Tests for India between 1980 and 1984 said ahead of the first Test match between India and England that instead of footwork, what matters is technique, eyesight, and confidence.

“This footwork thing is over-blown. You should have a good technique, a keen eye, and most important the confidence. That is what helped me when I played in England. True I played just two Tests there but I did have a lot of seasons in the minor county and did not fail,” the former India coach and chief selector told Sportstar.

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Patil’s highest moment in Tests in England came at Old Trafford in Manchester in the 1982 series when he hit an unbeaten 129 to help India get closer to the English total of 425 after facing an early batting collapse. He hit English fast bowler Bob Willis for six fours in an over during that innings.

Sandeep Patil recalls impressive outing in Manchester

Recalling that innings, Patil said: “It just happened. It was my day. That’s it. He was a gentleman, a fantastic bowler and had to be watched closely. At the end of it, he patted me warmly but greeted me with a first-ball bouncer in the next Test. You could not take someone like Willis lightly.”

What made that Old Trafford innings special is that Patil was going through a lean phase ahead of that match. He even had asked his captain Sunil Gavaskar to send him home but the latter kept faith on Patil who was just 26 then. His opportunity came at the Old Trafford Test after Ghulam Parker and Ashok Malhotra failed in the first Test at Lord’s that India lost.

The likes of Cheteshwar Pujara and Shikhar Dhawan, who are also struggling to score ahead of the high-profile Test, could also take a cue from Patil, hoping to make a comeback.

Patil also said the fear about playing conditions in England was exaggerated and that he got runs against some quality swing bowlers in his career despite not having a great footwork was because he never feared about failure and always backed himself.

Patil has the same advice for the Indian batsmen who will fight some quality seam attack from England over the next one and half months.

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