Vithal Patil should be honoured with Dronachary award: Shastri

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Mumbai, Apr 10 (UNI) Former India captain Ravi Shastri made an earnest plea to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to recommend the name of his college coach Vithal Patil to the government for the highest award for Coaches, the Dronachary award.

Shastri was speaking at the felicitation of 83-year-old Patil by his students from Poddar College, where Patil served with distinction for many years, at a function at Bombay Gymkhana here last night.

The function was also attended by other Poddar players turned internationals -- Sanjay Manjrekar, Jatin Paranjpe and another coached by Patil, Sunil Gavaskar.

Shastri made this plea after BCCI CAO Ratnakar Shetty recalled how he had helped Patil apply for the state government's coaches award, the Dadoji Konddeo award.

However, Mr Shetty said one should not have to apply for awards.

Gavaskar, in a message said that he would be ever grateful to Patil for teaching him the importance of turning up in a clean attire, shoes whitened and bat scraped off spots and look like a cricketer even if you were not one.

Shastri said he had been moved to tears after seeing the audio-visual presentation of his coach. ''Not once did I say to myself Oh! I have to go to nets today. There was always that hunger and desire. I cannot see such a tireless servant of the game anymore,'' Shastri said about Patil, who was known by the name of Marshal.

Patil was presented with a cheque for Rs two lakh. The interest from this amount will go towards funding a poor cricketer.

Sanjay Manjrekar recalled about how difficult it was to get a word of praise from the coach. ''He was never too lavish in his praise. You had to struggle hard to get one. I have played under many coaches but Sir gave me the final shape,'' added Manjrekar, who acknowledged that he was also coached by Subhash Bandiwadekar, Anna Vaidya and Ramakant Achrekar to a certain extent.

Former BCCI chief Raj Singh Dungarpur quipped, ''He got married to line and length,'' to describe the bachelor's passion for the game.

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