He was at number 16 in runs tally and languishing at number 34 in batting averages. Kapil Dev, Yashpal Sharma and Mohinder Amarnath scored more runs for India. But still Sandeep Patil emerged as the highest impact Indian batsman of the 1983 World Cup (and second overall to Vivian Richards).

Sandeep Patil scored 216 runs in 8 matches in the 1983 World Cup at an average of approximately 31 – nothing to write home about. Then how exactly did he emerge as the second-highest impact batsman of the tournament?

Patil demonstrated a unique ability to score quick runs at a rate above the match norm at crucial stages in a match throughout the tournament – 36 off 52 balls coming in at 46 for 2 in India’s opener against the West Indies, 50 off 54 deliveries coming in at 32 for 2 (chasing 155) against Zimbabwe and 30 off 25 balls coming in at 65 for 3 against Australia are a few innings that illustrate this quality of his.

Not surprisingly then Patil had the second highest Strike Rate impact in the tournament after Kapil Dev (even higher than Viv Richards) and also displayed the best ability to chase down targets for India.

Coupled with this, he had a tendency to excel in big-matches – a quality which was on display in the semi-final against England in Manchester where chasing 213 for victory, he smashed an unbeaten 51 off just 32 deliveries (coming in to bat at 142 for 3) and along with Yashpal Sharma took India into the final with a thumping six-wicket win. He earned a tournament-defining (TD) performance for his efforts in this match.

Nikhil Narain

NOTE: This piece is up-to-date as of August 2016