For a change, a young fellow with a Patil surname strayed into the cricket field on purpose rather than labouring on the vast sugarcane fields of Kolhapur, a flourishing district in Western Maharashtra famous for temples, jaggery-making and world-famous slippers. Kolhapur is also famous for Panhalagad Fort, where Chhatrapati Shivaji fought a few battles and where a spoonful of a hot red chilli-spiced local cuisine ‘misal’ would explode into your mouth. The town also made its mark on the world map producing some champion freestyle wrestlers. For several decades, the state’s political class also emerged in large numbers from these parts.

With many options available, why did Sadashiv Raoji Patil, known simply by his initials SR, choose to reap rewards with a shining red cricket ball? One would probably never find a proper answer. But, it is the exacting department of the…

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