Umesh Patwal is an Indian cricketer who has taught players from India, Nepal and Afghanistan how to handle a cricket bat to the best of their ability. At fifty-one years of age, the six foot one inch tall batting consultant is tasked with training ladies in Goa to face the ball. And, he is a man on a mission.
“You pick up the worst player and make her the best and the rest will follow her,” is Umesh Patwal’s remedy, and one that has been producing results wherever he has been.
Umesh was not born a star. Despite being born in a slum in Uttarakhand and his parents not being academically inclined, he received an education that many would envy. A man of humility and simplicity, he is churning out cricket stars at home and abroad at a factory production line pace.
“I noticed a cultural difference when I first met the players here. They were looking to play cricket when we are supposed to have a winning culture and not a playing culture. I expect them to adapt fast because they are observant, they like to learn and ask questions, which is an amazing quality,” divulges Umesh, as he observes the girls going through a drill at the Goa Cricket Association (GCA) Academy ground in Porvorim.
Cricket in India changed for the better when the players realised the importance of aggressiveness on the field. “Though it is an English game, it was we who were gentleman and they, aggressive. Aggressiveness was missing and the tone was set right by Sourav Ganguly in England,” recalls Umesh.
“A good cricketer is about being honest and humble. If you are a good person, you can always be a good cricketer,” reflects Umesh, as he draws back into his destiny with cricket.
Appointed as consultant for the female cricketers of Goa, he says “I want to plant the seed for women’s cricket in Goa in the nine months that I am going to be here, and my success will be weighed by how receptive I am in getting the girls to realise the best in them,” states Umesh assertively.
“For batters, if you cannot score runs, you cannot win matches. I expect the girls' team to win matches, and at some point in the future to start winning tournaments. For me, performance is daily and not on one day and that is what I expect the girls to understand,” says Umesh, as he builds their confidence with his psychological masterstrokes.
“Self-awareness,” believes Umesh, “for cricketers, is the ability to control bat and ball.”
“I work with what each player gives me, and in this way, I intend to improve two per cent of what each player gives,” he says.
Umesh’s confidence in the female players in Goa stems from his string of successes wherever he has been called to produce results. Unlike many cricketers, he talks less, watches more and captures the mind frame of his wards.
“The mental part is the emotional path, which is about clarity and awareness. One has to fit mental strength and give confidence to touch that strength. The girls will learn to come out of their own zones,” believes Umesh.
“I never find anything too trivial to take on. As long as it helps my team, I will do it, even if it means I need to sweep the floor. Life for me is about living today, and if I can help people be successful, nothing like it,” believes Umesh.
“The risk factor of a bowler is six balls while the risk factor of a batsman is one ball. It is the mindset that determines how this is judged,” professes Umesh, who believes he has the capabilities to even take the Goa men’s team higher than they are expected to reach.
“If I am given time to be with the senior men’s team, we will be talking of not just winning the Ranji Trophy but all three tournaments in a season. Tamil Nadu and Karnataka have done it, so why not Goa?” asks Umesh.
With the coach for the senior team already appointed, chances of winning laurels are not out of reach as Umesh through the performance of the women’s team is capable of not just showcasing his abilities but justifying the trust the Goa Cricket Association (GCA) secretary Rohan Gauns Dessai has in him.
Things are looking up for the GCA, and with Umesh Patwal joining the field, even better days do not seem far away.