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Spine-chilling Patrick Patterson: A bustling mind under the shadows

The West Indian pacer have 93 Test wickets and 90 ODI wickets in his short span of cricketing career.

“He made a very marked impression on me on a couple of occasions where I just said, ‘well, I’ve never ever kept to anything this quick and that was Patrick Patterson!!!” Back in 2016 during a “legendary wicket-keepers dinner” organized by the Lord’s Taverner’s, Jeffrey Dujon shared a surprising statement.

For about the next few minutes, the members of the room amazed at each other wondering how could Dujon who kept all the rockets from the likes of Andy Roberts, Michael Holding to Malcolm Marshall and Curtly Ambrose, spelled out the name of Patrick Patterson!

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For a few of our ages, talking about someone who is of 20-25 years old, the name is still a wonder!! There is little amount of videos left in YouTube that displayed the fear Patterson used to crate in the batter’s mind; one video is still there if one can search where the South African batter Andrew Hudson’s bat flies out of his hand after being hit by a length delivery from Patterson.

Where is Patterson? Have you seen him in the television screen:

For few years, there were thousands of reports on his condition; some thinks that he’s lost in bush or is somewhere treating himself in an asylum or perhaps roaming in the streets like a migrant. Finally, after six years of uncountable finding in his three trips of the Caribbean, journalist Bharat Sundaresan found Patterson by the Kingston Marina in Jamaica.

“I find moving around tough and I struggle with my daily functioning.” Patterson described his post cricketing life. When Sundaresan met Patterson, the West Indian pacer walked out in a loose, long shirt with a cap and charming smile while his eyes were still running towards the batter; That was perhaps the most he smiled for a while.

It was an awkward discussion between Patterson and the journalist for the first few hours, it seemed. For all of his past cricketing incidents, it was so hard for the cricketer to realize about his Caribbean days and how he used to be a fear factor to the opposition batters.

Patterson and his own imaginary universe:

As both of them got deep into their conversation, Patterson seemed to be struggling to make a difference between his imaginary world and the reality. One moment, he informed that he had no knowledge about women’s being involved in cricket at the highest level while the very next moment, he asked why the Indian Prime Minister visited Israel after so many years.

Patterson, almost turning to 61, in his international cricketing career that spanned for about five odd years caged 93 Test scalps along with 90 One day International (ODI) wickets.

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When I first saw Patterson running throw his bowling action, I still wonder how could he bowl a ball with putting his studs pointing at the batter!

Patterson made Richie Richardson scared with his pace:

Yes, you heard it right; he made Richie Richardson scared with his express pace. Patterson, with some help from captain Clive Lloyd who noticed the special talent, went on to secure a contract with Lancashire for their 1984 season before being joining Tasmania in Sheffield Shield.

Coming back from the English season, Patterson looked more fitter and 10 feet tall with confidence. When Guyana came to play against Jamaica, they were up against a four prolonged pace side including Walsh, Holding, Patterson and Aaron Daley.

Patterson took 7/24 to blow away Guyana for 41 before Leeward Islands faced Jamaica. This time the opponents had the world batting swagger, Vivian Richards and the king Richie Richardson. Patterson ended with a figure of 7/45 in the game.

These records had the stumps of Richardson in both innings. You don’t really sense the fear of batting in the minds of these West Indian legends but on that day, one could smelt fear in Richie’s mind. It felt like he wanted a helmet to save his bones and all the parts of his body but his ego didn’t let him in do so.

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Facing dreadful Patterson in Gooch’s eyes:

Next in line were England, who toured during the 1985-86 season. Well, one could argue saying that it was their misfortune of hearing the alarm of Patterson for the very first time. And the man, Graham Gooch, a highly regarded and skilled opener for England, recounted the story.

“At that point, for the first and I think only time, I began saying to myself, ‘Graham, it might be doing yourself a favor if you out, this boy Patterson is really firing and it could get very nasty indeed.”  Gooch wrote in his autobiography. “If you don’t watch it, you could be hit very badly.”

Gooch extended saying that it was the only time he sensed of getting hurt at the crease. Even before Patterson was into his delivery stride, Gooch found himself crouching very low with his bent knees.

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Patterson, new into the circuit was still trying to make an impression and picking up his reputation for his electrical pace. Malcolm Marshall, who was the leader of the pace attack had little idea on the speed of Patterson.

Suddenly, people putting their whole attention on the radio heard, the great West Indian commentator, the late Tony Cozier, expressing that Patrick Patterson was bowling a cricket ball as fast as a man ever has in the middle of Sabina Park, Kington. No wonder that Patterson, the man of the match with 7/74 in the game, packed touring England side for 159 & 152.

You, you, you. I’ll kill you all”- Patterson to Australia:

Patterson was going through a great time making life so tough to spend with his skill of developing express pace. When he flied to Australia for the 1988-’89 series, he was treated during his batting time with close in fielders were putting some words on his ears with number of short pitched deliveries coming at him.

When the West Indies innings was wrapped up, Patterson after taking off his playing kits rushed to the opponents dressing room at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). The whole room went silent right after watching Patterson who pointed his finger at some of the batters saying, “You, you, you, you. I’ll kill you all tomorrow.” Needless to say, Patterson with figures of 5/39 shot out the Aussies for just 114.

However, none of these incidents seemed to be able to hoist a flag in his mind. At last, after trying hard for so many years, he found a torn page of the memory book. “I can remember the atmosphere at that match; it was electrifying, like a Test atmosphere.” Patterson spoke to Sundaresan in the interview.

Debate on cricket’s future having salt on the wounded place

When a young Ian Bishop discovered spark in Patterson’s bowling:

“There are more guys these bowling nearer the high end but I struggle to think anyone bowling faster than Patrick Patterson.” Ian Bishop briefed out in an interview with Harsha Bhogle in a Cricbuzz show.

The way he used to show his studs of the shoes to the batters during his run up is still a mystery; It felt so awkward as a batter tapping the bat in the middle and looking up just to watch a guy bowling with that action. “It was natural.” Patterson laughed in that famous interview. “But after a point, only the foot was going higher and higher; everything in my life was going the other way.”

There was a fearsome story that might have made the batters literally say no about facing Patterson had they known it before. Bishop was playing his second season of the first-class cricket when Trinidad and Jamaica met each other at Sabina Park. The ground was of red clay and there was a hump in the middle which made the bowlers jumped over it during bowling.

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Patterson in those days used to have the metal toe guards. “Me as a 20-year-old sitting in the dressing room watching as kid, every time he got through his bowling action, the toe guard on his right boot spark.” Bishop shared his fearsome experience about Patterson, who doesn’t use to smile a lot with his face that had the middle tooth missing. “Literally small fire coming off the friction of the toe guard hitting the pitch and you could see all the spikes of his left boot just prior to delivery.”

What’s the current and future life is spending for Patterson:

All of his intimating action along with an angry face and the pace; it was near to air. For him, the cricketing days had been over since that time he left the team. Rambo, as Jamaicans used to call Patterson, recalled how he used to love playing against India too. When he came to know about his good friend, Mohammad Azharuddin, Patterson went in disbelief.

His recollection of his early days in cricket is rather vivid as he recalled having caught a fancy for cricket watching his villagers in Portland, where he used to stay.

He seemed to love his new life lot more and with time, he has mixed his days with it. Just like any other jolly, old guy, enjoying his retired life with some fishes at the port with a bottle of beer.

From the days of being in a expressive speed, Patterson have been lost in his own shadow.

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