"Sachin is too big for everyone," said former India cricket captain-turned-commentator Sourav Ganguly in December 2012 when there was talk about Sachin Tendulkar retiring from one-day cricket. "He has the ability and the right to call the shots," Ganguly added.
Patil apparently told Tendulkar that the selectors couldn't guarantee him a place in the team. The former India middle-order blaster said that the selectors would not drop the little maestro but it would be difficult to pick him in the team since the selectors had one eye on the 2015 World Cup.
In the six months since he has been head of the national selection panel, Patil has shown that he cares for celebrity as much as he cared for the reputation of bowlers when he was a batsman.
Sehwag's form in Test matches has been really poor - in the last eight Test matches he has scored only 338 runs at an average of 22. His opening partner Gautam Gambhir has been on the wane as well for the last three years. In his last 26 Tests Gambhir, hasn't made a century and has scored about 1,300 runs at an average of 31.91.
Even picking Shikhar Dhawan - a talented opener who has been knocking on the door of the team - was a bold move. Dhawan has been given chances in the ODI and T20 team in the last two years but has never nailed down his spot. But he scored a swashbuckling century in the third Test against Australia which more or less has sealed Sehwag's fate.
Patil took over as chairman of selectors in September 2012, having been chairman of the National Cricket Academy for two years prior to that. Patil isn't afraid to ruffle the feathers as he showed at a T20 match between India and England in December 2012 in Pune.
Patil's selectorial pragmatism was foreshadowed by his attitude as a batsman. Who can forget his 174 against Australia at Adelaide in 1981 against an attack that had a roaring Dennis Lille in his prime? In the previous Test, Patil had suffered concussions after being hit on the head by a bouncer. But he didn't let reputations come in the way of what he had to do on the pitch. Just as when he coached the unfancied Kenyan team to the semi-finals of the Cricket World Cup in 2003.
The long drawn out melodrama of celebrity cricketers painfully prolonging their careers beyond their sell-by date because no one had the stomach to throw them out seems to have come to end under Sandeep Patil. And that cannot be too bad for Indian cricket.