Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here

Home > Features >

Memories of Sachin Tendulkar before he became a star

Memories of Sachin Tendulkar’s before he became a star

Sachin Tendulkar © Getty Images

The first time I watched him in action was on the New Year’s Day in 1989 when he turned up for Mumbai against Baroda at Thane’s Dadoji Konddev Stadium. It was his first season of First-Class cricket, but he was already famous for his world record partnership with Vinod Kambli.

Most of the crowd at the stadium was there to catch a glimpse of the one who was touted to be India’s next superstar — this in the stone age of TV coverage. It was mostly articles in vernacular newspapers and one quality Marathi sports weekly called Ekach Shatkar (The Only Sixer) that talked about him and his potential. But I still remember this tremendous buzz created in the local cricketing circles. It seemed that the search for the next Mumbai batting successor to Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar was over.
 
He got a raucous reception from the crowd when he walked into bat. The unmistakable pride and hope of the Mumbai cricket fan was apparent. And this was for a 17-year-old who had done nothing much in life till then. The teenager managed to generate a sense of excitement just by walking on to the pitch right since that time.
 
He played a couple of handsome shots and then got caught by the wicket-keeper. His innings was over — and so was the crowd’s enthusiasm. The match petered out into a dull draw the next day and the spectators had disappeared much before that as Baroda was supposed to bat in the next innings. But the first connection with this kid was made — the feeling and the pride in the fact that he was one of us. The Mumbai fans wholeheartedly adopted him as their favourite son since then, or, maybe, even a bit earlier.
 
The next time I saw him in person was at the Wankhede during the India-West Indies semi-finals of the Nehru Cup. The only other thing I remember about that match is Ajay Sharma‘s stumps broken into two by a Winston Benjamin yorker. Coming to the more important things, a friend had managed to get a couple of pavilion passes for the match. Now pavilion passes at Wankhede are not to be taken lightly. You can get a Vijay Merchant Stand or a Garware Pavilion even, but a Divecha Stand pass for us those days was equivalent to a Wimbledon finals ticket!
 
All the excitement of watching a big match live from a great location was instantly dissipated as Krishnamachari Srikkanth was run out even before we entered the stands. There was plenty of time to take in our surroundings as the Indian batting was nothing much to look at. Then I zeroed in this group of youngsters who were obviously First-Class cricketers as they were sitting there in their whites chatting and joking among themselves. It was the who’s who of Mumbai cricket’s future that time — Sachin Tendulkar, Vinod Kambli, Jatin Paranjpe were all there. To most other spectators they were just a bunch of youngsters and no one even gave the group a second glance. Or maybe that’s how the snobbish crowd in Divecha Stand behaved normally. I wasn’t going to be a part of that.
 
I wasn’t carrying an autograph book, nor was I bold enough to go and ask for an autograph. So I caught hold of a kid, told him who those guys were and using understated psychological warfare egged him on to go and get an autograph from Tendulkar. The problem of paper was solved by those complimentary cardboard caps given at the entrance, which anyways fail miserably in their primary role of protecting one against the sun. Tendulkar obviously wasn’t really used to autograph hunters then as a look of fleeting surprise crossed his face when the kid went up to him. I am not prepared to swear on oath because an intelligent criminal lawyer can prove me wrong, but I think Tendulkar then had signed with his right hand.
 
I wish I could say that I still have got that autograph, but I can’t. That cap got lost in the ravages of time. Today I have lost a part of something far more important to the same ravages of time. Time and tide wait for none, they say. One man defied it for a brief while. That man is deified by billions. He has given up his fight and agreed to write off a part of his kingdom. I, for one, am not shedding any tears. Somehow, somewhere he has touched a lot of Indians’ life and therein lies his true legacy. And three cheers to that. Even the crowd in the Divecha Stands will join the chorus.

(Rahul Namjoshi, an utter failure as an MBA, has no published novel to boast of and hence trying the next best thing – blogging. There, too, the results there aren’t too encouraging. Rahul pens his thoughts on the game in a blog called “Not Cricket”)

Read all related stories to Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 17, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Sharjah

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 18, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 18, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Abu Dhabi

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Dubai

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 19, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Dubai

More

Indian T20 League 2014

Apr 16, 2014  at Abu Dhabi

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 41 runs

Womens World T20, 2014

Apr 6, 2014  at Dhaka

Australia Women won by 6 wkts

T20 WC 2014

Apr 6, 2014  at Dhaka

Sri Lanka won by 6 wkts

Womens World T20, 2014

Apr 4, 2014  at Dhaka

England Women won by 9 wkts

T20 WC 2014

Apr 4, 2014  at Dhaka

India won by 6 wkts

Photos

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge play cricket

Videos

Prince William, Kate Middleton meet McGrath, Ellyse

Delhi Daredevils vs Royal Challengers Bangalore IPL 2014 Preview: RCB have advantage over DD sans Kevin Pietersen

Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2014 will look to keep integrity intact, says Shane Watson

IPL 2014: Life after Sachin Tendulkar

IPL 2014: Top 10 Indian youngsters to watch out for

IPL: What value does a franchisee owner bring to the side by sitting in the dugout?

Australia BCCI England India IPL IPL 7 IPL 2014 Kolkata Knight Riders Lasith Malinga Moments in history Mumbai Indians Mumbai Indians vs Kolkata Knight Riders Rohit Sharma Sachin Tendulkar

IPL 7: Mumbai Indians have lot to learn after defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders, says Rohit Sharma

IPL 2014: Kolkata Knight Riders can win most matches if batsmen put up big score, says Gautam Gambhir

IPL 2014 partners with Twitter to bring real-time experience to fans

Sunil Narine, Jacques Kallis star in Kolkata Knight Riders’ 41-run victory against Mumbai Indians in IPL 2014

Mumbai Indians (MI) vs Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), IPL 2014: Mumbai Indians 113/5 in 18 overs

IPL 2014: Begins yet another Controversy Premier League

Rajasthan Royals in IPL 2014 will look to keep integrity intact, says Shane Watson

IPL 2014: Life after Sachin Tendulkar

IPL 2009: Looking at events that led to T20 extravaganza being held in South Africa

IPL 2014: Top 10 Indian youngsters to watch out for

Fan of the Day

Suraj Gowda

Suraj Gowda

622 Posts | 7 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli's 77 during India vs Sri Lanka ICC World T20 2014 final at Dhaka

Know your medical terms: Edema

Confident of Congress` victory: Sachin Pilot

Maharashtra votes for 19 Lok Sabha seats in second phase

West Bengal: First phase of Lok Sabha elections 2014 begins

IPL 2014: How does the umpire cam work?

Even the best bowlers bowl a non-ball: Amit Shah on Election Commission ruling

Stay healthy with these 8 summer foods (Gallery)

IPL 7: Mumbai Indians have lot to learn after defeat against Kolkata Knight Riders, says Rohit Sharma

Also on cricketcountry.com