By CricketCountry Staff
Mumbai: Nov 3, 2011
India’s premier batsman, Sachin Tendulkar, said that to have the top players playing Ranji Trophy is an additional bonus and believes that the domestic tournament plays a big role in developing a young cricketer.
Tendulkar himself made his debut for Mumbai at a tender age of 15 and became the only player to score a century in all three of his Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy and Irani Trophy debuts.
Tendulkar believes that the Ranji Trophy reflects the best of Indian cricket, “The competition is fierce and that is how it should be. You’ve got to have good tracks to play on and good opposition to play against. That’s what raises the standard of playing. If somebody performs well against a good opposition, then that performance has to be recognised. I’m sure the selectors are trying their best to watch most of the matches. To have the top players playing this tournament is always an additional bonus,” said Tendulkar in an interview to BCCI’s official website.
“I think Ranji Trophy is an extremely important tournament. I remember in my case, when I was part of the Mumbai Ranji Trophy squad, we had possibly seven or eight Test players and to rub shoulders with the likes of Dilip Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri, Sanjay Manjrekar, Lalchand Rajput, Chandrakant Pandit, Raju Kulkarni, Suru Nayak, all these top players, it was a great opportunity for me to learn at such an early age. I thoroughly enjoyed my season. I was only 15 then but it was great fun to be part of that team.”
Tendulkar also believes that the young batting stars of Mumbai, like Rohit Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane, have it in them to carry forward Mumbai’s legacy. Mumbai have won the Ranji trophy a record 39 times, With a number of great Indian batsmen including Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Ravi Shastri, Sanjay Manjrekar and Tendulkar himself representing them with great success.
“Yes, we do have very good players. We have players who have delivered. We’ve won the Ranji Trophy so that itself is a clear indication that the team is performing. In the current lot, we have some promising players and in the years to come they will be recognised as great players.”
Tendulkar's International duties meant he was away from playing for Mumbai consistently. He has had some memorable innings against his name including a double hundred, his first in first-class cricket, against Australia in 1998. When asked to pick his favourite innings for Mumbai, Tendulkar singled out his innings of 233 in the semi-final against Tamil Nadu in the 1999-2000 season.
“We chased 484 runs and the funny thing was, we had to score 42 runs with only two wickets in hand. I ended up scoring those 42 runs and Nos. 10 and 11 both scored zero. The competition was so fierce and intense, I didn’t realise that both batsmen [No. 10 and No. 11] hadn’t scored a single run. It got to that moment where we scored the winning run and my reaction said it all. That has to be my favourite moment.”