When Sachin Tendulkar wrote a long emotional note on a cricketer friend who died 20 years ago

The letter showed that Sachin Tendulkar has a big emotional side to him © PTI

By Jaideep Sarin

Chandigarh: Nov 13, 2013

Having achieved in the field of cricket what even dream merchants would fumble to sell, batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar not only remained grounded — both on and off the cricket field — but also showed that he has a big emotional side to him.

Tendulkar, on a tour of South Africa with the Indian cricket team in 2011, was approached by an official of the Punjab Cricket Association (PCA) to write his comment on a young, budding cricketer whose life, and a promising career, was cut short by his death in a road accident near Ambala in Haryana in January 1992.

The player, Dhruv Pandove, was a contemporary of Tendulkar when Sachin’s international career was quite young. After participating in a national cricket tournament, Dhruv was returning home in Punjab’s Patiala town when his car met with an accident.

Dhruv, son of cricket administrator MP Pandove, had in 1992 become the youngest player to score 1,000 runs in domestic cricket at the age of 17 years and 341 days. His century in Srinagar in 1988 came at the age of only 14 years and 294 days.

The PCA, which started an all-India under-19 invitation tournament in Dhruv’s memory last year (2012), approached Tendulkar for his comments on Dhruv — almost 20 years after the budding cricketer died.

Having known Dhruv closely during his early cricketing days, Tendulkar responded with a long emotional note.

“Dhruv had a wonderful future as a cricketer ahead of him which was evident from the very many feats that he achieved during his short career. He was a fantastic left hander with a lot of talent and class. As a left-handed batman and a leg-break googly bowler, he achieved dizzy heights not achieved by any one of his age. He became the youngest player to complete 1,000 runs in Ranji Trophy,” Tendulkar wrote.

Describing Dhruv as “my young friend”, Tendulkar pointed out that Dhruv had a promising career ahead. “It is only a matter of conjecture as to what records Dhruv would have set if fate had not intervened to cut his budding career short.”

“Dhruv and I spent many wonderful hours together on and off the field and he had a subtle sense of humour and its timing would send everyone around into peels of laughter. His genial demeanour as a class cricketer and amiable human being made him a popular figure amongst his team mates.”

“I had the occasion of attending a month-long camp for Under-15 boys with him in Indore. Our commitment to the game can be judged from the fact that we would play cricket in the corridor of our rooms even after dinner at 10.00 p.m. In retrospect, I think my association with Dhruv in my earlier cricketing days has a lot of bearing on my eventual success in the International arena,” Tendulkar wrote.

Chandigarh-based PCA official Sushil Kapoor, who met Tendulkar for the first time in 1992 here and has been local manager and coordinator for visiting national sides, said: “Many people told me that Sachin must have forgotten him (Dhruv) and he would be too busy to reply. But all our apprehensions proved wrong as Sachin sent an elaborate mail from South Africa while on the tour.”

The gesture from Tendulkar – considered the god of cricket by millions and who hangs his boots from the most illustrious cricketing career in the world next week — left PCA officials here floored, and moved.