Sachin Tendulkar’s brother Ajit revealed on Thursday that the champion batsman’s batting position — No. 4 — was decided by famous coach Ramakant Achrekar.
“I was a great fan of Gundappa Viswanath, but my elder brother (Nitin) and sister (Savita) admired Sunil Gavaskar’s batting. So when Achrekar sir decided on No. 4 for Sachin, I felt I had won a battle,” said Ajit at Sachin Tendulkar’s induction into the Legend’s Club as its fifth member on his 41st birthday.
The other four are Mulvantrai Himmatlal ‘Vinoo’ Mankad, Vijay Merchant, Capt. Vijay Hazare and Gavaskar.
Mankad’s 97th birth anniversary (April 12) was also celebrated by the club members at the C.K. Nayudu Hall, Cricket Club of India on Thursday.
Recalling Sachin’s nascent days Ajit said: “I cannot revive memories of all the best shots Sachin has played during his formative years, but I remember this particular six he hit off fast bowler Pradeep Sundaram. Sachin was only 14 and he had a very ordinary physique, but he was able to hit a straight six clearing about 90 yards at the Brabourne Stadium in a Kanga League match between CCI and Rajasthan Club. It was an amazing and memorable shot. It was a fantastic journey for three or four years as a junior cricketer. It was a short time, but he took a very long jump during this period leading to his selection for the tour of Pakistan.”
Thanking the club to include Sachin in the Legends Club pantheon of Merchant, Hazare, Mankad and Gavaskar, Ajit said: “The five legends have given tremendous joy and this is a nice way to express one’s feelings for them. Sachin’s formative years were full of excitement every evening and we (the Tendulkar family) got to hear exciting things of him.”
When Madhav Apte, President, Legend’s Club, asked if Sachin ever believed in astrology or superstition or if an astrologer predicted that Tendulkar would become a great cricketer, Ajit said: “My grandfather was an astrologer, but he died and we did not cast a horoscope for Sachin.
“Even today we don’t have a horoscope for Sachin. And our family did not involve Sachin in superstitions. I believe in astrology, but wanting to know your future and astrology are different things.
“A palmist wanted to see his hands at a WorldTel function. I told Sachin it was not necessary and the astrologer also respected Sachin’s decision.”
It was the late Raj Singh Dungarpur and Apte who decided to make Tendulkar a playing member of the CCI when the club rules stated that under-18s are not permitted to enter the club house.
“Both were in the CCI Committee and Raj said there are rules, but Sachin needs to be admitted as a playing member and I said rules are meant to be bent; that’s how Sachin was made a playing member when he was probably 16. It was in the 1950s that Vijay Hazare and Subhash Gupte were made the first playing members of the club.’’