Dilip Vengsarkar highlighted Sachin Tendulkar as a role model for Mumbai's junior cricketers to emulate when giving away the Sportstar Trophy cricket tournament awards at the C.K. Nayudu Hall, Cricket Club of India here on Thursday.

The best of city's under-19 talent listened to the former India captain.

“Sachin Tendulkar's dedication and discipline make him a great example for all of you to emulate. After achieving so much in world cricket, he can be seen at the BKC training for five hours whenever he is in Mumbai,” Vengsarkar said.

Exceptional talent

Tendulkar had earned the Player-of-the-Tournament award at the Sportstar Trophy's first tournament in 1987. “Tendulkar played the event as a 12-year-old. Polly Umigar was the selector then.

“Hats off to the selectors for their judgement and guts then. Tendulkar was, of course, an exceptional talent,” said Vengsarkar.

“When I was 11, I saw the match between Mumbai and Bengal. That was the Ranji final. I remember each and every ball that day, watched one of my heroes Ajit Wadekar bat. Eknath Solkar had lost his father then, he went for the funeral and came back to the stadium to help Mumbai score the 80-odd runs required for victory.”

BCCI Chief Administrative Officer Ratnakar Shetty and MCA Joint Hon Secretary Lalchand Rajput also spoke about Sportstar's connection with Mumbai's junior cricket.

The Hindu Group deserves congratulations for coming forward to support Mumbai cricket via the Sportstar Trophy and sustain it for 25 years. It is easy to start something, but tough to sustain,” said Shetty.

“The Sportstar Trophy started at a time when paper selection was happening in Mumbai cricket. Now selection is done on the basis of performances in competitive games,” he said.

Strong foundation

Rajput remarked: “Mumbai cricket's asset is its bench strength. We have a strong foundation at the junior levels across various age groups U-19, U-22 and U-14.

“I feel proud that Mumbai players stand out even when they go out to play outside, with people trying to follow them.”

Vengsarkar, Shetty and Rajput praised Vinod Vasudeo for running the event in a tireless and wonderful manner. K. Balaji, The Hindu Group's Managing Director, spoke on the group's passion for supporting sport over several decades.

No commercial interest

“There is no commercial interest in cricket sponsorship from our side. The intention behind the Sportstar Trophy is purely the cause of sport.

“Our association with cricket gets highlighted, the group also supports other sports like chess, hockey and horse racing,” he said, singling out cricket writer Makarand Waingankar's role in starting the Sportstar Trophy.

V. Kalidas, The Hindu Group's Vice-President (Advertising), proposed a vote of thanks. Bapu Nadkarni, former India all-rounder and a respected name in Mumbai cricket, was also felicitated.

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