And there's Sachin

The birth of greatness Former colleagues are all praise for him

The birth of greatness Former colleagues are all praise for him  

LEGENDS Twenty years after his Ranji debut, former team mates reminisce about the master blaster

S achin Tendulkar was at Gymkhana Grounds in Hyderabad in 1990 to play in the Moin-ud-Dowla Gold Cup invitation tournament. Those who interacted with Sachin then can still recall the traits which were so discernible.

Sachin came for his second Ranji match to Hyderabad by train from Mumbai led by Dilip Vengsarkar. “The entire team was received at Nampally Railway Station. He was too young and looked like a school kid in that team,” recalls E. Gopal of Telecom who was a regular in receiving any visiting teams in those days, when mobile phones had not made an apperance.

Former India left-arm spinner S.L. Venkatapathi Raju says that when he first played against Sachin in a Ranji match at Gymkhana in 1988-89, his initial impression was Sachin was overrated.

“But, when Vengsarkar surprised us by sending Sachin as night watchman on a turning track and the way he batted with such ease, then we realised that we were up against a genius in the making,” he explains. Talking about the Napier Test in New Zealand in 1990, Raju says, “I remember Sachin hitting a four, running all-four off successive balls off Danny Morrison. Then, we had a word in the middle but unfortunately he got out in the same over after making 80,” recalls Raju. “I feel sad that I missed a chance to be part of another piece of history in the company of this great cricketer, he remarked.

BCCI vice-president and former Test cricketer Shivlal Yadav says he never ever had an iota of doubt about Sachin's greatness since he first saw him in 1988-89 season. “Some people are born to be great and in the world of sport, Sachin is surely one of them. What is amazing is his commitment in the nets even now having played for 20 years of international cricket. I had not seen anyone with such intensity in preparations,” he says.

Former international umpire Ivaturi Sivaram also has a memorable experience. “Once I declared him lbw in a Challenger Trophy match. My son (Karthik) called up and told me not to come home. His reasoning was how could I give Sachin out,” recalls the highly-rated umpire. “When I told the great batsman about this brief chat, he immediately took out a T-shirt for my son. And, it remains one of the priceless souvenirs at our home,” says a proud Sivaram.


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