When I first met him in 1985, he was a young boy with a curly mop of hair.
The twelve-and-a-half-year-old Sachin Tendulkar was sent by his coach to pick a pair of ultralight cricket pads that were lying in my locker at the Cricket Club of India (CCI).
“He is so used to those pads, give him yours,” demanded his coach, the venerable Ramakant Achrekar. When Sachin arrived at my house to pick those pads, I got introduced to one of the most fascinating individuals ever to have played the game of cricket.
When, as a 13-year-old, Sachin entered the hallowed portals of CCI, we knew we were privileged to see the growth and grounding of an all-time great. There are many memories that one can recount about him from those days. The first ball he faced in the “A” Division of the Kanga League (a tournament that was played at the peak of the Mumbai monsoon) was promptly dispatched straight over the bowler’s head for a six. This, while other mortals like us struggled on a demonic pitch.
Sachin was always prepared to face up to the tremendous pressure to perform. One recalls the manager of a local team commenting about the kind of pressure he had as a 14-year-old playing among the established seniors like Sandeep Patil and Raju Kulkarni. “What pressure? I don’t feel any pressure,” countered the schoolboy with a poker face.
In the mid-90s, when India struggled against an aggressive Pakistan, Sachin had found the perfect recipe to counter them. “We must fight fire with fire,” he said with passion.
There are many stories about Sachin doing favours for his friends and fellow cricketers.
Once, when a former India Test player’s son wanted to ride in Sachin’s Ferrari, the maestro, never one to disappoint a friend, showed up at his colleague’s house in the middle of the night and took his son out for a ride.
On a personal level, Sachin has floored me with his magnanimity many times over. In 1990, a close member of my family wanted to feature Sachin in an advertisement for a shop owned by the family.
Not only did he do the advertisement but did not even charge a penny.
The writer is a former Cricket Club of India captain and Bombay University cricketer. Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.
- Tendulkar to retire after 200th Test
- 'Not a single shot he cannot play'
- Tendulkar's destiny never in doubt
- What's next for Tendulkar?
- Tendulkar's five top Test innings
- Tendulkar, a hero to a billion Indians
- Sachin Tendulkar's roll of honour
- 50,000 runs for Sachin Tendulkar
- Sachin Tendulkar: A man of many milestones