Let me be honest. Shardashram Vidya Mandir (SVM) was all about cricket for some of us. Sachin, Vinod (Kambli ) and I, had specifically moved to the school to play cricket, on the advice of (Ramakant) Achrekar sir.
We were not interested in studies and it showed; Sachin averaged about 50 % in exams. We were talkative, mischievous and often got punished for throwing ink on others.
We also formed a gang in school that others were wary of. Some kids were so scared of being beaten up that they would not leave the school premises till we were gone.
Our Physical Training and Chemistry teachers were very strict, and sometimes threw a duster at us. Sachin, like any other schoolboy, would say ‘sorry’. Now the teachers proudly say they punished Sachin in school.
Sachin was very good at table tennis and whenever he had time off he used to play in the car park.
Another game we played a lot was one we called Hoppingo/Battingo — a game where one had the right to beat his mate if he didn’t say hoppingo/battingo before sitting/standing. Most of the time, I was at the receiving end. He plays the game even today with his best pals, surprising many in the dressing room.
We loved to skip classes at the pretext of playing cricket. Sharadashram used to give us leave for cricket and even if a match was to end on the first day with very less to achieve, Sachin and Vinod would bat the day out to take the game into the next day, so that we would get a full day’s leave. They’d finish the match early and we all would go for Hindi movies.
Sachin raised the toast at my wedding. While giving his speech, he said he was as nervous as he was during his Test debut. (Ricky and Sachin were back-benchers at SVM from Standard VII to X).
(As told to G Krishnan)