It was an ideal Saturday morning for the 35 children waiting eagerly at Oval Maidan for their master class with former India cricketer Dilip Vengsarkar.
Some had come from as far away as Dombivli, Thane and Mulund with their parents, having secured their early bird slots at the free session as part of HT’s No TV weekend fest.
The morning began with the children being divided into four teams for a five-over match.
At 8am, Vengsarkar entered the ground to the flash of camera phones and a scramble for selfies. The children then huddled around for tips on batting stance, follow-through, and cover drives.
Question time threw up some technical surprises.
“How does one play on a fast-paced pitch,” asked one 12-year-old, prompting Vengsarkar to burst out laughing.
“You are too young to have such doubts,” the former opener said. “Just play cricket. Don’t worry about fast wicket, slow wicket, spinning wicket. Just score runs; that’s the bottom line. And enjoy the sport, whether it’s cricket or hockey or football or any other.”
Among the children this time was a lone 12-year-old girl, Tushi Shah.
“I was getting a complex from the boys today but then it went away,” she said, smiling. “Dilip Sir taught me how to hit a straight drive. I am passionate about cricket. I have been playing for years. I love Sachin Tendulkar and Mithali Raj. I do watch a lot of TV and with the IPL final taking place tomorrow I might cheat and not follow the No TV Day initiative.”
Among those who won’t be cheating are Kandivli businessman Jignesh Vyas and his son Samay, 13. “This initiative is really fun-filled,” said Jignesh. “Dilip Sir taught me how to hit drives and the cover drive is my favourite shot,” his son added.
For some the session was a morale booster too. “Cricket is my hobby but I think I might take it up professionally,” said Roshan Adal, 13, from Marine Lines. “I want to be like Sachin one day.”