‘Asked Kapil, Arshad, Maninder, Chetan to bowl at him’: When 15-year-old Sachin Tendulkar left Dilip Vengsarkar impressed
Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar recalls his first meeting with a 15-year-old Tendulkar during a Test match in Mumbai in New Zealand back in November 1988.Updated: Jun 13, 2020 09:13 IST
There is, perhaps, no bigger name in the world of cricket than Sachin Tendulkar. The India batting legend started his international career at the age of 16, and slowly, and steadily went up the ranks to become one of the bests in the world. Tendulkar’s numbers reflect why he is still regarded as the ‘God of Cricket’. In 200 Tests, the batsman scored 15,921 runs at an average of 53.8. He also scored 51 centuries in the process. In 463 ODIs, he scored 18,426 runs at an average of 44.8 and 49 hundreds.
But one might wonder how was Sachin like at the start of his career? Former India captain Dilip Vengsarkar recalls his first meeting with a 15-year-old Tendulkar during a Test match in Mumbai in New Zealand back in November 1988.
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“’Actually, I had heard about Sachin because he was scoring heavily inter-school matches. These tournaments are 100 years old have given a lot of cricketers for Mumbai and for India,” Vengsarkar said in a Facebook Live video interview with Sportskeeda.
“At the time I was India’s captain, and I was about to play my 100th Test match against New Zealand in Mumbai. We were practicing there. Our coach Vasudev Paranjpe was very impressed with Sachin, and he said, ‘look at this boy, he’s an exceptional talent’. I told him ‘I can look at him later, not now’. But he insisted,” the former batsman recalled.
“So he got him on the ground, so I had to see him bat at the nets. I requested Kapil Dev, Arshad Ayub, Maninder Singh, Chetan Sharma to bowl to him. They were like ‘what is this thing like. Why should we bowl to an U-15 kid’,” Vengsarkar said with a laugh.
“So I told them he has been scoring runs in school tournaments, so we have to see him how we bats. So he batted. Hats off to those bowlers, they were established cricketers, but still they said they will bowl for a while. But Sachin was so impressive, he played so well,” he recalled.
Vengsarkar further recalled that on the same evening, he suggested the Bombay (now Mumbai) team selection committee to pick Tendulkar in the 15-man squad. “The same evening, we had a selection meeting to pick the Bombay team. I attended the meeting. I told them about Sachin. ‘I just saw him bat, he’s very good. So, pick him in the 15-member squad’.
“They said ‘it’s too early for him. If he gets injured, we will be blamed. So we will wait for a while’. I said you keep him in the 15-member squad so that he is around the team and can learn the atmosphere of the team’,” he recalled.
Vengsarkar added that Tendulkar started seizing opportunities as and when they came his way and he made it to the Indian team by the next year. “In Duleep Trophy, he got a hundred. In Irani Trophy, he got a hundred. Then we went to Pakistan in 1989, and there came Sachin Tendulkar, and the rest is history,” he said.