When Raj Singh Dungarpur asked Sachin Tendulkar to concentrate on Class X exams
Raj Singh Dungarpur once told Sachin Tendulkar to focus on his examinations and that his time in the Indian cricket team will come.cricket Updated: Sep 23, 2017 09:55 IST
The late Raj Singh Dungarpur was not just instrumental in shaping Sachin Tendulkar’s cricketing career he also influenced his personality development.
When Dungarpur passed away in 2009, Tendulkar had urged the Cricket Club of India to name the gate after the former Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief. On the occasion of the inauguration of the Dungarpur gate at CCI, Tendulkar recalled the bonding he shared with the former chairman of selectors.
While Tendulkar remained in reckoning for the Indian team for the West Indies series, he received a sound advice from Dungarpur. “I got selected for the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team and at that time coincidentally Raj bhai was the chairman of the selection committee, and I had scored runs.
“My first season of Ranji Trophy was successful and there were as usual discussions whether Sachin would go to the West Indies or not. So, Raj bhai came to me when I was playing the Ranji semi-final at the Wankhede Stadium against Delhi.
“I had scored runs in the first innings and Raj bhai walked up to me and said, ‘I will tell you one thing that you will not go to West Indies, you focus on this match and if you get a chance to play in the final then score there and after that you are focusing on SSC exams’. I was in the 10th standard.
“‘You are not going to West Indies but let (me) also assure you that if you continue to play like this that day is not too far’. His words came true and I played for India in November the same year,” Tendulkar recalled.
It is now part of cricketing folklore that Dungarpur bent the rules to allow Tendulkar enter the Cricket Club of India (CCI) dressing room at the age of 14. “The first time Raj bhai saw me was when I was 13-14, I had scored some runs against CCI (while) I was playing for Shivaji Park Youngsters.
“Once my name was recommended to Raj bhai, he told me to come and play for CCI. He bent all possible rules and allowed me to get in the dressing room at the age of 14,” said Tendulkar.
Tendulkar was also grateful to Dungarpur for providing him opportunities to play overseas despite financial constraints. “There were occasions when I had to go on foreign tours and one did not have deep pockets then… Raj bhai was instrumental in getting sponsors to make sure that I get that experience.
“I went to London a couple of times and after that the encouragement continued. Raj bhai, to all youngsters, was no less than a Guru. Raj bhai was the heart of CCI. He was the life of CCI and naming this gate after him is the biggest tribute to him as that’s where all cricketers enter the ground,” Tendulkar said.