by Avinash Khandekar
(Nasik, Maharashtra State, India)
Sachin Tendulkar: Age 15
The story is very old, some 25 years ago some where in 1986-87 and the Ranji Trophy season was on.
The young boy of 14 – 15 years, a sensation in Mumbai cricketing world called Sachin Tendulkar was representing Bombay’s fancied team along with the other test players like Ravi Shastri, Chandrakant Pandit, Parkar brothers and so on.
The semi finals clash was scheduled at Wankhede Stadium of Mumbai against their arch rivals,the Delhi team with players like Madanlal Sharma, Atul Vasan and Maninder Singh.
The event was witnessed by a capacity crowd in the east stand where I was sitting watching the nail biting match unfold. The 4th day, post lunch session was dramatic as the Bombay team needing over 500 runs in the 4th innings were restricted to some 275 runs with 4 of their recognized batsmen back in the pavilion.
3 of their wickets were claimed by the wily left arm orthodox spinner Maninder Singh. At the fall of the 4th wicket there was thunderous applause as the little boy made an entry towards the pitch.
Among thousands of spectators I was also waiting eagerly to see the little champion in action. Sachin settled down quickly and was facing both the spin and the pace attack with immaculate ease. He was stroking the ball all over the ground and the runs were starting to flow freely.
The crowd were cheering his every run and applauded his every stroke to the fence with tremendous noise. The Bombay total was nearing the 400 mark, but in the process another 3 wickets had fallen and Maninder Singh was the destroyer.
Sachin soon completed his half century and suddenly a man possessing a garland in his hand started climbing the chain-link fencing. On seeing the garland the crowd went crazy, however, a policeman was not impressed and he along with the Police Inspector caught his leg to prevent him entering the playing arena.
People in the crowd went down to his rescue and informed the police,” Inspector don’t stop, let him go”. The security people sensing the mob mentality obliged. The man with the garland with a laugh on his face, entered the ground.
Maninder was approaching his bowling mark and Sachin was at the non strikers end, both of them were bewildered to see a stranger in between them and the Umpire was confused to see him so near.
The east stand crowd were clapping and shouting and waiting for the moment.
All of a sudden the stadium was in silence and the hands which were in clapping mood were turned to fists. The man had garlanded the Delhi spinner Maninder against the expectation of the capacity crowd.
The man hurried back towards the east stand raising his left hand and spinning the way a left hand bowler bowls. As he was climbing the fence the alert police force gathered to catch him for the violation of rules, the crowd had other ideas though.
Again they requested the Inspector not to catch him and instead they caught him.
It took a lot of time for the police personnel to remove the man from the heap of garbage which was poured on him.
The Mumbai crowd is very sporting, but that particular moment they were neither bothered about the result of the match nor the skill of any other player.
Every one was appreciating the batting skill of a great genius of the game and now the “God of Indian Cricket”.
The cost of the garland, a bag of rubbish.
About Richard Pybus
I'm Richard Pybus, I've coached Pakistan, Bangladesh, Middlesex, Titans and the Cape Cobras in South Africa and the goal of this site is to help you to play winning cricket.