Dilip Vengsarkar, the former Indian captain, recalled his first meeting with a 15-year-old Sachin Tendulkar in Mumbai during New Zealand's tour of India. He has revealed that he asked veteran Indian all-rounder Kapil Dev and established Indian bowlers Arshad Ayub, Maninder Singh and Chetan Sharma to bowl to him at the time.
“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.
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“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.
Vengsarkar went on to add that he made the case for Tendulkar's inclusion in the 15-member squad for the Bombay Ranji team after watching him bat against the Indian pacers. (ALSO READ: What's in Virat's mind? Indian captain poses in thoughtful mood)
“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.
“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.
Tendulkar is widely regarded as one of the greatest batsmen to ever play the game. He holds the record for most number of runs in Tests and ODIs, as well as most centuries in both the formats. He is only the only player to have scored 100 international centuries - 29 more than the second-placed Ricky Ponting.
In a career which spanned 24 years, Tendulkar represented India in 463 ODIs, 200 Tests and one T20I.