Citing his own example, the legendary Sunil Gavaskar on Saturday stressed the importance of club cricket and called it "life and soul" of the sport.
"Club cricket is the life and soul of cricket and everybody comes up from club cricket," Gavaskar said after inaugurating the Hemant Waigankar Study Room of Dadar Parsi Zoroastrian Cricket Club in Matunga in Central Mumbai.
" Today when a cricketer becomes big, it is only because of club cricket. If club cricket is not there, he (the player) won't become big, we all started (in the same way)," Gavaskar said addressing a group of budding cricketers in the same premises where he played for his club Dadar Union.
"Even I started in the same way. After school, I played for the Club (Dadar Union), then when I made runs in the Club, I got a chance to go ahead, as the selection committee understood that he made runs. I will only tell you that, play matches passionately, as you have to win, but play with happiness," the veteran of 125 Tests said.
Gavaskar also advised young cricketers to play the game in fair manner.
"This game of cricket also teaches us that we need to win, in a fair manner. There is no benefit in cheating as you will be caught sometime. Take pleasure of cricket and that happiness will help you improve your game."
Gavaskar also attended the prize distribution of Kalpesh Govind Kohli Memorial Cricket Tournament and narrated anecdotes of the 1971 tour to the West Indies, where he played under Ajit Wadekar.
He narrated the famous anecdote where Wadekar locked him inside a bathroom so that the great Garfield Sobers was unable to touch him and was dismissed early.