By SamudranilNovember 12, 2013
Sachin Tendulkar was born on April 23, 1973 at the Nirmal Nursing Home in Dadar, Mumbai. His father was one of the most famous novelists of Maharashtra, Ramesh Tendulkar, and his mother Rajni was an insurance professional. His father named Sachin after Sachin Dev Burman who happened to be his favorite music director. He was the youngest among 4 siblings – elder brothers Nitin and Ajit and elder sister Savita.
The first few years of Sachin’s life were spent at the Sahitya Sahawas Cooperative Housing Society in Bandra East. As a young kid Sachin was completely opposite to how he is nowadays – at school he was not averse to picking a fight or two against children who had come there for the first time and this led him to be regarded as a bully of sorts.
In his teens Sachin was a big fan of John McEnroe, one of the prominent tennis stars from the US who was also known for his fits of temper. Ajit decided to do away with the bullying and mischievous nature of Sachin and so he introduced him to cricket during 1984. He took Sachin to Ramakant Achrekar, who was one of the most well known club cricketers of his time as well as a top coach. He used to teach at Shivaji Park, Dadar.
Achrekar liked what we saw with the young Sachin and asked him to change his school to Sharadashram Vidyamandir (English) High School, which was located in Dadar itself. The school was a top name in local cricketing circles and had gifted many famous cricketers at that time. Before this, Sachin had been studying at the Indian Education Society’s New English School in Bandra East.
The cricketing journey starts
Achrekar started by coaching Sachin in the mornings before school and in the evenings after his school got over. Tendulkar used to practice for hours at end and whenever he became tired Achrekar used to place a one rupee coin at the top of his stumps. The condition was that Sachin could keep them if he did not get out and Sachin collected 13 coins this way, which he still regards as being among his most treasured possessions. It was at this time that he decided to stay with his uncle and aunt who lived close to Shivaji Park in order to deal with a tiring schedule.
Sachin – the child prodigy
At school Sachin was regarded as a child prodigy and was a common point of discussion in the cricketing circles of Mumbai. He was a constant feature for his school team in the well known Matunga Gujarati Seva Mandal Shield. Along with school cricket, Sachin made his mark in club cricket as well with appearances at the prestigious Kanga League. His first club was the John Bright Cricket Club and then he switched to the Cricket Club of India (CCI).
Sachin attended the MRF Pace Foundation in Madras at the age of 14 so that he could train and become a fast bowler. However, Dennis Lillee who was heading the proceedings was not impressed at the least by the young kid and asked him to focus on his batting instead. It was during this time that Sachin was not able to win the Best Junior Cricketer Award of the Mumbai Cricket Association and was distraught but he received a pair of ultra light pads from a certain Mr. Sunil Gavaskar who wrote to him as well and said that he himself had not been able to win it as well as that age. In an effort to gee up the young talent he also stated that he had not done too badly as a cricketer himself. Sachin stated after he had eclipsed Gavaskar’s record of 34 test centuries that it had acted as possibly the greatest encouragement for him at that point in time.
First brushes with international cricket
Sachin’s first experience of international cricket came when he appeared as a substitute for Imran Khan’s team at an exhibition game that was being staged at the Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai as a commemoration of the golden jubilee of CCI where Sachin used to play. When India played England in the semi final of the 1987 World Cup in Mumbai Sachin played the role of a ball-boy in that game.
First glimpses of his talent
Sachin had an exceptional season in 1988 and hammered a century in each and every match he played. With former friend and team India colleague Vinod Kambli he took part in an unbeaten partnership of 664 runs against the St. Xavier’s High School in a Lord Harris Shield interschool contest. Their dominance was such that the opposition was not keen on going ahead with the match and one bowler was actually crying. Tendulkar notched up a 326 in that game and also scored in excess of 1000 runs in that tournament. His partnership was to stay unbroken till 2006 when a couple of under-13 batsmen eclipsed it at a game held in Hyderabad.
They say that morning shows the day and this was absolutely true for Sachin as well. With sheer diligence and hard work coupled with unfathomable natural talent and unsurpassed hunger for runs the young Mumbaikar demonstrated the qualities that propelled him to the national team at the tender age of 16 to face Pakistan which was one of the toughest teams at that time and had a formidable bowling attack. Sachin acquitted himself well on that tour and the rest as they say is history!
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I am from Kolkata. Like any other Bengali I love my fish, eggs and bhaat and sweets but I also feel proud to be a part of the biggest melting pot of the world - India. It is true that I need to go a long way before I finally call it a day but I have come some way and am sure will travel further. Cheers :)