Monday, Dec 18, 2017 | Last Update : 06:29 AM IST
An emotional Tendulkar recalled how Dungarpur had broken the rules for him to induct him in the club team as a 14-year-old.
Raj Singh Dungarpur, when alive, had often talked about the personality of Sachin Tendulkar and his talent and the cricketer has been open in acknowledging former BCCI president’s hand in shaping his international career. On Friday, Tendulkar aptly inaugurated the Cricket Club of India’s Gate No 1 named after its former 13-year president Dungarpur. This was a suggestion put forward by Tendulkar in 2009 after Dungarpur’s death.
An emotional Tendulkar recalled how Dungarpur had broken the rules for him to induct him in the club team as a 14-year-old. “I had scored some runs against CCI while playing for Shivaji Park Youngsters. Madhav Apte sir was playing for CCI. Once my name was recommended to Raj bhai, he told me to come and play for CCI,” he recalled.
He also reminisced how Dungarpur had encouraged him when he wasn’t picked for West Indies tour in 1989.
“I got selected for the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team and at that time coincidentally Raj bhai was the chairman of the national selection committee, and I had scored runs. There were discussions whether Sachin would go to the West Indies or not. 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,” he said.
“He said you will get your chance, which came in same year when I was picked for the tour of Pakistan,” Tendulkar added. Dungarpur was the chairman of selectors at that time as well.
Tendulkar was happy that the wish he expressed eight years ago had finally been realised. “Such things don’t happen overnight. It takes time, but I’m glad it has happened. It (this gate) will not be here just for a few years, but forever because Raj bhai’s life was in CCI,” Tendulkar said.