It is possible that, there is no bigger name in the world of cricket that Sachin Tendulkar. The batting icon of India started his international career at the age of 16, and slowly rose up the ranks to grow as one of the best in the world.
Sachin Tendulkar’s numbers indicate why he is still put down as the ‘God of Cricket’. In 200 Tests, he amassed 15,921 runs at an average of 53.8. he also knocked 51 hundreds in the process. In 463 ODIs, he cumulated 18,426 runs at an average of 44.8 and 49 centuries.
However, one might muse on how was Sachin like at the begining of his career? Former India skipper Dilip Vengsarkar calls to mind his first meeting with a 15-year-old Sachin during a Test match in November 1988.
“’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.
“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.
“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.
Furthermore the former Indian skipper recalled that on the same evening, he asked the Bombay team selection committee to select Sachin in the squad. “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.
Dilip Vengsarkar further added that Sachin started seizing opportunities as and when they came to him and he made it to the India side by the following year. “In Duleep Trophy, he got a hundred. In Irani Trophy, he got a hundred. Then we went to Pakistan in 1989, and there came Sachin Tendulkar, and the rest is history,” he said.