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24 years since I stopped playing cricket!!!

When I was a kid, I used to religiously follow cricket commentary on radio , play “book cricket” in school…I was very much enamoured by Ajit Wadekar as his name would be all over – newspapers, radio. I even used to wonder why my name was not Ajit!!!

One of the summer holidays, my mother , in one of her attempts to keep her kids busy during summer holidays, took me to Shivaji park at Achrekar Sir’s nets and I was formally introduced to season ball cricket!! Once I started playing, I would dream of playing alongside Sunil Gavaskar..I practiced real hard for a year and got a break to play for my school, then captained the school team. This was followed by playing for the College team. The college Coach V S Patil Sir then asked me to play for his club – Dadar Union and lo and behold,I actually got to play alongside the legendary Sunil Gavaskar!!! Not only Gavaskar but also Dilip Vengsarkar…

I continued my quest in right earnest to get an opportunity to play at a higher level ..I played for the Mumbai University under the captaincy of Sanjay Manjrekar (India’s WALL before Rahul Dravid took over the mantle)… then went on to also Captain the University team with Praveen Amre (centurion on test debut) playing under my stewardship. I eventually got selected for the state Ranji Trophy team, the same year as one school boy, who went by the name Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, also got a break. The next year I was given charge to lead the BCA Colts team consisting of Sachin Tendulkar, Vinod Kambli…Somehow, that season, I could not quite come upto the mark but got to see Sachin at close quarters .. shortly after that I gave up playing cricket realising that India’s cricket could do without me and would be in safe hands with the likes of Sachin Tendulkar , Vinod Kambli, Pravin Amre..

Looping back with Sachin Tendulkar recently in Jan2020
others in the Pic: Vignesh Shahane (fellow cricketer); Dr Rupali Gore (my wife)

Looking back,  I can proudly say that 24 years ago, I stopped playing competitive cricket, as I had seen the future and my prediction did come true .. Cheers !!!..

P.S: This piece was originally written in Nov 2013 when Sachin Tendulkar hung his cricketing boots.

Subsequently, it has been updated with snaps and links from a nostalgia match in Dec 2017 between traditional rivals Dadar Union CC and Shivaji Park Gymkhana. For those interested in the ball to ball coverage of the match, pl. click on the link below If you are patient, you will get to see legendary cricketers Ajit Wadekar and Madhav Apte alongwith Pravin Ambre in action for SPG and Sanjay Manjrekar for DU. Off the field, you can have a glimpse of Sunil Gavaskar who opted to be the non playing captain for DU. If you fast forward to the end @ 1hr:28 min, you will also get to see me in action in the last over, attempting for a thrilling finish with 24 runs to be scored in the last over !!!

To read my other blogs on Cricketing / Corporate Tales; Start up stories; Covid Times; Friends, Family and Marriages go to the Home Page


Published by Salil Datar

Eager beaver , enthusiastic but amateur blogger !!

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