Amol Muzumdar – The day I waited, and Waited, and Waited. From the vault, a great entertaining day in the history of school cricket. This was the year 1987-88 I was in my school days and first in cricket. Shardashram had a formidable team then, certainly the best in Mumbai, and Sachin Tendulkar had already emerged as a batsman of great promise.
He had huge scores against his name and so did Vinod Kambli. I played my first match for the school when Tendulkar had gone to Ahmadabad to play for the Mumbai under-15 team.
I got a 100 on debut and so found myself, even after Tendulkar’s return; at number five in the batting order as the Harris Shield progressed. When we chose to bat in the semi-final against St Xavier’s at Azad Maidan, I had no idea I would have to sit, all padded up, in the Sassanian tent for almost two days without getting a chance to face a ball.
After we had lost two wickets on the first morning, Tendulkar and Kambli came together at the crease. Since I was the next man in, I was padded up focused on things in the middle. At lunch on the first day, the two of them were not out. During this interval, I took a few knocks — close to the tent just to ensure my feet were moving. Then Tendulkar and Kambli went out again and returned not out at the teak break. During this break, I took some knocks because I felt a wicket could now fall at any time.
But that’s didn’t happen. Both continued to bat beautifully. Two of Sachin Tendulkar’s strokes are still fresh in my mind. They were hit so hard and went so far, all of us in the tent joked. They will have to take a scooter or rickshaw to get the ball back. All the Shardashram boys in the tent were having a nice time joking and cheering. It was at lunch the next day that I realized these two wouldn’t get out at all. I then gave up hope of batting.
It is said that Tendulkar and Kambli shouldn’t have batted so long but declared early. But all of us enjoyed watching them bat. They didn’t play boring cricket. Their batting was so exciting. Harris Shield matches were played to finish games so time was not a constraint. They did nothing wrong by continuing the way they did.
Amol Muzumdar didn’t stay padded up for long. He became the captain for the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team and is currently a mainstay of the Mumbai Middle order.