When Sachin Tendulkar was inducted among the reserves of the Bombay team last year (1987), many cricket experts felt that he was being rushed into big cricket. I personally felt the same last year. How wrong the so-called ‘pundits of the game can be! We at the Cricket Club of India (CCI), decided to give this boy a feel of ‘big company. We did away with tradition by allowing a 15-year-old to use the club’s dressing room.
Truly, the BCCI is in many ways responsible for putting Sachin Tendulkar on the right track, as indeed it did for Sandeep Patil. Given the difficult conditions of the Kanga League, Sachin Tendulkar played like a mature cricketer. On a drying track, Sachin Tendulkar was right on top of the ball. Even the seniors in the team fell by way of class. We have decided to induct young Sachin Tendulkar straightaway in the Ranji Trophy XI and proposed that he would bat at number four.
Every member of the team was delighted with the way Sachin Tendulkar batted. In fact, he was the only one to drive on the front foot to Pradeep Kasliwal, Anirudh Kher, and Anup Sabnis, who work no indecent pace as the Wankhede practice wickets are fairly nippy. The reason why I say this is because everybody these days tends to go on the back foot to medium pacers and fast bowlers.
Sunil Gavaskar, who I understand did not watch cricket on a continuous basis, even during his Test playing days, made it a point to come and see Sachin Tendulkar bat. The crowd that came was there only to see him. And at one point in time, a Gujarat fielder, on not attempting a lofted drive to catch Lalchand Rajput was booed all the way, not that this is anything new at the Wankhede Stadium.
All of us watching were fairly keyed to see how a child prodigy played his first big innings. We were all hoping he would do well. Honestly, I personally wanted to see how he would thrash the bowling. He walked in and was B in by close-in fielders. Till now it was always the under-15, 17, and 19. His first ball was defended on the front foot.
But the next was beautifully placed at mid-wicket. A-la Dilip Vengsarkar for four, the next was defended. Then once again Sachin Tendulkar stepped out and placed the ball between mid-off and extra-cover for another sizzling boundary. Excerpt from an article on Tendulkar by Milind Rege (Published Dec 1988)