Star-struck in Mumbai

A school-mate and former state team-mate talks about how he was in awe of a young Tendulkar
Amol Muzumdar November 6, 2013

As a kid, BEST bus No. 91 was my be all and end all. I would take the bus to Shivaji Park to attend Anna Vaidya's nets at the Bengal Cricket Club. Sachin Tendulkar was already being singled out as a future Test player, and one time both of us were on the same bus - Sachin had boarded at Vakola. My mom was with me that day and when we got off the bus, I remember telling her: "Aai, that fair guy's name is Tendulkar. They all say he is going to play for India one day."

Amol Muzumdar guides the ball past point, Mumbai v Punjab, Ranji Trophy Super League, Mumbai, December 19, 2008
Amol Muzumdar: a domestic run-machine but also one of Tendulkar's biggest fans © ESPNcricinfo Ltd

There were a few others, like Mayur Kadrekar, Rupak Mule, Atul Ranade and Parag Jiwankar - all Shardashram English school products and famous for their batting. But Sachin stood out big time. I remember when I was in grade six or seven, my school, BPM, were playing against Shardhashram. I did not make it to the first XI, so our teacher, who doubled up as a coach, asked me to keep score. Sachin got 275 runs in a day. I scored every single run. My fingers might have ached but I enjoyed it.

When I went home I told my dad I wanted to change schools and move to Shardashram. It was solely because of a boy called Tendulkar, who had created such a big impression on my mind. The following year, 1987, I moved to Shardashram. That was the most important decision of my life and I would not be where I am today if not for the move.

The switch also taught me some hard lessons immediately. I was a bright student at BPM, but at Shardashram, cricket was the priority. In the monsoons one time, I skipped practice and Sachin asked me why I was not attending training. I wondered which practice and he said rubber-ball training. He was annoyed and sarcastically said I should carry on with my studies. When I next went to [coach] Ramakant Achrekar's sir's nets he whacked me first and then asked me why I was not coming for practice. I still remember that slap.

From there my journey in cricket started in earnest. I became more serious. Steadily I also realised how popular the 12-year-old Sachin was in school and club cricket. I remember people following him in places like Khao galli in south Mumbai. I realised that one could become famous because of cricket even at a young age. Nowadays it is a given that a talented youngster gets followed by the media, and gets wide coverage, but in those days Sachin was one of the few who got that attention.

Subconsciously I had also become one of his biggest fans. I remember I would visit Sachin at his place in Sahitya Sahwas in Bandra after he returned from every tour in the early part of his international career. I would ask him many questions about the kind of players, the kind of pitches, and the kind of bowling he faced. He would bring video cassettes and we would discuss matches in detail. It was a fun time.

In 1989, during the Sialkot Test, which was telecast on Doordarshan, I called my mom at her office from our neighbour's phone and told her Sachin was batting, so please could I bunk school. He scored a half-century in that match.

It was just natural that I would take Sachin-specific pullouts from Sportstar magazine and stick them on the inside of my cupboard doors in my bedroom. Once VVS Laxman stayed at our place and was shocked to see my fascination for Sachin. It was hard for me to make him understand how big a mark Sachin had made very early in my life, and how he was responsible for diverting my life towards cricket.

As told to Nagraj Gollapudi

Posted by Emancipator007 on (November 6, 2013, 7:30 GMT)

One of the biggest tragedies of Indian cricket is Muzumdar not getting a single international game!Folks need to understand even a single ODI or Test for India raises the pension/lifetime security stakes from BCCI for players.Muzumdar had the class & "Bombay-school of batsmanship" game to succeed at highest level. Pretenders wanting no. 4 spot in ODIs have played multiple Tests for India. From the early 90s era, Abhijit Kale (was rated by Mumbai cricketing elders on par with Tendulkar & Kambli wrt to talent & international class with Kale having the tightest defensive technique. Kale atleast is a former India player with 2 ODIs) was another. Muzumdar,Bhaskar Pillai,Shivalkar, Goel,Hans have gone into history as just domestic titans cos of flawed selection policies & some bad luck/destiny.

Posted by   on (November 6, 2013, 17:02 GMT)

If I remember correctly, Amol is the batsman who never got his chance to bat because Tendulkar and Kambli put on that mammoth partnership for their school. What a cruel turn of fate. Sorry for you Amol. Followed your career [though I am from Hyderabad] and alwayss thought you deserved it more than lot of others who got lucky.

Posted by   on (November 7, 2013, 0:15 GMT)

Amol Muzumdar was tragic case of not getting a chance in international cricket, because of the selectors. Apart from Sachin and Kambli, Amol was a prolific run getter, in school cricket. I used follow their progress in schools cricket and predicted great future for all three of them. Two of them proved me right and made it into international level, and poor Amol was overlooked. Lesser guys than him jumped band wagon, but no, Amol was not considered. The same fate is coming the way of Manoj Tiwari, who should have been given some exposure, at least in the India A team. Even, Shikar Dhawan was considered late, and that is due to lack of form of the stalwarts Sehwag and Ghambir.

Posted by raoulH on (November 7, 2013, 5:15 GMT)

I always loved the Mumbai batting line ups. If there can sum up the character of Mumbai they were the batsmen it produced. Amol always embodied the best of Mumbai school of cricket. Its a tragedy we could not see him play at international level.

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Zaltz Stats

550,000,000
The approximate number of people in India today who had not been born when Sachin Tendulkar made his Test debut in 1989 (calculated from these figures). His batting has been so erotically outstanding that the global population has increased by almost 2 billion during his career, with the biggest increase, understandably, in India itself.

I have played cricket for 24 years, it has been only 24 hours since retirement, and I think I should get at least 24 days to relax before deciding these things.

Sachin Tendulkar doesn't want to think of what lies ahead just yet