Coach Ramakant Achrekar wanted Sachin Tendulkar to play as many matches as possible. Hence the 12-year-old was asked to play for Hind Sevak Cricket Club in 1985.
The team was led by Mangesh Adhatrao, who went on to be a key member of the Karnatak Sporting Association’s team which figured in the premier division of the Kanga League.
Achrekar wanted Adhatrao to play Tendulkar at No 4, but according to Ajit Tendulkar (in his book ‘The Making of a Cricketer’), his kid brother couldn’t play for Hind Sevak in the first game of the Gordhandas Shield, a suburban tournament, due to some confusion.
In the second game, Tendulkar contributed a brisk 30 in the limited overs format. In the semi-final against a top club, Tendulkar worked his way to 43, but departed cheaply in the final against Prabhu Jolly through a run out.
Some believe that Adhatrao, who scored a double hundred — remarkable considering it was a 45-over tournament — in that game, deliberately ran out the teenager because he wanted a powerful batsman to be at the other end in order to get a huge score. Despite Hind Sevak winning the final at the Khar Gymkhana, Tendulkar was inconsolable.
Adhatrao was at pains to explain that Tendulkar was slow to respond to a call. “Contrary to whatever people say, I didn’t run him out on purpose. It’s rubbish. When I watch Sachin running between wickets now, I find it unbelievable.
He puts everyone including younger cricketers to shame with his alacrity,” said Adhatrao, denying all talk about Achrekar slapping him after the match.
Sachin was so sad...
“Sir just told me that you have to handle young cricketers well,” he added. According to Adhatrao, he claimed the batting honours of the tournament, but a very sad look on Tendulkar’s face, still brooding over his low score, caused him to give away his trophy to the teenager."
“Sachin looked a very promising player. I remember that period very well because I had just lost my father and Achrekar Sir requested my brother (Raja) and me to play that tournament despite our bereavement. You can see our shaven heads in the team photograph.
Sir truly deserved the Dronacharya award because he has given his life for cricket. Once, he came to watch us play with a sad look on his face. We later learnt that he had lost a very close member of his family on the same day,” recalled Adhatrao.