Sachin Tendulkar has retired from international cricket, but you simply cannot keep him away from the game. Barely a couple of weeks after the legendary batsman called time on his glorious 24-year Test career, Tendulkar already has a suggestion for the betterment of Mumbai cricket.
At a felicitation function organised by the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA) at the Bandra Kurla Complex ground which was yesterday named after Sharad Pawar, Tendulkar had a suggestion for the administrators organising inter-school and inter-college cricket.
“The Indian Premier League (IPL) has taken cricket to small towns. We see good cricketers emerging from there. Take the example of Mahendra Singh Dhoni (who is from Jharkhand). So, how can we keep Mumbai cricket ahead of the others?
“Just a few days ago I was discussing with my brother, Ajit, and we came up with a suggestion which I would like to share. When we have inter-school and inter-college matches, instead of an 11-member team, can we take 15 players?
“The boy who leaves his home everyday to play a match with a hope that he will do something, doesn’t know whether he is going to play a lot of times. Prithvi (Shaw) and Musheer (Khan) are talented players, but many are on the borderline.
Many a time, the wicket may be a turning track and having a third seamer serves no purpose. Sometimes there is only one seamer and there is a spinner bowling from the other end. In that case, it is no fault of the poor 12-year old fast bowler.
But he has prepared equally hard for the entire year not knowing that he may not be picked. Giles and Harris Shield being knockout tournaments, you don’t know how many matches you are going to get.
“I feel, if every player can get a minimum of three matches, it could be Giles Shield, it could be Harris Shield, inter-collegiate, till the time the player starts earning and can stand on his own feet, till that time MCA should give support to these cricketers,” said Tendulkar, who also felicitated talented Mumbai youngsters Prithvi and Musheer.
He also celebrated Dronacharya award-winning coach Ramakant Achrekar’s 81st birthday. Tendulkar felt thousands of cricketers could benefit if his suggestion is considered. “Around 10,000 kids can benefit from this which is good for Mumbai’s cricket.
The selectors would also get to see more talent. If we introduce something new in Mumbai, other states will follow us. We are also looking at the broader picture that is Indian cricket,” said the batting maestro.
‘Not because of Arjun’
Tendulkar clarified that the suggestion was not keeping in mind his son Arjun, who is a part of the Mumbai U-14 team. “One may think I am suggesting this because of my son Arjun. It (suggestion) is not because of him. I have played with many cricketers who did not have enough support from their family.
I feel opportunity is a must for every kid. MCA and me as a former cricketer now, would be failing in our duties,” said Tendulkar, who was also inducted into the Legends Club.
Tendulkar signed off with a message to the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team: “I know the next few matches will be challenging with not many senior players around. But victory will be much sweeter if we manage to win the title. I will be the first to come and celebrate with you all.”