How a comment strengthened Sanjay Manjrekar’s resolve to represent India

05 December,2023 11:09 AM IST |  Mumbai  |  Subodh Mayure

Former Test batsman was rebuked by coach/administrator about not playing for India as a teenager like Maninder Singh and L Sivaramakrishnan had done by 1984-85

Sanjay Manjrekar (left) with Vilas Godbole at the book launch of Cricket Coaching and Beyond on Sunday. Pic/Atul Kamble

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Former India batsman Sanjay Manjrekar is a television commentator who has his share of supporters and trollers. The latter at times forget that he was once a very fine player albeit not doing full justice to his ability after his great 1989-90 tour of Pakistan, where he carved two of his four three-figure knocks in Test cricket.

Manjrekar was single-minded in his approach, soaked in the pressure of being the son of a famous father [ex-Test player Vijay Manjrekar] and played for India with distinction.

Also Read: Gavaskar feels Godbole's coaching can help Mumbai and Indian cricket to improve

Manjrekar recalled an incident on Sunday (during former Bombay player and Mumbai Cricket Association secretary Vilas Godbole's book launch) which hurt him, at the same time spurred him further to realise his dream of playing for India.

The ex-Mumbai captain recalled: "As an U-19 cricketer I had gone to watch the [1984-85] India versus England Test with my mother [Rekha] at the Wankhede Stadium. When we were coming down after the match, Vilas saw me and said: ‘What you are doing? Look at Manni [Maninder Singh] and Siva [L Sivaramakrishann]… they are already playing for India and what are you doing?'

"As my mother heard that, she got tense and told me, ‘Sanjay, if you are not able to play cricket, you can leave it'. She was unsure [about my cricket career] and I got so upset when she expressed that, because I never thought about it. I was single minded, almost in an illusion. Eventually I am going to be playing for India in a few years [I felt].

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"When my mother said, ‘you don't have to make a career in cricket,' I left her at Wankhede Stadium, took a train and went back home alone. That actually spurred me to continue with my plans. That is how he [Godbole] thinks. He was pained by the fact that Maninder Singh at the age of 17 and Siva at 16, were already playing for India and I couldn't at the same age. Vilas touched a lot of people's lives. He personally invested in people."

In three years' time, Manjrekar made his Test debut for India - against West Indies at New Delhi - in November 1987. He represented the country in 37 Tests and 74 ODIs.

Godbole's Cricket Coaching and Beyond was launched in the presence of several former Test, first-class and club players. Batting legend Sunil Gavaskar too praised Godbole for his contribution to Mumbai cricket.

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