What it took to play under Tendulkar
Apart from being a coach, Paras Mhambrey is a senior selector for Mumbai. Being an important part of Sachin Tendulkar's preparation for his final series puts him in a good position to relate to Mumbai cricketers what sincere preparation is all about.
Not that he has any shortage of information on other aspects of Tendulkar’s game. As a young bowler, he had to deliver for captain Tendulkar: “There was no margin for error. Loose deliveries were unacceptable.
Quality and commitment was expected all the time because he (Sachin) gave that. And he didn’t mince words on the ground. The thought of bowling a bad ball was dreadful. His words, ‘bowl well, bowl well’ helped me. He helped me mentally and technically. At the same time, he was hard when there was a job to be done.
“If you bowl a bad spell, you are dead but I’ve been abused for bowling a couple of bad balls while trying to get a wicket and the batsman has driven me. I have never seen any drop in intensity from him. His commitment was 1000 per cent.
And if he spotted a dip in intensity and commitment from his position at slip, mid-on or mid-off, you got it straight then and there. He abused you. When I started off in the Mumbai team, he would tell me what balls to bowl… one, two, three, four, five and six.
At that stage you are not in a position to analyse why he is saying that. But when I look back and go through the one, two, three, four, five and six sequence again, I realise that’s the way to set up a batsman; that’s the way you bowl; that’s how you put pressure and get him out. It helped me.”
Mhambrey admitted not being best prepared when picked for India’s 1996 tour of England. Two Tests were all he played. But he ended his 11-year first-class career with 284 wickets. Thank you, Sachin was probably uttered before the popular Twitter campaign #ThankYouSachin came into being.