Kulkarni was in New York on a company project while Chordekar has been living in Toronto, Canada, with his family for some time
Ajinkya Rahane (centre) with Rahul Chordekar (left) and Shantanu Kulkarni in Trinidad
India’s Test vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane met some special guests during the recently-concluded Trinidad Test—two childhood friends, Shantanu Kulkarni and Rahul Chordekar—his teammates at Youngstar Cricket Club in Dombivli.
Kulkarni was in New York on a company project while Chordekar has been living in Toronto, Canada, with his family for some time. Both had planned to watch the Test in Port-of-Spain. They hoped their old colleague would spend some time with them and they got more than expected. “When we planned our tour to the West Indies, we didn’t know if we would be able to meet Ajinkya. During a Test match, players are in their separate zones and we had no intention of harassing them. We contacted one of our Mumbai-based friends, who is associated with Rahane and expressed our desire to meet him. Our friend assured us that we won’t return ‘empty handed’,” Kulkarni told mid-day from Trinidad.
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Rahane was pleased to hear about their visit and organised match tickets for his pals. The India veteran ensured he spent some quality time with his old teammates. “He is the same as he was in our younger days. There is no change in his nature—as humble as he was then. I was surprised to know he still remembers that 25 years ago, we used to travel from Dombivli to South Mumbai by train to play matches. The three of us relived our 20-year-old journey,” said an emotional Chordekar.
Rahane organised autographs on bats for them and even got them to meet Team India head coach Rahul Dravid. “He [Dravid] has always been our biggest hero. We also met captain Rohit Sharma. Little did we realise we would hit such a ‘jackpot’,” Kulkarni and Chordekar said in excitement. Rahane’s friends wanted to know more about the 2021 Test series in Australia, where the right-handed batsman led India to a series win.The last time Rahane’s friends got to meet him was when he practised for the Rising Pune Supergiants IPL team at Wankhede in 2016. That meeting lasted only a few moments, but the Caribbean conversations were long and lovely.