On Friday, India’s cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar recalled how former BCCI President Raj Singh Dungarpur played a crucial role in his long career.
Tendulkar inaugurated a gate named after Dungarpur, who was former selection committee chairman, at the Cricket Club of India (CCI) here. During the event, Sachin said, “It is a great feeling to come back to CCI. When it comes to Raj Bhai I really don’t know where to start because I get confused, we had that kind of relationship, he has guided me all the way.”
Recalling the time when Dungarpur saw him for the first time, the master blaster said, “The first time Raj Bhai saw me was when I was 13-14, I had scored some runs against CCI, I was playing for Shivaji Park Youngsters, I had scored some runs, even Madhav Apte Sir was that timekeeping for CCI and it was an honour to play against him.”
He further added, “Once my name was recommended to Raj Bhai, he told me to come and play for CCI and bent all possible rules and allowed me to get in the dressing room at the age of 14, I was the only one and slowly slowly in your (CCI’s) company got comfortable and results started following.”
Speaking about the enthusiasm of the late Raj Singh Dungarpur towards the game, Sachin said, “When Raj Bhai was on his last tour as manager which was 2005-06 in Pakistan, I could still feel his passion for the game despite his old age.”
Tendulkar further explained that how Dungarpur helped him to train abroad by bringing in sponsors. He said, “Raj Bhai always helped youngsters, there were occasions where I had to go on foreign tours and one did not have deep pockets then and Raj Bhai was instrumental in getting the sponsors to make sure that I get that experience. I went to London a couple of times, and after that the encouragement continued. I got selected for Mumbai Ranji team and at that time coincidentally Raj Bhai was the Chairman of the Selection Committee and I had scored runs.”
The batting legend said Raj Bhai assured him of his prolonged career back in those days, he said, “And his words came true and I played for India in November same year (against Pakistan in Pakistan in 1989).”