Mumbai ’s dusty maidans’ two finest products come together to unearth fresh cricketing talent
They were famous even before playing for India when they hammered a 664-run partnership in schools cricket at Azad Maidan in 1988. Now, Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli return to the very maidans where they learnt their cricket, hoping to find talent that will keep Mumbai and India at the top of the cricketing charts.
Tendulkar and Kambli, called Jai and Veeru of Indian cricket by the fans in the 1990s, had a fallout a few years ago, so much so that Kambli said his school buddy had “forgotten” him when Tendulkar did not invite him for a postretirement party.
Kambli will have no such complaint now when Tendulkar launches one of his most ambitious projects in which he will coach kids as young as seven. “Vinod and I have played together from the time we were in school. When we met recently, I told him about my project and Vinod readily agreed to contribute. I am delighted to have him on board,” Tendulkar told Mirror from Bhutan.
Kambli will be a part of the team that Tendulkar has put together for his academy, that he has launched in collaboration with the English county Middlesex. Called the Tendulkar-Middlesex Global Academy, the coaching and talent-spotting camps begin from November 1 to 4 at DY Patil Stadium, Nerul, and November 6 to 9 at MIG Club, Bandra, for the age groups seven to 17 and 13 to 18. The camps then move on to Pune from November 12 to 15 and November 17 to 20.
Considering Tendulkar’s stature, he could get the greatest names in the game for the camps, but there’s a bit of a soft corner when it comes to Kambli. “Having Vinod on the cricket field with me will definitely bring back some very special memories,” Tendulkar said.
Kambli, forever an emotional man, called it a “dream-come-true opportunity”. “I immediately said yes when Sachin discussed the idea of coaching together. It’s a great opportunity to go back to the maidens with him and re-live our days there. I hope to teach the kids when Achrekar sir taught us when we were their age. I thank Sachin for showing faith in me,” Kambli told Mirror.
The left-hander, who averaged 54.2 in Test cricket, said coaching will be a different experience for him and for Tendulkar. A few former and current cricketers from the Mumbai Ranji team are also expected to be a part of Tendulkar’s coaching team, apart from England’s David Malan, Toby Roland Jones, Nick Compton and John Simpson.