Mumbai: Legendary Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar on Thursday, said that Mumbai has always led from the front when it came to Indian cricket and that the upcoming Mumbai T20 league would serve as a strong platform for youngsters to showcase their talent.
“I firmly believe that something like this ( Mumbai T20 League) was needed for Mumbai cricket. Mumbai cricket has always led Indian cricket and the numbers are biggest proof. I feel happy to be part of this league,” said Tendulkar, who is the League Ambassador.
“Mumbai have won Ranji Trophy for 41 years, you’ve got terrific history. I still remember as a kid at Shivaji Park” Kamath Memorial club “Paddy sir (Padmakar Shivalkar) would come and bowl to me. He was possibly thrice my age at that time but he would bowl to me. Such things happen in Mumbai.
“It would be nice if youngsters are playing alongside some big names in Mumbai cricket. They will get to learn and that is something that I am looking forward to,” added the maestro, who is one of the biggest names to have emerged out of the state.
Apart from Tendulkar, greats like Sunil Gavaskar, Ajit Wadekar, Chandrakant Pandit, Dilip Vengsarkar, Pravin Amre and Vinod Kambli are all products of Mumbai cricket. Also, names like Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane and Shreyas Iyer, who are part of the current Indian team are also from the state.
Sachin further said that such leagues can take a player to great heights.
“When we talk about league cricket, my cricket started at Shivaji Park and then slowly graduated to good gymkhanas on the Marine Drive, and then you go bit further, there are big stadiums also, so it gradually progressed,” he said.
He also added, “So for any youngster in Mumbai, you need not be playing (with) the season ball. As a kid, I started playing cricket with tennis ball and we found our own ways of playing in the limited time, but from there every aspiring kid needs to have a platform to express his talent. This league is going to provide that opportunity.”
The legend further spoke about the fact that there were many from the state, who couldn’t make it to the national team because there wasn’t a spot available.
“I remember there are so many names in Mumbai cricket who should have played for India but at that given moment, there wasn’t a spot available for them. But they were really-really good and would have gone on to play for India. Similarly, so many club cricketers would have gone on to play Ranji but they couldn’t do that,” said Sachin.
“I think today by playing these leagues, even if you don’t go and play Ranji Trophy, you can still look after your family. And that is the most important thing for any individual. If you can look after your family, make them feel financially secure and be the backbone of family, it is the greatest feeling anyone can get.”
He also admitted the fact that many wouldn’t have thought the Indian Premier League (IPL) to be so big when it began.
“It will be fantastic for youngsters specially because I can speak from my example with IPL. When IPL started, nobody thought where it is today it will get there. But it is not just one-way traffic,” he said.
Under the approval of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA, T20 Mumbai League would be organised by Probability Sports Limited from March 11 to 21 at the Wankhede Stadium.