Tendulkar recalls Dungarpur's advice before Class X boards
When former BCCI president and the chief selector Raj Singh Dungarpur passed away in 2009, legendary Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar urged the Cricket Club of India (CCI) to name their gate after him. Dungarpur had a big role in Sachin's career as he was the chief selector when Sachin was picked to represent India for the first time in 1989.
Eight years after Dungarpur's death, Sachin's dream came true as the CCI gate was named after the late Dungarpur and was inaugurated by Sachin himself yesterday. Sachin heaped praises on one of his well-wishers and pointed out that naming the gate after Dungarpur is the biggest tribute one could have given to the former chief selector.
"Raj bhai, to all youngsters, was no less than a Guru. Raj bhai was the heart of CCI. He was the life of CCI and naming this gate after him is the biggest tribute to him as that’s where all cricketers enter the ground,” Tendulkar said at the inauguration ceremony.
He also spoke about the bond between him and the former BCCI boss as he shared how Dungarpur used to help him by getting sponsors when he didn't have deep pockets and struggled when he toured overseas.
He also revealed how Dungarpur advised him to focus on his SSC exams ahead of the West Indies tour in 1989, for which Sachin was not picked but was rewarded for his consistent shows later that year.
"I got selected for the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team and at that time coincidentally Raj bhai was the chairman of the selection committee, and I had scored runs. My first season of Ranji Trophy was successful and there were as usual discussions whether Sachin would go to the West Indies or not. So, Raj bhai came to me when I was playing the Ranji semi-final at the Wankhede Stadium against Delhi. I had scored runs in the first innings and Raj bhai walked up to me and said, ‘I will tell you one thing that you will not go to West Indies, you focus on this match and if you get a chance to play in the final then score there and after that you are focusing on SSC exams’. I was in the 10th standard. You are not going to West Indies but let (me) also assure you that if you continue to play like this that day is not too far’. His words came true and I played for India in November the same year," Sachin recalled.
Without a doubt, Dungarpur's contributions to Indian cricket is huge and keeping faith in a 16-year-old youngster and selecting him to tour Pakistan to face the likes of Wasim Akram, Imran Khan and a debuting Waqar Younis tops the list. In spite of a mediocre series, Sachin was persisted and as they say, the rest is history.