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     From a very early age, I played tennis-ball cricket with my colony friends. I loved watching cricket on television and in our games, I often tried to emulate the mannerisms of my favourite players, Sunil Gavaskar and the West Indian legend Viv Richards. But it wasn’t just the batsmen that I studied. I also loved bowling. Throughout my career, I have actually bowled a lot in the nets.
     I was then studying in the New English School, Mumbai. But my brother Ajit knew that compared to other schools in Mumbai, Shardashram Vidhyamandir where Ramakant Achrekar Sir was the cricket coach, gave due importance to the game of cricket. He ran summer camps too. Ajit, one day, took me to the camp to get trained under Sir. Anyone could come for a trial at the camp; but then, it was up to Sir to decide who to accept. I was eleven years old then. Achrekar Sir, as I refer to him, started playing cricket at the age of eleven in 1943, which is the age I was when I went to him for the first time.
Sachin was born in a middle-class family in Maharashtra. His father was a poet and his mother was an insurance agent. He had two half brothers Nitin and Ajit, one half-sister Savita, who cared for Sachin and mentored him. In India, it is quite common to see young teenage boys playing gully cricket with friends from their own colonies and apartments. Sometimes they even get enough people to organise a small scale tournament between two areas and have fun. It is indeed interesting that Sachin, one of the legends of cricket, started off playing cricket in the streets. He did not start with the proper equipment of a professional cricket. For a middle-class boy, he was like any other young boy who played with a tennis ball. Most young boys below the age of 10 play with the tennis ball, as it is considerably softer than a rubber ball. He played with this ball with his colony friends right from a young age.
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Tennis ball
India is a land of cricket, and it is an emotion in most households. When there is a match between India and any other country, people get glued to their television. Many teenage boys grow up watching cricket like this and are therefore impacted by the game to a lot of extents. Sachin, too grew up watching cricket and imitated his role models in all his games. This is a common trait in children as they imitate or mimic the mannerisms and techniques of people who they look up to. Sachin recalls that he considered Sunil Gavaskar and West Indian player Viv Richards as his inspiration and imitated their techniques in his own game.  Although Sachin is known as the best batsman, he started off by bowling a lot in the nets as he was impressed by bowling.
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Sunil Gavaskar*
Sachin went to New English School, Mumbai. But sensing his passion and talent for cricket, his brother Ajit wanted the best for him. In those times, one of the best cricket academies was run by a coach named Ramakant Achrekar. He was also a head coach in the school called Shardashram Vidhyamandir. People from all areas could come and have a trial at the ground, but it was up to Achrekar sir to decide whom to choose. Sachin was one of the lucky few who were chosen. Initially, Sachin took practice under him, but Ajit felt that it would be even easier if Sachin studied in the same school that Achrekar sir worked in. He was eleven years old when he was taken to the camp to get selected. So it was in \(1943\), Achrekar sir started playing cricket and was also eleven years old at that time.
Words with difficult meaning:
ColonyA group of people living together
EmulateMatch by imitating something
MannerismsA gesture of speaking or acting
CoachA person who trains people in a specific field
Summer campsActivities conducted during summer for the students' benefit
  • State Council of Educational Research and Training 2019. Term 1 English Standard - 9. Learning the Game - Sachin Tendulkar (pp. 1 -17). Published by the Tamil Nadu Textbook and Educational Services Corporation.
  • Sunil Gavaskar*: Bollywood Hungama, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons