Ever since quitting the game, Sachin Tendulkar has made it a point to motivate the young sportsmen of the country. Over the years, most of India’s athletes have earned Tendulkar’s praise on the social media after their success.
But ahead of the Ranji Trophy final, the Little Master has made it a point to wish first-timer Vidarbha - over the phone. On Wednesday evening, Tendulkar called Vidarbha head-coach Subroto Banerjee—who also happens to be his son, Arjun Tendulkar’s coach—to wish the team for making it big in this edition of the tournament.
'Sachin always there for cricket'
“Sachin is excited about the fact that a small team like Vidarbha has come this far. He is in regular touch with me and (Vidarbha Cricket Association’s vice-president) Prashant Vaidya,” Banerjee told Sportstar on Thursday.
“He knows everything about the VCA Academy in Nagpur, and the way we run the academy. He is excited that the boys from that academy are actually playing the final. Over the phone, he sounded very excited,” Banerjee said.
Having known the Master Blaster since his formative years, Banerjee believes that the legendary batsman's wish would motivate the players. “Sachin is always there for cricket. Cricketers coming out from small towns has really touched him,” the former India fast bowler said.
Vidarbha banking on Gurbani
With Umesh Yadav unavailable for the final, Vidarbha will be largely relying on its young pacer Rajneesh Gurbani. And Banerjee feels that the youngsters should use this opportunity to the maximum. “In a final, there will always be pressure, and on top of that, it will be telecast live. We have addressed the players today that they should use this opportunity. After all, the entire country will see the players live on television, so they are buoyed to deliver,” Banerjee said.
To motivate the players, Vaidya flew down from Nagpur on Thursday. After the day’s practice, the team had a small session where Vaidya and former Vidarbha captain and erstwhile national selector Anil Deshpande spoke to the players and encouraged them. “I will have to leave for Mumbai after the first day’s play, so I have told the players that when I come back on January 2, I want to see Vidarbha win the trophy,” Deshpande told Sportstar.
Deshpande also admitted that this team has all the potential to go the distance in the final. “They have played excellent cricket. They must have that self-belief,” he said.
It is learnt that some of the senior VCA officials—along with former chief Adwait Manohar (who happens to be ICC chief Shashank Manohar’s son)—will be reaching Indore on Friday to support the team.
With the ‘underdogs’ turning all heads, the cricketing fraternity seems to be in awe of Vidarbha!
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