How the sapling looked before it became a tree

They have all mesmerised the Indian cricket fans over the years, but here are a few pictures, you have hardly seen before. Sportstar looks back at a time when your favourite cricketers were young and well... not stars!

West Zone captain Sanjay Manjrekar during the Vizzy Trophy in Chennai on February 8, 1985. The Manjrekar name is a cherished one in Indian cricket, with Vijay Manjrekar earning a name for himself as a fearless batsman against pace in the helmetless era of the 1960s and 70s. So Sanjay had a lot to live up to when he followed his father into cricket. Alas, fate struck a cruel blow in the beginning itself, snatching away Vijay at the age of 52 when Sanjay was just 18. But the young man soldiered on and made the Indian team in November 1987 against the Caribbeans in Delhi. His debut was a forgettable one, but when he went to the West Indies just over a year later, in 1989, his pedigree showed. At bristling Bridgetown, with the crowd baying Marshall, Ambrose, Bishop and Walsh along, the young Sanjay got a hundred, his first in Test cricket in only his third match. And he grew in stature later in the year, when he tamed the fearsome Pakistan pace trio of Imran, Wasim and Waqar to notch up a hundred in Karachi and a double hundred in Lahore. Surprisingly, he couldn't maintain this extremely high standard and played his last Test match in 1996, turning out in only 37 matches for the country. He is a popular commentator now. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES
Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli after setting the world record partnership of 664 runs in the third wicket, in Mumbai on February 27, 1988. Even now, if one roams around Mumbai's Shardashram Vidyamandir High School, he is bound to come across two names-- Tendulkar and Kambli. Hailing from middle-class families, both the youngsters made all heads turn right from the beginning. But in the international arena, things fizzled out quickly. While Tendulkar reached the peak, Kambli slowly faded out. Photo: THE HINDU Archives
Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli celebrate their record partnership in Mumbai on February 27, 1988. Most of their friends believe that if Tendulkar has been an epitome of discipline, Kambli has always walked the opposite way. Leading a flashy life, Kambli failed to keep his place in the Indian side, and with young talents coming up, he slowly found himself nowhere. With a dip in his form, Kambli never managed to return to Indian team after the Champions Trophy in 2000. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES
Badminton legend Prakash Padukone gives away a memento to Anil Kumble at the Sports Writers' Association of Bangalore (SWAB) awards function in Bengaluru on September 15, 1990. Those who have seen Anil Kumble from his formative years agree that cricket has always been the love of his life. And to achieve success, he has been thoroughly dedicated to the sport. Right from the beginning, Kumble has admitted that his idea of spin bowling was to gauge a batsman's mind. And, in his two decade-long career, the Karanataka cricketer has always followed a motto--never take the opponent for granted. Even after retirement, he has maintained a similar stance. Be it in coaching or administration--Kumble has always kept things simple. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES
VVS Laxman in action during a Buchi Babu Trophy match in Chennai on August 16, 1991. Just like his batting style, the very, very special cricketer has mesmerised the Indian cricket fans by playing the role of an anchor. Be it his career-best knock of 281 against a mighty Australia in 2001, or the resilient knocks in the Australia tour in 2003-2004, Laxman has always added strength to Indian middle-order. Now, even after quitting cricket, Laxman has tried teaching a similar thing to his wards at the domestic level. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES
Kumble during the Ranji Trophy pre-quarterfinal game between Karnataka and Maharashtra in Pune on February 2, 1991. Kumble stepping down as the coach of Team India has raised a very important question--should a coach not speak if his wards fail to meet the expectations? While, the Indian cricket fans are divided in the matter, Kumble has once again proven that he still believes in the old-school formula where a coach plays the role of a teacher. Since his early days, Kumble has made it a point to maintain a healthy relationship with the coach. Even during his stint as the Test captain, he had kept a good rapport with the coach to maintain a balance in the side. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES
Rohit Sharma (right) with coach Venkatesh Prasad and other teammates at the international airport in Chennai on February 20, 2006. Considered one of the most talented players, Sharma has found the going tough. With injury plaguing his career, the Mumbai batsman has had issues with consistency. While he is still one of the batting mainstays of Team India, Sharma needs to be cautious about sustaining freak injuries. Photo: V. Ganesan
Young Rahul Dravid during a domestic match in 1992. It's not for nothing that they call Dravid, 'The Wall'. During his playing days, Dravid not only bolstered the Indian middle-order, but also helped the team overcome the blues. Just like his batting prowess, Dravid has played a great role in mentoring the youngsters as the coach of India U-19 team. In the IPL too, he has left a mark by bringing out newer talents who have made it big in the Indian cricketing circuit.
A young Virat Kohli plays a shot during a Ranji Trophy game for Delhi on December 19, 2006. Photo: THE HINDU ARCHIVES