Lata Mangeshkar, a passionate cricket fan too

From singing at a concert to raise money for the 1983 World Cup-winning team to congratulating Sourav Ganguly's boys after the Test triumph in Rawalpindi - Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar was an ardent follower of the sport.

Published : Feb 06, 2022 17:11 IST , Mumbai

Lata Mangeshkar had received an autographed shirt from Sachin Tendulkar in 2014.
Lata Mangeshkar had received an autographed shirt from Sachin Tendulkar in 2014.

Lata Mangeshkar had received an autographed shirt from Sachin Tendulkar in 2014.

Lata Mangeshkar was a passionate cricket fan and shared an emotional relationship with Sachin Tendulkar, who referred to her as “Aai” (mother in Marathi). She was a supporter and a well-wisher of the game.

She would often go out of the way to congratulate the Indian team and Indian cricketers on their success. Ratnakar Shetty, who has been involved in cricket administration in various capacities for more than four decades, recalled a couple of such instances while paying his tribute to the legendary singer who passed away on Sunday.

One of the most vivid memories of Shetty is during India’s tour of Pakistan in 2004 when he was the manager of India’s team. “I can never forget that as soon as India sealed the series in Rawalpindi, the first call I received from India was from Lata  didi  and she was as excited and joyous as any other Indian. She asked me to pass her congratulatory messages to all the boys,” Shetty told  Sportstar  on Sunday.


In 2005, Shetty had a similar experience during Pakistan’s return tour to India when he was the Chief Administrative Officer of the Board of Control for Cricket in India. 

He received another call from the nightingale while on his way to Kolkata, the venue of the last Test. "She called and told me the match was over (it was a draw) and asked me for Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s number, then told me to call him and tell him she wants to speak with him. She used to be thrilled whenever the team or any individual did well,” Shetty said.

The Indian team’s open-top bus ride in 2007 upon their arrival after winning the inaugural World Twenty20 halted for a while below her home on Peddar Road. Mangeshkar had waved at the victorious cricketers.

In 1983, when Kapil Dev’s boys shocked the cricket fraternity by lifting the Prudential World Cup, the BCCI lacked funds to reward the cricketers. Mangeshkar performed at a concert at the Nehru Stadium in New Delhi to raise money. All 14 members, including manager P.R. Man Singh, were paid Rs 1 lakh from the surplus of Rs 21 lakh from the event. 

The remaining amount was used to renovate the Nehru Stadium, which used to regularly host matches.

Since then, as a goodwill gesture, the BCCI has been offering the Mangeshkar family two tickets for every international match in India. The Board also facilitated a charity match between the Indian XI and the Sri Lankan XI in 1998 at Wankhede Stadium to help Mangeshkar raise funds for the hospital in Pune established by her family.

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