Dilip Vengsarkar had a big role in two of Indian cricket’s history-altering decisions. It was his input, along with a host of others’, that led to Sachin Tendulkar’s selection into the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team back in 1988.
Vengsarkar also chaired the selection committee when M.S. Dhoni was chosen as India’s skipper for the inaugural World T20 in 2007. On Tuesday, at the launch of the book The Lords of Wankhede’here, the India great recalled both incidents.
“I was playing a Times Shield game at Parsee Gymkhana before my 100th Test and the late Vasu Paranjape insisted that I look at a 14-year-old boy named Sachin in the Harris Shield final. I went during Tea and Sachin made a 300 in that match.
“Vasu sir then insisted that Sachin be brought to the Indian nets and I was like ‘he is too young.’ But he came and batted so confidently against the likes of Kapil Dev, Arshad Ayub and others. That same day Mumbai was picking the Ranji Trophy team and I asked them to select Sachin. Even if not in the XI, but at least to groom him.
“He scored a century on debut against Gujarat. Then [he scored another] century in Duleep Trophy. Then [a] century in Irani Trophy and then he went to Pakistan. The rest is history.”
About Dhoni, the decision appeared more straightforward, for the charismatic cricketer was already part of the Indian set-up.
“He was very aggressive and of extremely positive mindset, and everyone readily agreed,” Vengsarkar said. “He had not led his state or East Zone, but we made the choice.”
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