When I bowled to Gavaskar and Patil

The veteran actor shares his special memories with cricket and tennis.

Mumbai: Bollywood actor Naseeruddin Shah addresses during a book launch titled 'Beloved Delhi' by author Saif Mahmood, in Mumbai, Monday, Sept 17, 2018. (PTI Photo)(PTI9_18_2018_000043A)   -  PTI

I never learnt the technicalities of cricket but the game has always been special to me and playing it was as enjoyable as acting and I have sharp memories of my cricketing days in school. I still remember the sixes I hit, catches I took and how I got bowled in a match. It’s amazing how these things stick to the memory. I doubt if professional cricketers remember that much (laughs).

I have had electric moments on field as well. One of my favourite memories is bowling to Sunil Gavaskar on the sets of Malamaal (1988). He made a guest appearance in the film.

Around the time when Sir Viv Richards retired, there was an exhibition match between cricketers and film personalities. I bowled to Sandeep Patil. I consider it a great achievement that he didn’t hit me for six sixes, in fact not for a single one! After the over, he told me, “tight bowling, Mr. Shah.”

Richards was three feet away, along with Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, who was umpiring. Kapil Dev was there too. Being on the same ground with such giants is a special memory.

I also used to play tennis. I had to stop due to a back problem. I had once partnered Leander (Paes) against Mahesh Bhupathi and Amitabh Bachchan in a charity match. We had won that match!

As told to Wriddhaayan Bhattacharyya