Sachin and I were in touch through messages, says Kambli

The former India cricketer and childhood friend of Sachin Tendulkar opens up on their renewed friendship and future plan to share their cricket education with the younger players in Mumbai.

Sachin Tendulkar (centre), Vinod Kambli (right) with Rajdeep Sardesai at the latter's book launch in Mumbai.   -  Twitter (@vinodkambli349)

“He probably missed my silly jokes. On Monday — at the launch of Rajdeep Sardesai’s book ‘Democracy XI: The Great Indian Cricket Story’ in Mumbai — when I cracked a few bad jokes, he laughed like he used to,” Vinod Kambli told Sportstar, on his renewed friendship with the Indian cricket icon and his childhood friend, Tendlya.

In the late eighties, the duo plundered every bowling attack that came their way. The magic started in 1988, when they stitched a record 664-run partnership in the semifinal of The Harris Shield Tournament for Shardashram Vidyamandir against St Xavier’s High School. Kambli remained unbeaten on 349, Tendulkar on 326.

Read: Now, a film on Tendulkar's mentor Achrekar

The two went on to play for India. But eventually, Kambli fell off the radar and his career took a downward spiral. So did their friendship.

‘Bury the past’

In 2009, Kambli had accused Tendulkar of not doing enough for him (to save his career) in a television interview which apparently soured their friendship. He wasn’t even invited to Tendulkar’s farewell Test at the Wankhede Stadium in 2013. “But I have forgotten everything, so has he. It is a fresh beginning by the grace of God,” Kambli said, adding, “It stayed between the two of us and now, we have decided to bury past incidents and give our friendship a fresh try. We agreed on this mutually. The reunion was long pending, eight years to be precise. Once we met and spoke, everything was back to normal.”

They didn’t meet for years, but the emotions never faded; that was probably why they weren’t awkward at the event. “It wasn’t awkward, because I was in touch with him throughout these years. I used to message him on his birthdays, wish him on New Years, Christmas and Diwali. He used to reply to all messages. Now, we are going to celebrate every festival together as a family,” revealed the 45-year-old who represented India from 1991-2000.

Along with Tendulkar, Kambli is keen to share a part of their cricket education with the youngsters in Mumbai. “My criteria will be to provide a slice of our knowledge that we learned from (Ramakant) Achrekar sir to the younger generation of cricketers in the city. It is one of my dreams,” he added.

At present, the former India southpaw wants to soak in the moment and then, “plan it out.”

‘Stronger and wiser’ Tendulkar

“The first step was memorable and touching, it was like having a different dish. I have to sit with him and also decide where all we can hang out,” he informed.

Kambli also believes that his childhood friend, now a retired cricket legend, hasn’t changed as a person. “There is no difference in him, but he is definitely stronger and wiser.”

Compared to Tendulkar’s staggering numbers, Kambli only played 17 Tests and 104 ODIs. But he is still remembered for consecutive Test double-centuries he had scored in 1993, two years after his debut in international cricket.

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