Background Matters: Gurav’s Cricket excelled over Tendulkar’s
When Sachin Tendulkar started out, Anil Gurav was Mumbai’s brightest star, offering him tips and once a bat. As Sachin calls it a day, Bharat Sundaresan meets the man who disappeared into the shadows.
Former Mumbai cricketer and a Sachin confidant, Rajesh Sutar, remembers that everyone from Achrekar’s nets thought it would be Gurav among them who would go on to play for India. “He was called the Viv Richards of Mumbai at that point. Even Sachin used to admire his batting a lot,” Sutar says.
They also remember that he had the audacity to overrule coach Achrekar’s stringent rules and continue playing tennis-ball tournaments.
Mangesh Bhalekar, another noted maidan coach, remembers people bunking work to watch Gurav take an opposition attack apart.
Even as Sachin began stealing some of his thunder, Gurav remained the star of Mumbai’s upcoming batting talent, representing Bombay Schools and the Bombay U-19 team.
Talking about the time he lent Sachin his bat, Gurav says: “I was his captain at Sassanian (the cricket club). He wanted to use my bat but was too shy to ask me directly. The request came through Ramesh Parab (now the international scorer at Wankhede), and I told Sachin he could use it provided he made a big score. He said, ‘I will sir’, and went on to score a century with my SG bat,” he says.
A deep breath later, his stained teeth breaking into a huge smile, Gurav says: “Imagine Sachin called me ‘sir’ back then.”
Gurav’s highest score came for Bombay Schools, 135, in a crunch match, where he overshadowed the likes of Sulakshan Kulkarni, the current Mumbai coach, and a few others who would go on to play Ranji Trophy.
His story, of course, would take a completely different tangent. And as he fell from grace, it would coincide with the rise of Sachin.
“Sachin was always special. He had all the shots and a great temperament. He also was blessed in a way, everything happened at the right time for him. Most importantly, he had a great background,” says Gurav. “Background is everything,” he adds, after a pause.
Source: Indian Express
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Tags: Anil Gaurav, Bharatratna and Sachin, Caste, Cricket and Caste, Ramakant Achrekar, Sachin Tendulkar