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MCA helped fulfill dream of playing for India: Tendulkar

Last updated on: November 12, 2013 07:17 IST

MCA helped fulfill dream of playing for India: Tendulkar

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Harish Kotian

The Mumbai Cricket Association paid tribute to batting icon Sachin Tendulkar on Monday by renaming its sports complex at Kandivali, in North Mumbai, as 'Sachin Tendulkar Gymkhana'.

Tendulkar, 40, will retire after the second and final Test against the West Indies at the Wankhede stadium, in Mumbai, from November 14-18.

The master batsman thanked the MCA for their continuous support over the years and making practice facilities available to him since the time he started playing for Mumbai at the Under-15 level.

“My association with Mumbai cricket started almost 29 years ago when I represented Mumbai in the Under-15 tournament, and from there on it has been a fantastic journey.

"Whenever I wanted to practice, wherever I wanted to practice, MCA made sure that I had the right facilities, the right pitches, the right bowlers to practice, to prepare myself for first the junior level to play for Mumbai and then go on to achieve my dream of playing for India. To play for India has been truly memorable.,” Tendulkar said.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani

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'I want to again thank MCA'

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The entire Indian team was present at the function, while the West Indies team had some of their players, including Darren Sammy and manager Richie Richardson, present.

Other eminent dignitaries present included Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan, MCA president and Union Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, Mayor of Mumbai Sunil Prabhu.

Situated in Kandivali in suburban Mumbai, the MCA sports complex has top facilities for sportspersons of various disciplines, including a sprawling cricket practice ground, swimming pool, bowling alley, pool tables and a games zone. The complex also has provision for athletes to stay, with around 14 rooms, and the MCA hopes to open more such facilities in Dombivali and Badlapur.

Tendulkar pointed out how such facilities like the MCA's at the Bandra Kurla complex, which includes indoor nets, helped him train in all seasons.

"Talking about the MCA club, a few years you didn’t have the MCA BKC club and practicing during monsoon was tough because there were no indoor nets, so I used to actually go out in the playgrounds and practice even when it was raining. In the rain it was lot of fun and my friends would get together and practice.

"In the past few years when the MCA BKC facility was built, a beautiful indoor facility is available to us anytime. Here, I want to again thank MCA for making the nets available to me at any odd hour; all I had to do is make one phone call and say that I am coming down and the nets were ready for me. Without the preparation, things would not have been the same," he said.


Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani

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'To play for India has been truly memorable'

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The veteran batsman reasoned that to be a successful cricketer for such a long period different kind of preparation was required to suit conditions in foreign countries which was possible at the MCA facility at BKC.

"To play for India has been truly memorable. I think every step was different and every tour required different kind of preparation."

He lastly took the opportunity to thank the huge gathering of fans both inside and outside the Kandivali complex.

"Thank you very much for all the respect, all the care, all the love you have showered me with. I really appreciate, not just this evening but the last 24 years," he said.


Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani

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Isha Sharvani performed a traditional dance

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The event saw Bollywood actress Isha Sharvani perform a traditional dance to kick-off the ceremony, while popular singer Shaan belted out a few of Tendulkar’s favourites -- Kishore Kumar’s hit numbers.

Tendulkar was also presented a painting by Nashik-based painter Prafull Sawant on the occasion, as a farewell gift by the MCA. It was presented to him by Pawar, Chavan and Prabhu.

Chief Minister Chavan also paid rich tribute to Tendulkar, saying he will miss his presence on the field.

"Sachin is one of the greatest Indians, a great sportsperson and a great hero. He has given India years and years of sporting pleasure. He is admired not only here but all over the world. We all rejoice his success. I am sure Test cricket will miss him," he said.


Image: Isha Sharvani performing at the function in Kandivali
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani

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