Friday, November 13, 2009

Sachin's passion hasn't diminished: Amre

Mumbai: Former Test batsman Pravin Amre on Friday hailed Sachin Tendulkar, who completes 20 years of international cricket this week, for retaining the same passion with which he had approached the game as a schoolboy.

"When people feel they have achieved something after being in international cricket for five years nowadays, here's someone who has kept going for 20 years," Amre said.

"He used to be at the Shivaji Park at 2 pm after the school and he and others would keep playing till the time they could not sight the ball. His passion for the game and commitment has not diminished even a little as was seen when he scored that magnificent 175 against Australia," he said.

Amre recalled the way Tendulkar silenced all the Doubting Thomases after being picked for the tough tour of Pakistan in 1989.

"The cricket fans said international cricket is tough and playing against Pakistan is tougher. But the way he answered them was amazing," said Amre about Tendulkar's debut in Tests and ODIs against Imran Khan's tough-as-nails Pakistan outfit.

Amre said he would forever cherish his first ODI at the Eden Gardens, Kolkata against South Africa in their famously chronicled return to international cricket after more than two decades because of their apartheid policies.

"It was my debut in international cricket and we were 60 for four when I joined Tendulkar. We put on a partnership (of 56) in front of 100,000 roaring spectators and that helped India to victory. I can never forget it," said Amre who is now the coach of the Mumbai Ranji Trophy team.

Tendulkar made 62 and Amre 55 as India managed to chase 177 successfully for the loss of seven wickets on November 10, 1991.

Another memory cherished by Amre, who made a Test century on debut in 1992 in South Africa, was the Mumbai Test of 1992-93 against England when three Shardashram boys played and contributed to India's win in front of their mentor Ramakant Achrekar.

"Vinod (Kambli) got a double hundred (224) Sachin got an eighty (78) and I got a fifty (57). All three of us - Shardashram boys - contributed to India's win and Achrekar Sir was there to see it. I will always remember that," the 41-year-old Mumbai-born Amre recalled fondly.

India won the third and final Test at the Wankhede Stadium by an innings to complete a whitewash over Graham Gooch's England team.

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