By Martin D’Souza | Opening Doorz Editorial | April 23, 2023

A day before Sachin Tendulkar turned 15, a day before he turns 50!

Sachin Tendulkar will turn 50 tomorrow, but today, April 23, is perhaps the day Mumbai saw the image of this boy who would one day be king.

April 23, 1988, was a day when these priceless images were captured on one of Mumbai’s cricket maidans. More about this photograph and the photographer later.

At the felicitation of Sachin Tendulkar a few days ago at the Cricket Club of India, Mumbai, the cricketer spoke about his early days. The mention of his very first interview had me covered in goosebumps.

Sachin Tendulkar Sunil Warrier
April 23, 1988… the first time Sachin Tendulkar was carried by his teammates. Pic Credit: The late Thomas Rocha.

I read a couple of newspapers and then I read The Hindustan Times which I have begun subscribing to since the start of April. The name of Sunil Warrier (now Resident Editor of Times of India, Nagpur) has been mentioned in the report in HT. If Sachin has mentioned Warrier’s name I fail to understand what prompted other journalists to keep his [Warrier’s] name out of their reports in their respective publications.

Such petty reporting gets no one anywhere. I was clean-bowled by Sachin mentioning his first interview and the name of the journalist who first interviewed him. This was indeed humbling for a man who has achieved so much. He did not have to remember Sunil Warrier. After all, there were so many others who have interviewed him. But Sunil Warrier he remembers and also remembers to mention his name at a gathering.

But yes, the first time is always special. Thank you Sachin for remembering one of us in your felicitation! It says a lot about your humility.

Sunil Warrier could have done a Sachin Tendulkar!

The Times of India, a day later, ran an interview with Sunil Warrier who as expected was also humbled by the fact that Sachin not only remembered his first interview but also mentioned him in front of the sports journalists from Mumbai.

Sunil went on to reminisce about the interview, not knowing exactly which year it was. I would peg it at 1988. It was not 1985-86. But what is strikingly different about Sunil and Sachin is that while Sachin remembered Sunil, Sunil fails to mention the name of the publication that allowed him to interview the little star.

But then again, to be fair to Sunil Warrier, he may have mentioned the name of the tabloid and it would have been edited before being published. After all, it’s a rival publication. How can they get publicity? But then again, it is a fact and it should be mentioned.

But then again, it would have not made the publication shorter in stature if they had mentioned the name of the tabloid of Sachin’s first interview. We all need each other and any chance to lift the other along the way goes a long way in creating a peaceful, happy environment. Business-wise, everyone grows!

Hindustan Times is leading the way

Hindustan Times is standing out with its News Sense and design. Being generous in its reportage in giving credit where it’s due is one of the basic tenets of journalism. That’s why Sunil Warrier’s name appears in this honest report which not only gives an all-rounded view of the celebration but also respects the reader, another basic tenet of journalism.

In most newspapers, the presentation of news today is nauseating. However, in Hindustan Times, there’s a method to the madness—there’s a proper manner in which the front page is given its respect with balanced news.

The inside pages too have in-depth city reportage that is lacking in many broadsheets that have lost good journalists and with that their News Sense… for whatever reasons.

Meenal Baghel who has taken over Hindustan Times is one of those from the old school of journalism and her quality is seen in the newspaper. I have developed a healthy appetite for how the news is dished out here.

Well done, Meenal. Well done also to the Sports Editor, Sanjeev Samyal, who allowed Sunil Warrier’s name to take the pride of place in the Sachin’s piece.

Now for the photograph and the photographer

A day before Sachin Tendulkar turned 15, the late Thomas Rocha, who worked with the Free Press Journal captured one of the defining moments of Schools Cricket and Sachin Tendulkar with Vinod Kambli.

Of all the action photographs that he developed in the dark room after returning from the grounds on April 23, 1988, the Sports Desk at the Free Press Journal (of which I was also a part ) selected the group pic of Sachin being carried by his teammates. Sharadashram had scored 590 and in reply, Anjuman Islam was 269 for 8 in the Harris Shield Cricket final.

Sachin Tendulkar Sunil Warrier
Sachin Tendulkar being carried by his teammates for the first time on April 23, 1988 (left). Virat Kohli carrying Sachin Tendulkar on his shoulders on April 02, 2011, twenty-three years later.

Years later, Virat Kohli would carry Sachin on his shoulders around the Wankhede Stadium after Sachin’s dream of winning a World Cup came true.

This B & W image has a lot of famous faces from Mumbai cricket, apart from the one on the extreme left and the extreme right.

Another image of Rocha’s in cricket was when he captured Chetan Sharma’s Hat-trick against New Zealand in the Reliance World Cup in 1987. It was in the old Press Box at the Wankhede Stadium. Sitting right on the front row, his thumb moved rapidly on the balloon shutter (if I may call it so: A long wire that extended from the click button with a balloon-like object to click) he captured Sharma knocking the wickets of Ken Rutherford, Ian Smith, and Ewen Chatfield off consecutive balls.

Rocha was known for his portraits of everyday people, and his images often captured the spirit and resilience of the people of Mumbai. He had a unique ability to connect with his subjects, and his photographs had a way of bringing out their personalities and stories. Like it did in these photographs.

Arjun Tendulkar needs rhythm and fluidity

Sachin Tendulkar Sunil Warrier
Arjun Tendulkar will have to have fluidity in his run-up and rhythm as the arm rotates to deliver the ball. Right now there’s a jerky movement. Pic Credit: sachintendulkar/Instagram.

Finally, Sachin paaji, I hope this does not sound too arrogant… Forgive me if it does. That’s not the idea. Arjun Tendulkar is a fine young lad with the hunger to play cricket visible in his eyes. However, to develop as a fast bowler of quality, he will have to have fluidity in his run-up and rhythm as the arm rotates to deliver the ball. Right now there’s a jerky movement. The whole action is found wanting. Correct that, and you will see a different Tendulkar with the ball. A stint with Ashish Nehra or Wasim Akram will do the lad a world of good.

[Moody Marty: Sometimes funny, sometimes informative, always downright forthright!]

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