Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar on Thursday (February 22) highlighted the unparalleled contribution of Mumbai for Indian cricket. Addressing the media at an event, the Master Blaster also talked at length about the forthcoming Mumbai T20 League and its vision to shape up the budding cricketers.
"I firmly believe that something like this (Mumbai T20 League) was needed for Mumbai cricket. Mumbai cricket has always led Indian cricket and the numbers are biggest proof. I feel happy to be part of this league," Tendulkar, who is the League Ambassador, quoted as saying by PTI.
"Mumbai have won Ranji Trophy for 41 years, you've got terrific history. I still remember as a kid at Shivaji Park" Kamath Memorial club "Paddy sir (Padmakar Shivalkar) would come and bowl to me. He was possibly thrice my age at that time but he would bowl to me. Such things happen in Mumbai.
"It would be nice if youngsters are playing alongside some big names in Mumbai cricket. They will get to learn and that is something that I am looking forward to," he further added.
Widely deemed as the centre of Indian cricket, Mumbai has produced a number of legendary players over the years. Besides Tendulkar, cricketers such as Ajit Wadekar, Sunil Gavaskar, Dilip Vengsarkar, Sanjay Manjrekar, Vinod Kambli, Rohit Sharma, Ajinkya Rahane among others are some the renowned names that had emerged out from the circle of Mumbai cricket.
Stressing on the significance of competitive league cricket, Sachin said: "When we talk about league cricket, my cricket started at Shivaji Park and then slowly graduated to good gymkhanas on the Marine Drive, and then you go bit further, there are big stadiums also, so it gradually progressed."
"So for any youngster in Mumbai, you need not be playing (with) the season ball. As a kid, I started playing cricket with tennis ball and we found our own ways of playing in the limited time, but from there every aspiring kid needs to have a platform to express his talent. This league is going to provide that opportunity," he explained.
The batting maestro also cited the example of Indian Premier League (IPL), which has become an iconic sporting event now.
"It will be fantastic for youngsters specially because I can speak from my example with IPL. When IPL started, nobody thought where it is today it will get there. But it is not just one-way traffic," Tendulkar concluded.
The Mumbai T20 League will be governed by Probability Sports Private Limited, a group of Probability Sports and Wizcraft, with the permission and support of the Mumbai Cricket Association (MCA). The league will take place from March 11 to 21 and the matches will be played at the buzzing Wankhede stadium.