Vinod Kambli was seen in the action again, but this timein a coaching role. Kambli, who last played for India in 2000, was appointed the coach of Shivaji Park Lions in T20 Mumbai League.
The 46-year-old revealed that it was Sachin Tendulkar who asked him to take this role. “It was a wonderful experience to walk into the grass, where I normally belong. It was a challenge as I was doing it for the first time, but with all my experience from whatever cricket I have played, I kept having one-on-one interactions with the players cheering them up and guiding them how to go about a T20 game,” Kambli told Sportstar on Thursday.
"The players were keen to listen as we hadn’t done well in the league stages, but we came back in a positive way,” he added.
His team finished as runners-up in the inaugural season of T20 Mumbai League. The Lions lost the final to Triumph Knights by three runs.
Tendulkar and Kambli were seen together after a long time, last year. The latter said it was Sachin's idea for him to take up the coaching role.
“It all started because of Sachin. When I met him, he told me, ‘Vinod, it’s high time you should give back to the game’ and that’s how I got a coaching job at Mumbai Cricket Association’s Academy (Recreation Centre) at the Bandra Kurla Complex, which led to this offer. Even I wanted to do something for the game. Whatever I have learnt from my coach Ramakant Achrekar sir, it was time to pay back,” told Kambli.
The Mumbai born batsman might have missed playing the T20 format, but Kambli said he has followed it thoroughly as an expert. “I missed out on playing T20 due to injuries, but in the meanwhile, I was watching games and giving expert opinions to the media,” he revealed.
The former India cricketer is keen to share his experience and happy to coach any team. He also added that his favorite IPL team is Mumbai Indians. “I am open to any offer from any team. I can share my experience interacting with cricketers, the same way I contributed to the Shivaji Park Lions; Mumbai Indians is close to my heart.”
However, there is no clarity whether Kambli will continue as a mentor of the Lions if there is a second season. “I have to take a decision. There will be a meeting to decide what’s next. There will be a revamp.”
Kambli wants to bat again in the leagues featuring veterans. “I am completely fit. I am working hard on my fitness. Whenever I get an opportunity in the academy, I also bat.
“When I entered the Wankhede stadium as a mentor, my hands were itching and I felt like taking the bat and going in,” he added.