I would love to join any IPL team as a coach: Vinod Kambli - The Daily Guardian
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I would love to join any IPL team as a coach: Vinod Kambli

Apart from expressing his willingness to join an IPL team, former cricketer Vinod Kambli talks about his record-breaking partnership with Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma’s current form, and how cricket can survive the pandemic.

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Q: How has been your lockdown? Tell us about your activities.

 A: The time has been tough but there’s light at the end of every dark tunnel. I am spending this time in my house with my wife and children. Before this, we used to be very busy and there used to be little bonding within the family. During this lockdown, I realised that family bonding is very important and that’s what I have learnt. We realised the importance of washing hands and masks and other precautionary measures as well.

Vinod Kambli with Sachin Tendulkar.

Q: England is playing with Pakistan after a series with West Indies. The English team is ready to play IPL in India. It seems after darkness, the light has arrived. What do you have to say?

A: Yes. I have seen the series between England and West Indies and I must say that cricket won. They came with a positive mindset and showed the world how cricket could be played. It is a good thing that the IPL is about to start and all the players are also very excited. The guidelines which have been made would have to be followed strictly because life is also important.

Q: If given an offer, would you like to become the coach of an IPL team?

 A: Surely. Why not? I have been a coach. I have played level 3 in South Africa. I have followed IPL since its inception. If any team approaches me, then I will definitely share my experiences.

Q: Tell us something about your association with Sachin Tendulkar’s Middlesex cricket academy. A: Yes, I am connected with Sachin’s Middlesex Global Academy. We got great responses in initial camps and later we decided to come up with an academy. We are having interactions with 200 students even during this lockdown. I am giving online classes. Sachin gave me the responsibility and made me “India Head Coach” of the academy. Cricket never stops. All the children have the same question when would cricket start but right now our aim is to make them mentally fit.

 Q: Do children ask about your bonding and 664-run partnership with Sachin Tendulkar?

A: Credit for my cricket career goes to my father who dreamt of making me a part of Indian cricket team because he was never selected. I fulfilled his dream. Talking about my 664-run record partnership with Sachin, we both were enjoying batting on that day. We were singing and were hitting the balls across the boundaries. The bowlers were tired and were even crying. Sachin and I had decided that we would both make 500 runs each, making it a 1000-run partnership but our coach didn’t agree and ordered us to declare the innings. I was at 349 not out during lunchtime when he asked team’s captain Sachin to stop. I pleaded before him that I needed just 1 more run to complete 350 runs but it yielded no response from him. We were told the next day that we had set a world record of 664 runs and our journey began.

Q: You have made lots of world records in the beginning. But I also heard you hit the first ball of your Ranji Trophy match for a six. Is it true?

A: Yes, it is true. We were playing matches in Surat. A left-arm spinner was in front of me and I couldn’t stop myself and went ahead for a six. I was in the mood. Dileep sir asked me what I was doing and I told him that was how I used to do it.

 Q: You hit most sixes in Wankhede stadium in Mumbai. Tell us about your memories with the stadium.

A: Wankhede Stadium is my favourite ground because this is where I started my Ranji career and the support that I got was immense. Crowd used to cheer “Kambli-Kambli” for me and I can never forget that.

Q: Sachin and you changed Mumbai cricket. Earlier many believed that Mumbai batsmen were defensive but both of you were very aggressive.

A: The style of Sachin and my batting was different. He used to take time first and then came in aggressive mode but I used to bat aggressively as soon as I went because our coach had told us to take advantage of the spinners. I used to start my batting straight from the fifth gear.

Q: You had beaten Shane Warne in Sharjah and had told us that you didn’t give respect to spinners. Why?

A: It was Sidhu who started attacking spinners first. When Shane Warne came to Sharjah, we got 30-40 runs. He set the field up and when I saw the field, I went after him. He even abused me but I was in my mood. I had a lot of fun while playing against Shane Warne.

Q: There are many stories about your bat’s grips. Some even say you used 5 grips for your bat. Is it so?

A: When we played, there were two grips which used to get thin in the Sun. So, I used three grips and sometimes even 5 grips.

Q: Despite experiments, your batting average which was 54, never decreased. You had a different impact. Do you think you could’ve played more cricket?

 A: See, I would say that I played as much as I wanted to play Test cricket. My career started so well. Just one Test series against the West Indies wasn’t good enough. I am not such a bad player either. The answer will be with the selectors as to why I was thrown out.

 Q: You have also played two world cups. If you would want to share a moment with your children at the time of coaching, what would it be?

A: The 600+ partnership between Sachin and me. Then there was a match between India and England and for that we were selected as ball boys and all the senior players were in front of us and we got the opportunity to see them closely. We were playing cricket with the same players in 1992, so the journey was very memorable. The atmosphere that we saw in 1987 made us think to play for India which ultimately happened in 1992.

Q: Do you share this inspirational story with Middlesex academy students as well?

A: Yes, I always want to talk to children more and more and I always share these experiences with them because this inspiration can change their career too. I always keep telling children about mine and Sachin’s career.

Q: Do you think Rohit Sharma will make a good impact in Australia?

A: See it is very important for the player to be in form, whether it is in ODIs or Tests. He can do well in everything and I always say that one should never think about the format but always think of doing well in ODIs also. Rohit is doing the same. Watching him batting is a lot of fun. The sound that comes from his bat is a different kind of fun. When he is in form, no one can stop him.

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