Free Press Journal

Aila! Tendulkar and Kambli friends again: The good, bad and glorious partnership


Cricket is a game of partnerships. Whether it is on the field or off the field, partnerships plays a very important role in the synergy of the team. The game of cricket has seen many partnerships from opening batsman to opening bowlers and some partnerships just click and the friendships lasts forever even after retiring from the game. Indian cricket in its glorious history has seen many wonderful partnerships and friendships and one such partnership that stands out is between Mumbai’s very own Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli.

Starting young, and together
Tendulkar and Kambli both started playing cricket around the same age. Kambli was one year older than Tendulkar and both were coached by legendary Ramakant Achrekar, and both were destined to play for India. Kambli and Tendulkar had lots of similarities and became household names. Famously, when playing for their school in Harris Shield cricket, they shared a partnership of 664 runs and it struck a chord with fans.

While Tendulkar went on to play for India at the age of 16, Kambli had to bide his time to play for the nation. According to many experts and people who closely follow Mumbai cricket, Kambli was more talented and charismatic among the two and had a flair in his game. The records of Tendulkar and Kambli are there for everyone to see and while the master blaster went ahead and became a legend, Kambli’s career nosedived rapidly.

Life and sport closely resemble each other and Kambli learnt this the hard way as after hitting double hundreds so early in his Test career, Kambli intentionally or unintentionally took the game very lightly and suffered dire consequences. Tendulkar, on the other hand, continued to work hard and played the game over 24 years at the highest level and became a legend that he always aspired to be.

Here’s a video of Tendulkar and Kambli going down memory lane


Friendship sours
Every relationship has its ups and downs and the relationship between former friends turned sour when Kambli appearing in a TV show held Tendulkar responsible for his career failing and said that if Tendulkar had pushed him or helped him, his career could have been saved. He alleged that Tendulkar turned a blind eye during the most difficult period of his life. Tendulkar maintained his composure and kept mum about the issue, but according to reports, master blaster was deeply hurt by Kambli’s rather personal and direct attack and the relationship took an extreme turn. Kambli wasn’t part of Sachin’s final Test and did not even mention him in his famous farewell speech.

Burying the hatchet
But, life, just like sports, invariably has a happy ending and it was rather surprising and, at the same time, nice to see when Tendulkar and Kambli being spotted together at veteran journalist Rajdeep Sardesai’s book launch function. The book launch of “Democracy’s XI: The great Indian Cricket Story” was attended by former Indian greats, and it was refreshing to see Kambli and Tendulkar burying the hatchet and behaving like adults to keep their differences aside. The meeting could be a new chapter in the ever-evolving friendship of Kambli and Tendulkar.