'Aussie' friend helped Sachin in practice

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/s/sachinmohali_ap.jpg' class='caption'> Subroto Banerjee, who played in the early 90s and now lives in Australia, helped Tendulkar practice in Sydney.

Updated: March 04, 2008 10:05 IST
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Sachin Tendulkar's 19-year-long career has seen him form many friendships and attract numerous admirers in all the cities he's travelled to.

His longevity means he has seen several team mates come and go. One of them is Subroto Banerjee who still has a strong relationship with the little master.

Banerjee may not have made a mark in international cricket, but he is now a certified Under-19 bowling coach in Australia and trains some of the best fast bowling talent in the world. No wonder then that old friend Tendulkar always calls upon Banerjee's services when he is in Sydney.

"It's my good fortune that I get to bowl to Sachin," Banerjee says. "Not everyone gets that chance. When ever he comes to Sydney he calls me to bowl to him."

It seems like Subroto's hard work with Sachin is paying off at the right time. He helped Tendulkar tone up and score that scintillating 100 in the Sydney Test, and a second session with Subroto has resulted in the Bombay Bomber's first one-day hundred in Australia on Sunday.

Subroto says, "Anything for an old friend."

"We have been good friends since we toured together in Australia," says Banerjee who had toured Australia for the 1992 World Cup, and the Benson and Hedges triangular series just before it.

"I've actually know him since my days in the MRF academy. He was 13 years old at the time when he used to come to bat. He came to Madras with Vasu Paranjpe. I used to bowl to him at the nets for hours."

Banerjee played six ODIs and a single Test, which was incidentally in Sydney. He was mostly criticized for not being able to bowl long spells. But he's had a successful run as coach.

Now 39, he had retired from cricket in 1992. Even though he trains Australian cricketers, he says his heart will forever be in India.

"Being with the team brings to memory the tours I had been in the team," he says. "Though I am not with them, I am still with them."

With Tendulkar notching up Test and one-day hundreds in Sydney, there is much for Subroto and India to celebrate.

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