Former India captain and manager Ajit Wadekar spilled the beans about "prankster Sachin Tendulkar", who once got half a dozen belly dancers on his 53rd birthday during the team's tour of New Zealand back in 1994. (Sachin Tendulkar Makes Instagram Debut)
During a Cricket Club of India function, here on Friday, Wadekar recalled how Tendulkar had pulled a fast one on him during that particular tour. "There was this incident in New Zealand. It was on my birthday which is on April 1. We had a lovely nets session the day before and I retired to bed early as I used to fool others on All Fools' Day.
"I was half asleep when at the stroke of midnight, Sachin was at my room door with a serious look on his face," Wadekar recalled during his keynote address at the Legends' Summit on the occasion of Tendulkar's 42nd birthday.
"I asked Sachin why he was knocking at my door at such an odd hour and he said that something was wrong with Kapil Dev. I wore my pyjamas and went to Kapil's room two floors away. When we entered the room, I saw the entire team with a cake and a champagne bottle. I was shocked and surprised," the septuagenarian fondly recollected. (Interesting Facts About Sachin Tendulkar)
What he said after that had the audience in splits. "Suddenly, from the connecting room, belly dancers, six of them, walked in and started dancing. I wondered this must have been Sachin's idea as Sunny (Sunil Gavaskar), though a commentator on that tour, was not to be seen. Sunny is famous for his pranks but this must have been Sachin's idea," Wadekar said bringing peals of laughter from those present.
"I really enjoyed the belly dancing and had two glasses of champagne, before I realised that everyone had started leaving. I was suddenly left with one belly dancer. Being the manager of the team, I had to observe the code of conduct and retire to my room," he added cheekily.
On Tendulkar's cricketing acumen, Wadekar recollected another incident during a series in Sri Lanka.
"We were playing in Sri Lanka and he would come up with ideas. After team meetings, he would come to my room and have dinner so that he did not have to pay for it," there was another round of laughter.
"Sachin came up with the idea of us starting to attack by bowling only on the middle and leg-stump line. I said to him, "If you can show me how one can bowl all six balls on middle and leg, I will take it seriously".
Next day, he did bowl six balls on middle and leg. That is Sachin Tendulkar. He is above everyone else."