Cricket icon Sachin Tendulkar on Friday recalled how former BCCI President Raj Singh Dungarpur helped him for the major part his long career. Tendulkar inaugurated a gate named after Dungarpur, who was former selection committee chairman, at the Cricket Club of India (CCI). "It is a great feeling to come back to CCI. When it comes to Raj Bhai I really don't know where to start because I get confused, we had that kind of relationship, he has guided me all the way," he said. The Master Blaster recalled the time when Dungarpur saw him for the first time.
"The first time Raj Bhai saw me was when I was 13-14, I had scored some runs against CCI, I was playing for Shivaji Park Youngsters, I had scored some runs, even Madhav Apte Sir was that time keeping for CCI and it was an honour to play against him.
"Once my name was recommended to Raj Bhai, he told me to come and play for CCI and bent all possible rules and allowed me to get in the dressing room at the age of 14, I was the only one and slowly slowly in your (CCI's) company got comfortable and results started following."
He also recalled how the late Raj Singh Dungarpur was enthusiastic on his last tour as a manager of the Indian team for the Pakistan tour of 2004-05.
"When Raj Bhai was on his last tour as manager which was 2005-06 in Pakistan, I could still feel his passion for the game despite his old age," he said.
Tendulkar further said that the former BCCI chief helped him to train abroad by bringing in sponsors.
"Raj Bhai always helped youngsters, I am the lucky one and all the way he has guided me, there were occasions where I had to go on foreign tours and one did not have deep pockets then and Raj Bhai was instrumental in getting the sponsors to make sure that I get that experience.
"I went to London a couple of times, and after that the encouragement continued. I got selected for Mumbai Ranji team and at that time coincidentally Raj Bhai was the Chairman of the Selection Committee and I had scored runs.
"My first season of Ranji Trophy was successful one," he said.
Tendulkar also remembered that how Dungarpur told him that he wasn't going to the West Indies tour in 1989.
"There were usual discussions whether Sachin would go to West Indies or not, so Raj Bhai came to me when I was playing the semifinal at the Wankhede stadium against Delhi.
"I had scored runs in the first innings and Raj Bhai walked up to me and he said I will tell you one thing that you will not go to West Indies, you focus on this match and if you get a chance to play in the final then score there and after that you are focusing on SSC exams, I was in 10th standard."
Tendulkar said Raj Bhai assured him that if he continued to play well back then, the day when he would play for India was not too far.
"And his words came true and I played for India in November same year (against Pakistan in Pakistan in 1989)."