Some school competition match is going on at Azad Maidan. A gentleman is present on the field as his son is batting. Suddenly something happens and the gentleman disappears. They go to Dadar to bring one of their friends with them. To show him his son’s batting. Azad Maidan to Dadar and back, that too in the eighties means one and a half to two hours of course. But they are sure that their son will be playing till they come back. True to his father’s faith, the son also remained on the field. He further fulfilled his father’s promise that his son would play for India. The gentleman and the boy are none other than India’s famous batsmen Vijay Manjrekar and Sanjay Manjrekar, a father and son duo.
There is also a cool story about why Sanjay became a cricketer. When he was eleven, a friend asked him, “What will you do next?” Without a moment’s delay, he replied “to be a cricketer.” “And if you don’t?” asked the friend.
Sanjay had no answer to this question of his friend. Because he never thought about anything other than becoming a cricketer. He had the same reason. For one thing, he grew up in a cricket club like Dadar without a famous cricketer father. So he did not know anything except cricket. He saw the fame his father got as a cricketer, the love he got from people. When players like Gavaskar, Gundappa Vishwanath, Rohan Kanhai came to his house, people used to throng outside the house to see them. With all this happening around us, which kid wouldn’t want to become a cricketer too? That’s what happened to him.
Sanjay started his competitive cricket career from IES English Medium School, Mumbai. Sanjay was not actually in the school team. Vijay Manjrekar wrote a letter to the principal of the school requesting him to join the school’s cricket team. The school was forced to take note of Vijay Manjrekar’s letter. Accordingly, Sanjay was invited to practice with the school’s cricket team. A few days later he also got a chance to play in a practice match. Sanjay, however, could not take advantage of this opportunity. Feeling ashamed that he could not play well, Sanjay stopped going to practice. His absence didn’t matter much to the school team either. The next year, however, without using his father’s vasila, Sanjay took part in the selection test and secured a place in the school team. Later, under his captaincy, the school team won the prestigious competition of the time, the Giles Shield. Sanjay was 11 years old at that time.
Playing at the college level after school, Sanjay captained the Mumbai University team in the Rohinton Barria Inter-University Cup held in Baroda. Along with Sanjay, Rajdeep, son of today’s famous journalist and former cricketer Dilip Sardesai, was also in this team. Sanjay scored six consecutive centuries in this tournament. After seeing the runs he scored, Rajdeep realized that this was not his job and quit playing cricket.
Seeing Sanjay’s performance in this tournament, he was included in Mumbai’s Ranji team for the 1984-85 season. Sanjay scored 57 runs in his first match against Haryana. Under Gavaskar’s leadership, Mumbai won this year’s Ranji Trophy. In the next year’s Ranji season, Sanjay scored 191 runs in 5 matches. In the third season of Ranji (1986-87), Sanjay had a heart attack. He scored 254 runs at an average of 63 in 5 matches played for Mumbai. It included a century and a half-century each.
Personally, the year 1987 was very beneficial for Sanjay. In September 1987 in the semi-final of the Deodhar Cup, Sanjay played an important role in taking the West Division to the final by scoring an unbeaten 95 runs. Immediately after that, in the Duleep Trophy held in October, Sanjay scored 326 runs in two matches playing for the Western Division. This included a double century against Central Division in the semi-final. Sanjay scored a half-century while playing for the rest of India in the Irani Cup held immediately thereafter. As a result of this solid performance, Sanjay was included in India’s Test squad for the series against the West Indies that toured India that year.
Sanjay’s performance in his first Test was not very impressive. Sanjay, who was dismissed for 5 runs in the first innings, had to retire on 10 runs after being hit by the ball in the second innings. Sanjay also played for India in the ODI series of the same tour of West Indies. Even there he could not make his mark. Even after this, Sanjay continued to play in domestic tournaments. In that year’s (1988) Ranji season, he scored 344 runs in 4 matches with a century and 2 fifties.
Sanjay had to wait for over a year to play his second Test match. In April 1989, Sanjay was included in the Indian team that toured the West Indies. In the second Test on this tour, Sanjay scored a century against India’s Malcolm Marshall, Kurtley Ambrose, Ian Bishop, Courtney Walsh. Although India lost the series 3-0, Sanjay’s batting was appreciated. Sanjay forced even Sir Viv Richards to take note of his batting. how much So after the last test they waited in the parking lot waiting for Sanjay. When he arrived, they patted him on the back in appreciation, “Well played man.” Appreciated saying. Sanjay’s batting in this tour also impressed Desmond Haynes.
Sanjay’s next test came in the Pakistan tour of the same year. The series is actually more famous for Sachin’s debut. Therefore, the performance of others in the Indian team during that tour was often overlooked. Famous bowlers like Imran Khan and Abdul Qadir were playing for Pakistan in that tour. The pair of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis were relatively young. In the first Test of this series, Pakistan set a target of 453 runs against India. Sanjay along with Sidhu played an important role in keeping this Test tied by scoring 113 not out. In this four-match series, Sanjay scored 569 runs at an average of 95.
The run rate of Sanjay, who won the hearts of many with his batting and was called India’s second Sunil Gavaskar, however, took a turn for the worse after the Pakistan tour. Sanjay Sapshel failed in India’s tour of New Zealand and Australia in the next one or two years. He scored two half-centuries during the England tour to say no. Barring a century against Zimbabwe in 1992, he did not score much after that. Sanjay also failed in India’s first tour of South Africa. Sanjay was dropped from the team after this tour. Meanwhile, he also played for India in the 1992 and 1996 World Cups. Even in ODI cricket, Sanjay could not make an impression befitting his abilities. Sanjay finally retired from international cricket after the 1996 series against South Africa.
In 37 Test matches played for India, Sanjay scored 2043 runs with 4 centuries. He scored 1994 runs in 74 ODIs. While moving in and out of the Indian team, Sanjay continued to play in domestic competitions for Mumbai. Mumbai won the 1997 Ranji Trophy under his captaincy. Sanjay’s first-class career was accordingly remarkable. He scored 10252 runs at an average of 55 in 147 first-class matches played for Mumbai. It includes 31 centuries and 46 fifties.
After retirement, Sanjay started his second innings in cricket as a commentator. He can be seen in many Indian matches from studio analyst, pitch reporter to post-match presentation. Many cricket fans don’t like Sanjay’s commentary. But it is equally true that not many people can analyze the game like him. Sanjay definitely has what is called a ‘cricketing brain’.
Sanjay’s ability to gauge the quality of a player is admirable. Wasim Jaffer, who holds the record for the most runs in the Ranji Trophy, made his Ranji debut under Sanjay. While the Mumbai selectors were considering whether to play him in the Under-19 team or give him a chance in the Ranji team, Sanjay sided with Jaffer and gave him a chance. What happened next is well known. While the Indian team was practicing during the Titan Cup, a young bowler was falling for Azhar. Sanjay scouted him and invited him to bowl in the Mumbai nets. That bowler was Zaheer Khan.
Even playing street cricket as a child, Sanjay never liked getting out. He used to play with such determination that he did not want to be eliminated no matter what. One of his friends left the match in the middle of such a boring game and left angrily. Sanjay plays with the feeling that he has to have an answer for every delivery from the bowler. Even if he scores a century in a match, he later watches the video clip of his innings and laments where he went wrong. Sanjay is a perfect example of perfectionism. Many say that this obsession with perfection has put his career in jeopardy or failed to take shape. It is true to some extent. Sanjay also admits it while speaking today. Many cricket fans who have seen Sanjay’s game are still lamenting that this good batsman who is full of quality could not do justice to his quality.
Sanjay’s Career –
37 matches, 2043 runs
Matches 74, runs 1994
Matches 147 runs 10252
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