It was in 2005 when Sachin Tendulkar took centre stage at the Ferozeshah Kotla in the Capital and the occasion was the benefit match for former Delhi and Punjab cricketer — Gursharan Singh. It was perhaps a one-off time when Tendulkar decided against not leaving the crease even after being adjudged out. It was simply because he came to entertain the crowd and he did it in his typical style.
More than 16 years later, Gursharan Singh is still nostalgic about that memorable game. And why not? The who’s who of Indian cricket attended the event — Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, MS Dhoni, Yuvraj Singh, Anil Kumble, Ajay Jadeja to Virender Sehwag.
“Everyone came to play my benefit match. I remember Jadeja telling me that he felt nice to hear Sourav Ganguly came all the way to play that match for you. Sachin had his birthday two days before that game, and he promised me that he would turn up for the match. It is their greatness that they all came to play at my benefit match,” Gursharan told SGTV.
This match also saw a young and emerging MS Dhoni giving out his phone numbers innocently to journalists and realizing his mistake later. Recalling that moment, Gursharan said: “Players also need to have their privacy. When you become famous and doing well, more people want to talk to you.”
But Gursharan has no regret about not playing that many games for India. “I gave my best shot,” he said while adding that the game teaches you to stay honest all through.
Otherwise, how on earth would you explain Gursharan Singh telling a schoolboy Murali Karthik that he would play for India one day. “Murali’s release reminded me so much of Maninder Singh. The way Karthik’s deliveries used to drift, turn and bounce, he displayed exceptional skills. I knew there, and then, Murali Karthik could play for India, and he did,” Gursharan, who is the batting coach of the Delhi senior state team, added.