It’s been 22 years since India lost to Sri Lanka in the World Cup semifinal at Eden Gardens. And the Indian cricket lovers still remember the picture of Vinod Kambli leaving the ground all in tears. In a recent chat with, the former left-handed batsman from India disclosed how that loss still generates a lot of pain in him. Kambli also told that young kids should make Sachin Tendulkar their role model to meet the dream of becoming a successful cricketer.

Here are the excerpts:

CricketSoccer (CS): The picture of a crying Vinod Kambli leaving Eden Gardens after losing the World Cup semifinal match against Sri Lanka still haunts Indian cricket lovers. Do you still recall the painful experience of that night?

Vinod Kambli (VK): They (the television channels) keep showing that clipping of me crying. To be honest, tears roll down my cheeks even today. We had played like terrific cricket throughout the Tournament. We had beaten Pakistan in the quarterfinal. All seemed well still Sachin was batting. But once we lost him, it was downhill from there. I remember watching five batsmen depart while I was at the crease. Had at least one of them kept me company, we would have made a match of it. I cried because I felt robbed of a chance to do it for my country. The entire team hugged me. Most of us were crying. Yes, MSD (Mahendra Singh Dhoni) and boys have won the world cup in 2011, much to the satisfaction of all of us. But the loss in ’96 semifinal still hurts me.

CS: These days you are back in the cricketing field, as a coach. How come you chose to train the budding kids?

VK: When I retired from cricket, it had occurred to me, now what, I thought, will do a commentary or I was an expert on TV, But my love has always been cricket, so I got on to the field. Sachin (Tendulkar) knows how much I love cricket, so he said to me why don’t you start coaching, so I would say that I have embarked a path which he (Tendulkar) has shown and I have started on it. I would say that he (Tendulkar) has a big hand in bringing me back onto the field.

CS: How is the experience so far?

VK: Both me and Sachin are the disciples of great Ramakant Achrekar sir. Whatever we have learnt from Achrekar Sir, so I think the time has come, that to pass it on to the next generation, if the youngsters can take advantage of this, it will be great. I would like to inculcate the values which I learnt from Achrekar sir, especially getting the basic right all the time, whether you are playing for the school, or  Ranji Trophy. Or for your country.

CS: What is your mantra for the young kids?

VK: Usually people say practice makes a man perfect but my coach (Achrekar) Sir used to say perfect practice makes a man perfect, so that’s how I and Sachin and all his students work towards having a perfect practice. I am telling my students this great reality of the world of sports. The result is not entirely in your hands. But what you can control is to make sure that your process of Preparation gets perfect. Achrekar sir always used to say that the role of a coach was 30 per cent and that of the players was 70 per cent but that 30-percent is equal to 100 per cent.

CS: Who should be the example before the budding cricketers and why?

VK: I think they should follow Sachin. Every budding cricketer should know the life story of Sachin, how he fulfilled his dream and how much effort did he put in to achieve the India cap. Reaching the top of the cricketing world and remaining there for almost two decades, it’s not a matter of joke. Young cricketers should idolize him and look up to him for inspiration.

CS: Who is the best batsman in the world today?


VK: Of course, it’s Virat Kohli. There are some other names like Joe Root, Kane Williamson and Steve Smith. But the way Virat is performing in every nook and corner of the world and with such consistency, he must be the man to beat. His batting looks effortless. Its a pleasure to the eyes.

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