On Thursday, less than 24 hours before receiving the Col. C.K.Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award, Vengsarkar spoke to The Telegraph.
Among the most accomplished and elegant of batsmen, Vengsarkar, now 58, scored over 10,000 runs in Tests and ODIs.
Moment No.1 (1975-76): My 110 for Bombay against Rest of India in the Irani Trophy... The Nagpur wicket was a slow turner and Rest’s attack included Bishan Bedi and Erapalli Prasanna. My innings helped Bombay take the lead, which was enough to lift the Trophy... Actually, I got to play only because Eknath Solkar was injured. Destiny, therefore, played a big hand. Till that match, my first-class experience had been limited to one innings and a zero. The Nagpur hundred put me in the headlines, lifted my confidence and helped me make the 1975-76 tour of New Zealand. Clearly, an innings which stands out for more than one reason.
Moment No.2 (1979): The first of my three Test hundreds at Lord’s — 103. That was my first tour of England and some former players had forecast I wouldn’t get runs... Well, I was happy to prove them all so wrong.
Moment No.3 (1983): Our maiden World Cup win, which changed the face of cricket in India. It’s disappointing I didn’t play in the memorable final, but I’d realised that a winning combination would be retained... In fact, I didn’t play the last four matches, after being hit on the chin by Malcolm Marshall. That blow at The Oval, which made me retire on 32, resulted in seven stitches.
Moment No.4 (1986): I’d like to pick two moments...
My third Test hundred — 126 not out — at Lord’s... It was a huge moment for I became the first non-Englishman to record that feat. Almost three decades later, my record still stands. So, it’s something to look back on with pride.
The 102 not out at Headingley, in the very next Test. We won there and took an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. That I was the MoM made it that much sweeter. It remains among the most special of Tests for me.
Moment No.5 (1987-88, 2007-08): Again, two moments...
I got a hundred in my first Test as captain, so the 102 at the Kotla, against the West Indies makes my list. It’s a pity we lost the match, but getting to three-figures in a Test with so much significance still stays somewhere right at the top.
India winning the inaugural World T20... It was long after I’d retired, but it definitely was a feather in my cap as chairman of the senior selection committee. After that win, courtesy a sensational finish against Pakistan, the format just took off in India.
Tips for the next generation...
It’s important to have loads of self-belief. If you don’t believe in your own self, your abilities, how will the others have belief in you? Accept the challenges head-on. Secondly, you should, at all times, play to potential... Finally, make the most of a start, make the most of form, for you never know when you could run into turbulence. You can’t take anything for granted.
Finally, if he’ll be remembering somebody more than the others when he gets the Award...
(Emotionally) I’ll be remembering a lot of people... My teammates, many of whom keep making headlines... Others as well. I’ll probably single out Vasu Paranjpe, the captain of my club — Dadar Union... He did have an influence on me as a cricketer and deserves to be thanked publicly.
The Telegraph, Calcutta