In the middle of financial difficulty, retired Indian cricketer Vinod Kambli requests work from MCA and asks his supporters to pray and love him.
Vinod Kambli was a statistician’s dream less than 30 years ago. In his first seven Tests, he scored 793 runs, which is the number of Test runs. His 1993 Test batting average was 113.29. His top scores for the year were 224 and 227. His current financial situation is such that he would do anything related to cricket to acquire these sums of money.
Kambli, 50, would have been hard to identify if we hadn’t been expecting him, slow-walking to the table at the MCA-BKC coffee shop on a soggy Tuesday afternoon with a grey beard and cap. Although he emphasises afterwards that one must be fit to coach a team, the weight loss may not suggest he is extremely fit.
We are used to seeing Kambli with a gold chain, a bracelet and a grand watch. There was nothing of that sort and his cell phone screen is damaged on one side.
He did not drive a car to the club, his well-wisher Nadim Memon picked him up from his Bandra West residence. Kambli also ensured he didn’t waste his half-smoked cigarette.
Outside the coffee shop, Kambli tells us that he needs work and that his only source of income is “BCCI’s Rs 30,000 pension.”
He last coached a team in the 2019 T20 Mumbai League and guided young cricketers at the Tendulkar Middlesex Global Academy in Nerul. The first post-Covid edition of the T20 league has yet to materialise. And where coaching work at the academy is concerned, Kambli said he found Nerul too far to travel to-“I used to wake up at 5am, take a cab to DY Patil Stadium. It was very hectic. I would then coach at the BKC ground in the evening.”
Thankful to BCCI
We ask him to elaborate on his financial difficulties. “I am a retired cricketer, who is completely dependent on the pension from the BCCI. My only payment [source of income] at the moment is from the Board, for which I am really thankful and grateful. It takes care of my family,” he says.
“I need assignments, where I can work with youngsters. I know Mumbai have retained Amol [Muzumdar] as their head coach, but if anywhere I am needed, I am there. We have played together and we were a great team. That’s what I want them [current Mumbai team] to do…to play as a team.
“I was seeking help from the MCA [Mumbai Cricket Association]. I came into the CIC [Cricket Improvement Committee], but it was an honorary job. I went to the MCA for some help. I have a family to look after. I told the MCA many times that if you require me, I am there whether it is at the Wankhede Stadium or at BKC. Mumbai cricket has given me a lot. I owe my life to this game.”