MCC Young Cricketer Raveena Lakhtaria has been swept up in the hype surrounding Sachin Tendulkar’s appearance at Lord’s after bowling at the ‘Little Master.’
Lakhtraia, 18, had the precious opportunity to bowl at her hero as Tendulkar prepared for the England series with a long series of net sessions at the MCC Cricket Academy.
Tendulkar was out of action from the end of the 2011 Indian Premier League until the start of the current tour.
He arrived in England early though, and used his Honorary Life Membership of MCC to utilise the fantastic facilities at the Home of Cricket.
For YC Lakhtaria, who's grandfather played for Kenya, that meant a chance to bowl her off-breaks at the 38-year-old veteran, who starts the Lord’s Test just one century away from 100 in internationals.
Lakhtaria clearly enjoyed her chance to bowl at the man she describes as her ‘hero.’
She said: “I was really nervous and I told one of the coaches how nervous I was. But he told me to just bowl and once I’d bowled the first ball it sort of broke the ice and I was fine.
“I think I got him out LBW but it was close – I’ve got it on video, my mum was recording it!
“He was really good and giving me tips and advice on what to do if the wicket’s not working for you, which was really good.
“You can tell he’s such an honest and humble man – he brings himself down to your level and doesn’t have any ego.”
Lakhtaria, who has recently finished her A-levels, hopes to attend Loughborough University next year where her cricketing development will continue with the MCC Universities scheme (opens in a new window).
The Middlesex youngster has certainly made a name for herself in the last few days, with interest from newspapers and TV in both India and the UK.
Her Coach at MCC, Alan Duncan, has been working extensively with Tendulkar, (as well as Monty Panesar) as he batted his way back into form ahead of possibly his last Test at Lord’s.
Despite nursing a sore shoulder from hours of throwdowns Duncan, a former YC himself, was enjoying the publicity surrounding India’s arrival at Lord’s.
“The hype is massive really, it’s just kicked off.” he said.
“We feel there’s maybe a bigger hype than there was for the Ashes a couple of years ago.”
Duncan has had the pleasure of working with and admiring some of the world’s most prestigious names in more than a decade at MCC.
Tendulkar has been a constant feature at Lord’s over the last few weeks though, and his presence has held Duncan in raptures.
He added: “He enjoys it here because he doesn’t have people chasing him and he can just be himself around the ground, do his training and get ready as he wants.
“For me, getting the chance to chat to him about cricket is a fantastic opportunity.
“He’s so down to earth and just to chat to someone who has faced generations of players – the passion he has to play the game is immense.”