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I don't agree with neutral venues: Tendulkar

January 09, 2009 22:38 IST

India's batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar on Friday said he was not in favour of playing matches at neutral venues as it takes away much of the charm.

"I don't agree with the neutral venue. Whenever a team plays, it should play in front of the crowd which is against them or behind them... even at the international level," Tendulkar said when asked about his feelings before playing the Ranji Trophy final against Uttar Pradesh which starts in Hyderabad from Monday.

"We get very few matches to play at neutral venues such as World Cup or Champions Trophy, otherwise through most part of our careers we play in the opponent's country or at home."

The 35-year-old Tendulkar was felicitated today by the Mumbai Cricket Association for being the first cricketer to cross the 12,000-run mark.

Tendulkar said he was not worried about the future of Tests in the wake of ODIs and Twenty20 matches but rather about dwindling attendance in the longer version of the game.

"Test cricket has its own place. There is no threat to Test cricket from IPL or T20 World Cup or even 50-over matches. But I am only concerned about the falling attendance for Test matches in India," Tendulkar said.

"I have a suggestion for the BCCI. Whenever Test cricket is played, local school and college students should be allowed free entry on weekends so that 10 years down the line these children will become lovers of Test cricket. Children aged between 12-13 should be introduced to Test cricket and that will be the way to keep their interest alive 10 years down the line," he said.

"I remember when I was 10-year old, I went to the Wankhede stadium and watched the West Indies in action. I still remember Michael Holding's bowling in that match."

The champion batsman rated his trip to Australia last year as the most memorable in his career.

"Last year when I played in Australia, I got a standing ovation everywhere, which had never happened in my life. So that is the most memorable part of my career," he said.

Asked about his dreams, the Mumbai batsman said he had dreamt as anyone would have but what was important was that he made efforts to chase them.

"It's extremely important to chase your dreams. It is said that you dream while you are asleep but you can realise only when you are awake so one must be awake and chase their dreams," he said.

"When I started playing cricket, every cricketer grew up with a target which was to beat Sunil Gavaskar's record. I was told that that's where I had to reach for people to remember me. I am happy that I could reach it."

The master-blaster was felicitated with a silver souvenir, which was presented to him by MCA president Sharad Pawar and BCCI chief Shashank Manohar after the formal inauguration of the Association's Indoor Cricket Academy and Recreation Centre at its Bandra-Kurla complex premises.

Tendulkar also suggested to the MCA that Giles Shield and Harris Shield inter-school matches should be played on league format initially so that each player gets at least three matches to play.

"There might be hidden talent that may go unnoticed if the school is knocked after only one match. Unearthing such talent is good for Mumbai as well as India," he said.

Tendulkar also expressed hope that Mumbai could lift the Ranji Trophy for the 38th time when they take on UP in the final scheduled in Hyderabad from January 12-16.

"At this moment my Mumbai colleagues are here. We want to go to Hyderabad, play good cricket and lift the trophy for the 38th time," he said.

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