Sitaram Tambe, the oldest serving member of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) who was a familiar face in the faceless backroom staff that plays a crucial role in the smooth conduct of India’s official cricket on a day-to-day basis, retired at the end of last month.
Sitaram Tambe, the oldest serving member of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) who was a familiar face in the faceless backroom staff that plays a crucial role in the smooth conduct of India’s official cricket on a day-to-day basis, retired at the end of last month. Tambe was serving for the board from a time when it operated from a small space inside the Cricket Club of India at the Brabourne Stadium. Traveling across the length and breadth of the country, ‘Tambe mama’ as he is fondly called used to ensure that months of hard work that a cricket team puts in to earn the coveted trophy get its due when the shining silverware reaches its deserving winner.
Time has changed and the selection announcements are streamed live now but back in those days, Tambe mama made trips to the post office to send telegrams to those picked in the squad. In those days, he even doubled up as logistics operator and coordinated with airports and other relevant authorities during Indian team’s foreign visits transporting team’s kit bags.
Interestingly, it was Tambe who handed the official selection letter to the Tendulkar household in Bandra informing the family members that a bright teenager with curly hair has been picked to represent India way back in 1989. Tambe had started serving the BCCI at the age of 16.
“I had the pleasure of delivering the official letter to Sachin Tendulkar’s father at this residence. When he retired after a 24-year-long career, I had again gone to his house to get his autographs on some souvenirs. On my first visit, he was still a teenager, but on my next, he had become an all-time great,” he recalled with a smile.
Tambe was also BCCI’s go-to man for delivering the trophies. He never misplaced a trophy and also used to get them fixed if a part was broken.
“I had gone to deliver the Ranji Trophy to Indore last year (2016-17 season) and when I handed it over to the crew there, the top of it broke while the trophy was being removed. It weighs 15 kgs. We called a local expert, took the trophy to his workshop and sat there till the work was complete. By the time we reached the ground with the trophy, it was 2am and when Gujarat were handed the trophy, it was in pristine condition,” Tambe said.
With Tambe mama, the BCCI also bid goodbye to their senior employees Dr Vece Paes, Jayant Jhaveri and B Laxman whose contribution has been immense and their experience, invaluable.