A rich legacy

A former Mumbai skipper, Milind Rege, was one of the selectors who picked Sachin Tendulkar two decades ago

Wednesday, April 16, 2022

Milind Rege

Sportz Interactive

© Sportz Interactive
From Left - Milind Rege, Sunil Gavaskar, Tennis Legends Vijay Amritraj and Bjorn Borg

Milind Dattareya Rege is one of the most recognised faces in the Mumbai cricketing circles. A former skipper of the Mumbai Ranji team, Milind Rege is a passionate speaker and thinker of the sport, and was one of the genuine all-rounders in the Indian domestic circuit in the 1970s.

Rege and Sunil Gavaskar went to the same school, St. Xaviers', and are the best of friends. Rege was drawn into cricket by the Gavaskar's uncle, Madhav Mantri. The right-hander's love for the sport grew into professional interest during his college and club cricket days.

Rege represented the famous Dadar Union club and was one of their top-notch cricketers. He alongwith Gavaskar formed a great partnership as they piled on tons of runs during their stay at the crease.

His excellent string of scores for his club and college witnessed the all-rounder getting a call-up into the Mumbai Ranji team in the 1966-67 season. With impressive showing with the bat and ball, there was no looking back.

A clever bowler who liked to invite the batsman to have a go at him, Rege would pick up wickets consistently for his team and also contributed useful runs lower down the order.

One of his most cherished moments while playing for Mumbai came against Rest of India in the Irani Trophy tie in 1968/69. His tight spell there, bowling in tandem with Eknath Solkar, remains his most cherished bowling performance.

At a young age of 25, Milind Rege suffered a mild heart-attack and was sidelined for close to a year, which became an obstacle in his aspirations to play for India.

© Sportz Interactive
'Best buddies' Gavaskar and Rege during a Ranji Trophy match

Two years after staging a comeback to the domestic circuit, Rege was appointed the skipper of the Mumbai Ranji team. His stint as the captain was good, as he led his side to numerous victories in the domestic circuit.

Rege finished his 11-year domestic career in 1979, with a healthy batting average of 24 and a tally of 126 wickets.

Rege represented the corporate house, Tatas, as a cricketer and has good memories of his time with the team. His four smashing centuries in the 1971 Times Shield season helped Tatas clinch the title.

Now, the 59-year old serves as head of corporate communications at Tata Steel and has the same amount of enthusiasm and energy for cricket like in his playing days.

The former Ranji player also served as selector of the Mumbai team. He had a merry time in the selector's shoes, as Mumbai tasted Ranji success during his reign.

Rege's friendship with Gavaskar is very renowned in Mumbai cricket. The duo have been virtually inseparable since their childhood.

Here is what Rege has to say about his best pal: "What can I say about Sunil? The world's best batsman or the world's best opener? To me, Sunil Gavaskar is the same old guy I know for the past 45-odd years. For the world, he is a legendary personality but for me he still remains the buddy who calls me every single day when he's in town."

Rege says he desires to give back something to the sport from which he earned so much fame and name. He is contemplating donning the whites again, but this time in the role of a coach.

- Rohan Tawde