The Bollywood industry faced a huge blow as they lost one of the veteran actors, Tom Alter on September 30 morning. 67-year-old Alter was fighting skin cancer and was admitted to Saifee Hospital, Mumbai, earlier this month with stage four skin cancer. Alter was known more as an accomplished actor rather than a cricket journalist. However, due to his deep interest in cricket, he had a special encounter with master blaster Sachin Tendulkar back in the year 1988.
Sachin was just 16 at that time and had made his debut in the Indian cricket team. In a video interview, Tom Alter questioned him about the West Indies fast bowlers and his views on domestic cricket. That question-answer session between Alter and Sachin was the first TV interview of Sachin Tendulkar who was recognised as the God of cricket.
Recently while speaking to the Times of India, Tom Alter recollected his memories and described how shy Sachin Tendulkar used to be. Dilip Vengsarkar introduced him to the youngest member of the 1988’s Team India who used to practice with the practising with Bombay regional team.
As learned from several reports, Alter said:
“I clearly remember that interaction. It was his first video interview. I wouldn’t say he was naive but rather innocent and soft-spoken. Though a little shy in front of the camera, the boy was very confident without being a show-off.”
Apart from being a versatile actor who spoke fluent Hindi and Urdu, Tom Alter had also played cricket for Indian XI, led by Sunil Gavaskar, against USA X in 1983. According to a Hindustan Times report, Alter shared the dressing room with Mohinder Amarnath, Ravi Shastri, Roger Binny, Yashpal Sharma, Sandeep Patil, Madan Lal and Balvinder Sandhu. He bowled 4 good overs in that match and removed the opponent captain. Indian XI won that game.
“I bowled four good overs, got the rival captain lbw, and was embraced by Gavaskar and Kirmani and Madan and Mohinder and Ravi and Roger…We won the match,” Alter wrote in 2016 Wisden Almanack. (Source: HT)
In 2014, he gave a controversial statement on MS Dhoni after he announced his retirement from Tests in 2014 during an ongoing Tests series against Australia.
Alter also wrote a column for Firstpost after Dhoni’s retirement. Here is a part of that piece
“He should be banned from representing India ever again. He has not only broken his contract, he has broken a sacred bond with those of us who truly love Indian cricket and he does not give a damn. Why? Because he is the corporate favourite, the boss’ and the bosses’ favourite, and for them losing or winning is not important, it is all ‘brand’ and money and such total and utter rubbish.”
In 2008, he was recognised with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian honour of India.
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