Sunil Gavaskar called club cricket the "life-blood" of Test Cricket at the prize distribution ceremony of the 71st Police Invitation Shield Tournament 2018 on Monday.
According to a report by the PTI, the 69-year old Gavaskar was one among other cricketing dignitaries at the event which included veteran off-spinner Milind Rege, veteran cricket administrator Prof Ratnakar Shetty, senior police officers and officials of the Mumbai Cricket Association.
Eponymously called the "Little Master", Gavaskar spoke very highly of the club cricket culture of Mumbai referring to how it hones the skills of players to step up to the Ranji Trophy – India's premier long-format cricket tournament – and eventually to the international circuit.
"I am always happy to come forward to such events because I believe club cricket is the life-blood of your Test teams.
"Without club cricket, you will not get players who will play Ranji Trophy or go on to play Test cricket or go on to play One Day Internationals so, therefore, club cricket becomes very important", Gavaskar was quoted as saying by PTI.
Gavaskar, who went on to play 125 Test Matches for India, scoring 34 centuries, reminisced his days of yore as a youngster in tournaments such as the Police Invitation Shield.
"Coming here brings back so many memories. Growing up there were three tournaments, which were looked forward to -- Purshotam Shield, Talim Shield and the third one was the Police Shield.
"Yes, there was the Kanga League, of course, that was played in the rainy season. But after that, if you wanted to impress the Mumbai selection committee, these were the three tournaments you wanted to do well.
"And then, of course, the Times Sheild, but it used to happen a little bit later, around the months of December- January, by which the Ranji season would have started. Therefore this tournament used to be a big tournament," said Gavaskar according to a report by the PTI.
In the same breath, Gavaskar also extended his gratitude to the organizers of the tournament.
"And I am so happy that the police have continued their support for this tournament. This is the 71st year of the tournament, non-stop and it gives an opportunity for players to show their skills...," the PTI reported Gavaskar as saying.
In the same report, the PTI quoted Gavaskar lauding the cricketing culture of Mumbai and how it teaches its players to push on.
"...because Mumbai's cricketing culture is something unique. It's a culture which teaches you not to give up, it's a culture that tells you -- don't be satisfied with what you have done -- whether it's a five-wicket haul or you have got a hundred, you want to carry on, you want to go on and break down doors so that you get higher recognition."
Sunil Gavaskar also narrated a humorous anecdote regarding Geoffrey Boycott wherein the Englishman impugned a taxi-driver in Trinidad for sharing wrong scores with him.