Pune basks in Blades of Glory

Pune: A museum displaying cricketing memorabilia showcasing the greats of the game has become a new landmark in this cultural capital of Maharashtra.

`Blades of Glory`, the museum set up by Rohan Pate, a former U-19 player for Maharashtra, has a remarkable collection of artifacts. They include a bat signed by legendary Sir Donald Bradman displaying his career statistics besides bats used by cricketers who scored over 10,000 runs.

The museum, spread across over 4000 sq ft, was formally opened by master blaster Sachin Tendulkar who was here to play an IPL match with the Pune Warriors.

An interesting feature of the memorabilia is an exclusive section devoted to Tendulkar with a display of 100 miniature bats denoting the record international centuries by him with details of the score, venue, year and the opposition team.

"I started thinking about the idea of a museum after meeting Sachin, who gifted me an autographed bat about two years ago," said Pate. He subsequently travelled extensively to various countries to approach famous cricketers and institutions to have the collectibles and souvenirs that now adorn the walls of `Blades of Glory` in Sahakar Nagar area.

Tendulkar fans can relish the sight of the T-shirt worn by the master during the 2011 World Cup final as well as his helmet, chest and elbow guard, bearing his autographs. The memorabilia also includes the bats used by Sir Garfield Sobers, Ricky Ponting and Rahul Dravid.

What promised to be an instant attraction for cricket lovers, the museum has a section that displays the souvenirs of the bowling greats, including the jerseys worn by Shane Warne, Muttiah Murlidharan and Waqar Younis.

A highlight of the "Blades of Glory", which also won the appreciation of Tendulkar who spent an hour going round the place, is a frame capturing the winning moments of India`s World Cup triumphs in 1983 and 2011 along with the bats signed by the members of the victorious squads.

Acknowledging that it was a "hard task" to approach and collect the various articles for the museum, Pate said "contacting older players was difficult but everyone whom I approached helped me."

It was Desmond Haynes in West Indies, Dilhara Fenando in Sri Lanka and Ponting in Australia who helped him in introducing and getting across to many cricketers in their respective countries when he embarked on his mission.

During his pursuit, he found Pakistani cricketers, including Waqar Younis, Wasim Akram, Saeed Ajmal and Misbah-ul -haq, "very nice and generous," said 25-year-old Pate who would manoeuvre to get a room at hotels where cricketers were put up and try to approach them, at times courting trouble with security men.

The museum will be thrown open for general public in a few days after last finishing touches to the wooden interior are completed.