Ranade, who plays for local MIG Cricket Club and will leave for England by the end of this month to play Minor County Cricket for Hitchin Cricket Club at Hertford, said, "We (Sachin and I) know each other since the time we got admitted to the nursery section in New English School Bandra (East), may be at the age of three or four."
While Sachin lived in Bandra, Ranade stayed about five kilometres away in Shanta Cruz and used to go to school by bus.
"Though I was also a child, I noticed that Sachin was very diligent even when he was so young," Ranade said. They studied together till fifth standard, and parted company and again met at Sharda Ashram where Kambli too joined them.
What he would like to say on Sachin and Kambli's record partenership of 657 runs in an inter-school cricket tournament because he himself opened in that very match?
Commenting on the 657-run partnership between Sachin and Kambli in an inter-school match, Ranade said, "It was mind boggling. They blasted every bowler of St Xavier's School. Captain Sairaj Bahutule had no clue to get rid of them. I benefitted by that partnership as the entire scorecard has been taken by the Guinness Book of World Records. Because of that record partnership my name has also entered the Guinness Book."
Ranade and Sachin studied together in Kirti College as well. They played Ranji cricket together and when Sachin went to Yorkshire, Ranade was also playing in England for a minor county.
Ranade said he used to take guidance from Sachin over the telephone during their mutual stay in England and sometimes they would also meet.
Ranade, who has represented Bombay from 1997 to 1999 and Goa in year 2000 said Sachin hasn't changed a bit. He is the same Sachin whom he met in nursery school and college. "He is a family man. He is very responsible and thoughtful as well. Every time he makes a point, he weighs it thoroughly in his mind. He is a down to earth person and maintained his relationship with not only me, but also all his other friends. He is a very supporting person."
On Sachin's cricketing career, Ranade excitedly said, "God willing he will become the greatest cricketer and break the Test records of Gavaskar and others. My guess is, if he continues in the same vein, he will score at least 40 Test centuries and 50 One-day International tons. I also expect him to score a minimum of 15,000 runs in each form of the game."
However, Ranade gave a little insight into the mind of the 'Little Master Blaster'. "For Sachin, records are secondary, he always wants India to win and towards that end he has a fierce commitment. He does not want to take up captaincy for another two to three years as he is enjoying what he is doing now thoroughly well. He devotes himself to what he does and is a quick learner."