Tendulkar: 'Respect and recognise your sporting history'

A day after not being allowed to deliver his maiden speech in the Rajya Sabha, the cricket legend, in a video, says he wants India to be a “sport playing” and not just a “sport watching” nation.

Former Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar at the Rajya Sabha.   -  PTI

Sachin Tendulkar wants India to be a “sport playing” and not just a “sport watching” nation. Not allowed to deliver his maiden speech in Rajya Sabha on Thursday, the iconic cricketer released his views in public domain through YouTube and Facebook and also shared his thoughts with Sportstar.

“I’ve been pursuing this idea for the last four years with the HRD and Sports ministries. We’ve been working on this concept of making India a sporting country. It won’t happen overnight but then we need to create opportunities and platforms for the youth to achieve their dreams,” Tendulkar said.

Having made history at various phases of his cricket career, Tendulkar made a fervent plea to this generation of sportsmen. “Respect and recognise your sporting history. There is nothing wrong in following sporting feats of other nations but also celebrate your own sporting conquests. We have a rich sporting history which needs to be shared with the current generation. It can be done by distributing pamphlets on our sporting greats in schools. A lot can be achieved if sport is made a subject in schools. It is time this idea is made a policy.”

Read: Tendulkar proposes steps to embed sporting culture in India

Tendulkar observed, “You have to identify talent at the age of 4-5 and not past 10. Why do you want to wait until 12 or 13 to decide if the talent is good? The identification must come at 4 or 5. We should also use retired sportsmen by re-employing them in school so that they share their experience and wisdom. Active sportsmen should be on the field and not in offices doing a 10 to 5 job.”

To push his argument, Tendulkar suggested, “We have to mark pockets from where we can identify talent for a particular sport. I am amazed at the talent that is waiting go be tapped in north-east. Look at the heroes they have produced. They are so good in archery, boxing, football because of abilities like natural reflexes and speed. Punjab and Haryana have champion wrestlers. Kerala has wonderful athletes. Goa and Bengal have superb footballers. It is quite possible to get a good wrestler in Kerala who can be better if he trains at an academy in Haryana or Punjab. A footballer from Mumbai can gain if he trains at an academy in Kerala.”

Also read: Tendulkar visits Donja, his adopted village

On the need to share his views now, Tendulkar said, “I always wanted to reach out to the youngsters. My role is to interact with them and inspire them. We all need inspiration in our respective fields. We all meet challenges in our journey and emulate our heroes to overcome them. I want to see an India where people want to play more and more and stay healthy and fit.”