Sachin Tendulkar: An inspiration for many

Sachin Tendulkar had a distinct style. He may not have appeared a leader on the field, but he was always working in the background, away from public gaze.

Sachin Tendulkar at the 2020 Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin.   -  AP

Sachin Tendulkar gave his best for Indian cricket. He may not have succeeded always, but there was never any lack of effort. Sometimes the opposition did get the better of him, but Sachin learned his lessons and moved on.

It was not easy to be Tendulkar. “Sachiiiiiiin, Sachin!” was the chant that reverberated around cricket stadiums every time he stepped on to the field. He took the pressure. You could see it on his face, his degree of concentration, every moment worth reliving, as he created some magnificent victories with his flamboyance. He scored and India won. He scored and sometimes India did not win. He spent sleepless nights ahead of every match – visualising what could be in store, the pitch, the bowling, the conditions. Again, he could not sleep when the match was lost.

READ: Sachin Tendulkar on his aversion to comparisons, not playing for records and being called God of cricket

But eight years post his retirement, what does Sachin mean to this generation of millennials, who are more accustomed to applauding MS Dhoni and Virat Kohli?

"For us, Sachin Tendulkar is the god of cricket and will remain so. We grew up watching him, there were so many stories that we heard and all of them were inspiring. Whenever we are in crisis, the young cricketers like us, look up to him and try and handle things accordingly. Even after so many years, he remains our idol and it is still a dream to meet him someday and learn a thing or two from him," Saurashtra batsman Harvik Desai, who was part of India's U-19 World Cup winning team in 2018, says.

The Indian team members pose for a group photograph before their departure to Sri Lanka in 1998.   -  The Hindu

 

“I think he is an institution. A case study on how to be a successful and humble,” says former Test batsman Hrishikesh Kanitkar, who was at the crease when India won the final in 1998 at Sharjah on this day 23 years ago. “He made us believe we can achieve. He just did not want to lose (against Australia in 1998). I could feel it. It was as if he was telling us, he would make 200 runs on his own and script a win.”

That Sharjah win was something special. He hit 143 on April 22. Rested the next day and returned to demolish the same opposition on his birthday. He did not touch the bat on the rest day. “You don’t have to practice every day of your life. He was in that zone and didn’t want to lose that feel,” remembers Kanitkar.

Sachin was more than just a cricketer. He was a model for most to emulate. He was one of us. When he waged those cricketing battles, you wanted to be with him. When he failed, we thought we failed too. When he accomplished those triumphs, we felt we were an integral part of that feat – with our support and prayers for him. And he acknowledged that. He had all the time in the world for his fans. He was mobbed but he never feared getting hurt. “They won’t harm me,” he was confident.

READ:  Sachin Tendulkar recovers from COVID-19, to donate plasma

He had come to Kotla for the benefit match of Gursharan Singh. As our interview got delayed, he asked me to accompany him in the car to the airport. A huge crowd surrounded the car, and he told the policemen, ready to disperse them by force, not to worry. An appeal from Sachin and the crowd made way for us to reach the car. He directed the driver not to “speed” to ensure I got more than an hour with him. “Take your time,” he smiled.

Sachin’s impact on Indian cricket can never be measured. Alisha Raut, a sports psychologist working with various cricketers, says: “We watched him, and he gave us such an assurance. He brought calmness to the game. He was a hero. One could connect with him because he appealed to all sections of the society and women too took to cricket after watching him play.”

Jemimah's Master Class: Jemimah Rodrigues during a training session with Sachin Tendulkar in Mumbai in May, 2019.   -  Emmanuel Yogini

 

For Pooja Vastrakar, who made her India debut in South Africa in 2018, Sachin was the reason she played cricket. “I loved cricket because of him. He has been a great source of inspiration for me. I wanted to bat like him. I would find reasons to leave school once I learnt India was batting first (in ODI). I just could not miss Sachin Sir’s batting. It was a dream to meet him when we were leaving for South Africa. He addressed the team and that was an unforgettable day for me. He has inspired so many like me to play cricket,” says Pooja.

Indian women’s team opener Jemimah Rodrigues feels lucky to have had multiple training sessions with Tendulkar. “I still remember my first meeting with Sachin Sir. There are so many people in the world who just want a glimpse of him, and I was blessed to meet him at his home,” Jemimah says. “Before going to South Africa, everybody would congratulate me and the second line would be: ‘Oh, you are going to South Africa. There will be bouncy wickets, which will benefit pacers.’ Instead of giving a 17-year-old girl confidence, they were adding pressure.

READ: Tutorial from a legend for Jemimah Rodrigues

“But Sachin Sir asked me whether I was nervous, and I told him yes. He said: ‘It’s good that you are nervous. That means, you care for your game…’ That put me at ease because I realise, it’s fine to be nervous,” Jemimah reminisces.

Tendulkar took interest in her preparations. “I told him that I was facing the bowling machine, playing on the back-foot, and honing the pull shots. He told me, ‘I loved playing in South Africa. On such wickets, the ball is going to come even more better on your bat, than the Indian wickets.’ He told me, it’s all about the perspective and how you deal with it. You can either think in the negative, ‘Oh, it’s South Africa!’ or you can take it in the positive way, ‘Oh, I love playing in South Africa’ I really enjoyed playing in South Africa after that,” Jemimah laughs.

Sachin Tendulkar guided Mumbai Indians to the final of the 2010 editions with his remarkable consistency.   -  K. BHAGYA PRAKASH

 

Sachin’s humility and the ability to keep learning and improving perhaps was the reason behind his longevity as a player.

On the 1999 tour to Australia, during a throw-down session, Kanitkar had a suggestion “He was so receptive. I asked him with caution, and he grabbed the idea. I had not played a Test and he did not mind a suggestion from me. Another time he walked up to me and taught me the importance of playing the paddle sweep. It helped me.”

READ: Sachin Tendulkar honoured with Sportstar Aces Inspirational Giant of Indian Sport

Sachin had a distinct style. He may not have appeared a leader on the field, but he was always working in the background, away from public gaze. Analysing a colleague’s batting or a bowler’s woes, he was the go-to-man.

It is tough to be Sachin – he must be at his best always. As he recovers from Covid-19, he has again played a masterstroke by pledging to donate plasma to help others in this battle against the pandemic. Hope, others too would be inspired by him and take the same pledge.

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :