Sachin Tendulkar revealed he had to manage the recurrence of a painful, decade-old toe injury during India’s tour of Australia in 2011-12 which caused him a lot of trouble.
Tendulkar had suffered a toe injury in the year 2000 and the same had resurfaced in the next year, which had kept him out of action for a tri-series against Sri Lanka and New Zealand.
The legend recalled how the same affected him badly in the second half of India’s tour of Australia in 2011-12, a series which the visiting side lost 0-4 to cede the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
Having won the 50-over World Cup in April, it was the same period in which the Indian Test side had gone through one of its worst phases, having lost 0-4 in England earlier in the year.
“In the year 2000, I had a toe injury in South Africa following which I took injections as well. The same injury resurfaced after the 2011 World Cup. I don’t even know; I did not do anything which would have put strain on it.
“In fact, I was in London for leave and I was going to join the (Indian) team there,” Tendulkar told during an event on Friday to launch a book titled ‘Scintillating Sachin’, and titled ‘ Shatkant Ekach’ in Marathi.
Tendulkar, speaking in Marathi, informed that he was in so much pain and frustration that he found it very difficult to manage, and the local doctors suggested that he undergoes surgery.
“(In Australia) it was very painful and unbearable. I had used bandages, changed my insoles twice, and was just managing to play somehow. Most of the tour was over but my frustration was only increasing.
“The Australian grounds are hard, which was making it even more difficult. The doctor suggested getting a surgery done,” he said.
Tendulkar said his wife Anjali flew down from India to Australia in a matter of 48 hours and helped take the right call.
“I had to run, so my pain increased too much and I consulted a doctor in Australia. He suggested that I need to do a surgery, and even my other leg was hurting. So I shared this with Anjali, I told her that I can’t take this pain anymore and that ‘I have had enough’ and I will do surgery,’” he said.
“I said ‘I am informing the team that I cannot play, I am in pain and it is difficult’, after hearing this, Anjali came to Brisbane literally in 48 hours only to stop me, to not have this surgery,” said Tendulkar, adding that doctors said if the surgery was unsuccessful, it would have impacted his career, leaving him on wheelchair for at least six weeks.
Even Tendulkar’s doctor, Anant Joshi, who was also present on Friday evening, said such an injury affected ballet dancers.
Former India cricketers Kiran More, Zaheer Khan, Pravin Amre and former coach Aunshuman Gaekwad also spoke at length about their memories with Tendulkar at the launch.
Tendulkar also recalled one of his most memorable centuries — an epic 613-minute 241 from 436 balls against Australia at Sydney during the 2003-04 tour — in which he did not play a single cover drive, which is considered one of his trademark shots.
He said that a conversation with his brother Ajit Tendulkar, who helped shape Tendulkar’s career at the beginning and remained a pillar throughout, helped him overcome a string of ordinary scores and pile up a massive total at Sydney.
Tendulkar said, “I was batting well in Australia, but was not scoring big runs. So, I had a conversation with Ajit before the Sydney Test. He had observed my batting and said: ‘There was not any technical fault in your batting. But the flaw is in your shot selection’. He said I need to be more disciplined while playing shots.”
“One more thing he said: ‘I don’t think a bowler is getting you out. You played the wrong shot and that’s why you got out. So take the challenge that no one would get you out in this Test’. I accepted that challenge.
“Fortunately, I scored in both innings and remained unbeaten throughout the Test. So he was instrumental in finding solutions and I am sitting in front of you just because of him.” The batting legend said some of the methods that Ajit asked him to follow were ingrained in his subconscious forever.
“I actually learnt how to do pre-match preparation when I was in school, because since then only Ajit made sure that I prepared better for the next day’s match. He used to tell me that ‘match would not start at 9.30 am next day; you started thinking about it on the eve of the game’. Since then I got into the habit of ironing my own clothes,” he said.
“I still remember when I was playing my 200th Test and I was ironing my whites on the eve of that Test. The reason for doing that is when I was seeing my whites while ironing, my subconscious mind started preparing for the game,” Tendulkar added.
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