Tendulkar: Will remember the good times I spent with Wadekar sir

Former India batsman Sachin Tendulkar reminisces his cricketing career under the watchful eyes of Ajit Wadekar, who breathed his last on Wednesday.

Tendulkar: "People have seen Wadekar sir as a great cricketer, I was fortunate enough to see both - a great cricketer and a wonderful person. And that's really important for me."   -  K. MURALI KUMAR

For Sachin Tendulkar, Ajit Wadekar will always remain the mentor, who ensured that a young cricketer didn't lose the plot mid-way.

On Friday morning, Tendulkar visited Wadekar's residence to pay homage to the former India captain, who breathed his last on Wednesday.

Read: Chandu Borde remembers Wadekar's remarkable captaincy

"He had a big contribution, especially at such a critical stage. I was only 20 and it was easy for the train to go off track at that age. So, I needed an experienced person, someone who himself has played and performed at that level. He understood how to get the best out of his players. I personally benefited a lot from being in sir's team," Tendulkar said.

Also read: We have lost a father figure, say Azharuddin, Kumble

Having played at a time when Wadekar served as India's coach and later as manager, Tendulkar remembers the moments when Wadekar would give advice on his batting.

"Time to time, I would get several messages and advice, even during the nets. He wore multiple hats - India's great captain, Indian team coach and even more importantly, my friend.

"(Our) friendship was such that I could sit with him in the evening and talk about anything. So our bonding had become good and that reflected on the field," Tendulkar said.

Also read: Wadekar was a game changer, says Jonty Rhodes

And what was the most important advice Wadekar gave Tendulkar?

"He had the capability to segregate. During discussions on cricket or during the matches, he would be absolutely serious and focused. And in the evening, during dinner, he would take centre stage," he said, adding: "His humour was superb, he was always liked by everyone. We used to eagerly wait for the evenings so that we could sit and chat with sir."

Calling it an irreparable loss, Tendulkar said: "It's a personal loss for me. People have seen Wadekar sir as a great cricketer, I was fortunate enough to see both - a great cricketer and a wonderful person. And that's really important for me.

"Over the years, our relationship was also strong. And I would much rather prefer to have those fond memories of him. Right now, I will remember the good times I had with sir."