He has been a great ambassador

"I have never ever seen his behaviour change in all these years and that is amazing," says Srinath.-V.V. KRISHNAN

A passionate heart and an alert mind were the secrets behind his cricketing longevity. By Javagal Srinath.

Sachin Tendulkar came first into media focus when he made that unbeaten 326 in an inter-school cricket and since then the focus and scrutiny has remained constant for him. That kind of attention can affect any human being but the manner in which he coped with that over 24 years was absolutely exemplary.

I see a direct connection between his upbringing and the way he played as a cricketer and the way he is as a human being. Success can go to anyone’s head but it didn’t with Sachin and that speaks volumes of the values that he inherited from his family and that is precisely why he is such a nice human being.

People tend to look at the money he has made but monetary judgements can be flawed. It is the values that you have that define you and in that sense his values were typically middle-class and that helped him.

And middle-class values are about hard work and respect for people. I have never ever seen his behaviour change in all these years and that is amazing.

Life actually gets tougher when you are successful because expectations pile up. Yes all of us have our bad days and Sachin too had his share but even on days when he scored a 50 or a 40, the pressure on him was much more than what all of us underwent. He adjusted to that and that shows his strength. He had so much to offer to the game and he was so supremely talented that when he was captain, it was difficult for the rest of us to meet his huge expectations. To be honest, I as a bowler, found it tough to meet his expectations. But I improved under him because he sets these challenges, both small and large, that you are supposed to meet as an individual and as a team.

If you are playing together for 14 years, let’s be honest about this, there will be a few disagreements but I always spoke freely to him. Told him what was in my mind. Every conversation demands honesty and if I am expected to talk in such a way that it aligns with your thoughts then it is wrong. As team-mates and friends, we shared our views honestly and I had the obligation to reveal to him what came to my mind and we respected each other’s viewpoints and that helped.

He has been a great ambassador of the game and it is mind-boggling to think about what he has achieved. He adjusted to every challenge that was thrown at him, both physical and mental. A passionate heart and an alert mind were the secrets behind his cricketing longevity.

As told to K.C. Vijaya Kumar