I can’t imagine cricket without Sachin

Haryana skipper Ajay Jadeja greets Sachin Tendulkar before the start of the Ranji Trophy match between Mumbai and Haryana at Bansi Lal Stadium in Rohtak on October 27, 2013.-AKHILESH KUMAR

We must treat Sachin differently because of the impact he has made on cricket. We still need him. I would love to see him play in domestic cricket because it will mean so much to the opponents. By Ajay Jadeja.

When I heard he was coming to play the Ranji Trophy match at Lahli, I realised the enormity of the situation. People call him god but I call him master. The master was coming to prepare himself for the Test series against the West Indies and this was one great opportunity for the Haryana team to interact with a cricketer who played the game with amazing dignity and discipline.

I have known cricketers who have worshipped him. I have known cricketers who have stood in awe of this man who made batting look so easy, so compact. On the first day of the match I had requested Sachin to meet the Haryana team and he readily agreed. I knew it was going to be the best education for the boys. It was more an interaction and the session, I am sure, was one great experience for the players.

I learnt as well as enjoyed cricket by watching him from close. It was a privilege to have played alongside him. There was so much to learn from him. Just watching him helped me grow as a cricketer. The way he conducted himself on and off the field was his greatest quality. To be so humble when the world was at his feet showed his values. Cricket, he always maintained, was an ongoing process. He would tell us not to worry about the result. Effort was what he appreciated. True, defeat would hurt but it never put him down, never cast gloom around him. Soon, he would be cheering his colleagues and that really galvanised us in difficult situations. I have not come across a man more optimistic than Sachin.

Preparation was the most important part of his cricket. It was again an education to observe him from close as he went about his job in a most dedicated manner. He insisted that one had to have the feel of the situation, the desire to be different. His basic technique was flawless. His analysis was simple but accurate. Sachin, with time, evolved as a batsman. Not just the skills but his approach to the game was the highlight. The enthusiasm he showed was unbelievable. At 40, he was as charged up as he was at 14. I marvel at his ability to keep his focus in place. I can’t remember Sachin taking things easy. He made mistakes but learnt from them so quickly. He would always accommodate the demands of his colleagues. His reading of the game was far superior to any other individual on this planet.

We must treat Sachin differently because of the impact he has made on the game. We still need him. I would love to see him play in domestic cricket because it will mean so much to the up and coming players. I can’t imagine cricket without Sachin.

As told Vijay Lokapally