I still remember the first time I bumped into Sachin Tendulkar. It was sometime in 2004 and he was in Adelaide for a recovery session at Cricket Australia’s Centre of Excellence. I think it was the time when Sachin was recovering from tennis elbow.
I was so thrilled when I saw him at the Centre on the very first day. And to my surprise, he walked in to play table tennis and I ended up playing with him. I was excited and after the game, I rang up my father and told him that I paired with Sachin and played TT. To be honest, I was very excited when I met him for the first time.
I have crossed paths with him many times after that and he has recognised me every time and we have exchanged pleasantries. I know he is a busy man and I just say ‘hello’, have a bit of a chat and move on every time we have met.
Having been a cricketer myself, I love giving space to people and that’s one of the reasons why I do not click pictures with stars. For instance, when I saw Hugh Jackman, the Hollywood actor, last year, I decided not to bother him by asking for a photograph!
I am part of an organisation, Adopt Change — which is committed to working towards all children having access to a safe, nurturing and permanent family home-upbringing. Jackman’s wife, Deborra-lee Furness, founded this organisation to reduce the red-tape in adopting in Australia. So, we had a function last year where Jackman had come. I was like, ‘Oh God, that’s Hugh Jackman.’ Everyone was getting photographs with him, but I told myself that I won’t do that. So, I did not even take photos, and wanted to give him some time. That’s how I like things to be.
(Sthalekar is a former Australia women’s cricket team captain and a noted commentator)
As told to Shayan Acharya
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