100th ton icing on the cake: Prof. Shetty
Mumbai, Mar 16: Board of Control for Cricket in India CAO, Prof. Ratnakar Shetty, lauded Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar for completing his hundredth century in international cricket.
“I am extremely happy that he has scored his hundredth international hundred. It has been a long time since people have been waiting for this – almost 1year now. [Amongst] all this speculation that was going around about his future, in all this [to have] achieved this is something which is remarkable. He has achieved everything in cricket whether it is Tests or ODIs. Getting his hundredth hundred, I think, is icing on the cake,” he told bcci.tv.
Speaking about the master’s journey, Prof. Shetty said, “I had the fortune of seeing him and following his cricket, because he is a Mumbai boy. And one thing that really characterises him is his strength. His approach to the game, his preparedness, his focus on the game [is remarkable].
“Even today if Sachin Tendulkar wants to play for Mumbai, I think he observes all those disciplines that are necessary after all these achievements. That is one thing that really carried him through in this difficult period. Anybody in his place would have [been affected] by the amount of criticism and discussion that was [rampant] about his future [in Indian cricket]. But he is one person who will always decide [on] his own career. I don’t think anybody can really influence his decision to retire from cricket,” he said.
On being asked what separates the legend from the rest, Shetty replied, “As a cricketer, the discipline in him, as far as his game is concerned, is one area that [marks him from the rest]. Even today, [after so many glorious years], his approach [to the game] is the same. Off the field, I think he is a great ambassador for the country. Very quietly he has been doing a lot of social work [and] not publicising it. I think he conducts himself well both, on and off the field. I think in 22 years [we have not heard] of any incident that has [marred his reputation] or one that has affected his career.”
And which innings is his favourite from amongst the legend’s vast collection? “I enjoyed the ‘desert storm’ [143 against Australia in Sharjah] the most. Apart form that, when he played the semi-final at Wankhede Stadium for Mumbai versus Tamil Nadu. He single-handedly carried the team [to victory] and remained unbeaten for a 200-plus score. [It is] one of the great knocks that we have seen from him.”
Throwing light on the man behind the legend, with whom he shares a good relationship, he said, “There was a kid from Pune who was suffering from cancer and his parents wanted [him] to meet Sachin to fulfill the child’s wish. Sachin readily agreed to that. He called the boy, along with his parents, over to his house and spent the whole day with them. What was remarkable was that after that child went back [home], he stayed in contact with him. Whenever the child underwent blood transfusion, [Sachin] used to call him up and talk to him. I think he is a great human being, a very simple man. He is a great role model for youngsters.”