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Cricket pitch was my temple: Tendulkar

Indian batting legend relives his 24-year long cricket journey

Indian batting legend relives his 24-year long cricket journey

A day after his retirement, Sachin Tendulkar addressed a huge gathering of media personnel in Mumbai.

He arrived looking sharp in his Team India blazer. He looked a happy and content man as he smiled generously for the shutterbugs. He answered all the questions elaborately and patiently. The frenzied atmosphere turned pleasant with the light-hearted jokes he punctuated his answers with.

Here is what Sachin Tendulkar had to say in the press conference.


The 24-year long journey

Playing cricket was the most important thing for me during the last 24 years. A lot of challenges came up during that time. But the desire to play for the nation led me to find solutions to those challenges. I was helped by my family and friends all along. It was a dream journey of 24 years. It still has not sunk in yet that I won’t play anymore. I probably might find or the other place or occasion to play cricket. I have no regrets. I felt this was the right time to stop playing cricket. All I can say that it was an enjoyable journey. 

The ‘Oxygen’ in his life

Cricket is oxygen to me. Out of the 40 years of my life, I have spent 30 playing cricket. 75% of my life has been cricket. My association with the sport will continue, maybe not immediately, but in the near future.

The big decision

I remember there have been lots of questions about my retirement over the years and I’ve always said ‘I’ll tell you when I feel like I can stop’. I have had injuries that have been tough to overcome. But there comes a stage where your body tells you ‘enough of this physical load’. So I thought my body can’t take that load consistently. The training sessions were becoming an effort. Sometimes I felt I should just sit and watch TV. These were raising questions in my mind, and I needed to find answers. So I requested the BCCI that if these two matches are to be my last, if possible, arrange the last one in Mumbai. My mother had never seen me play. I wanted this to be a surprise to my mom. But through the media, she came to know of it. But coming back to the question, the moment I got the feeling I should stop playing, I stopped. 

The emotional moment

It was an emotional moment when after my last match I went and touched the pitch. The wicket is like my temple. Whatever I have achieved in life, it is done between those 22 yards. When I was thinking about retirement, I wasn’t so emotional since it was the right decision. My family were moved, I wasn’t. But I became emotional when my team gave me a send-off. When I went to the wicket (one last time), I felt emotional. The thought that I won’t be able to return to that place, especially for India, made me emotional.

The final hurrah

My mother was extremely happy. Earlier, we were not sure if she would come since it was difficult for her to travel. Thanks to the BCCI for making the arrangements. I requested the MCA for a room at the Garware guest house for us in case my mother wants to rest there. But she preferred sitting in the stadium and watching every ball that was played. I could see in her eyes that the occasion was special for her. But her reaction was controlled and balance. She spoke more through her eyes and I could sense that. 


The after effect

Today morning I woke up, at 6.15 – because of my body clock – and realised I don’t need to quickly have a shower and be ready for the match. I made myself a cup of tea, enjoyed a lovely breakfast with my wife. It was a relaxed morning. A lot of people had sent me their wishes and I spent some time responding to their messages. The morning was relaxed. 

For the love of the nation

Even though I’m physically not playing for India, I’ll always be praying for an Indian victory. I feel India must come first in any field it participates in.

The Bharat Ratna

Yesterday I said this award was for my mother for all the sacrifices she made for me. As a child you don’t understand what parents go through to make you happy. The beauty of it all is that I was never told what all was done for me. In fact, I will go a step further and share this award with the millions and millions of mothers who sacrifice thousands of things for their children. This award is for my contribution to cricket. When you’re growing up, all you want to do is score hundreds, take wickets, keep bettering your performance, and I’ve tried to do that. The people have praised me for doing that and that has given me the strength to go out and repeat it continuously. This award is also for those people. It’s a great honour to be named alongside Dr. CNR Rao as his contribution to science is immense. Cricket is seen by the public in thousands, but not his scientific achievements. So I would like to congratulate him. 

Fighting the odds

Injuries were tough on me. They were rarely the same. To overcome them and return to the sport was tough. You can’t say “I’ll work out in the gym for two months and be fit again.” The body works in its own natural ways. When I had the tennis elbow injury, I felt my career was finished and I might not be able to play. After the surgery, I could not even lift my son’s plastic bat. At a return game, I was playing with a season ball and my hardest hits were not travelling beyond 10-15 yards. It was tough for me. But I would like to thank the people who helped me recover and play again.

Family balance

The beauty of my family is that they never lost balance, whether I scored 15-20 or a hundred. They always encouraged me. I was able to perform since an early age because that balance was maintained. If I did well, like any other family we bought a pack of sweets and offered it to god to thank him. That tradition continues. That’s what I’ve learnt from my parents... when you grow up you appreciate life. 
 

The Young brigade

Guys like Bhuvaneshwar Kumar were not even born when I started playing. I joke with some of them they should say ‘good morning sir’ to me when I enter the room. But it has been a joy working with them. When you understand what they have to say to you, you become a better person. 


Passing on the knowledge

It is a nice thought to open a cricket academy. I’d like to be involved with youngsters. I’ve been interacting with young players from U-19 and Ranji teams. I’ve not made this public. They’ve been low-profile and private. It’s a nice thing. These interactions teach you things about the game. 

Tendulkar junior

As a father, I’ll ask you to leave him alone and not have expectations and draw comparisons with me. If I had followed my father I would have had a pen in my hand since he was in the field of literature. Arjun is passionate about cricket. You have to be madly in love with the sport to be able to give your best. As far as performance goes, I won’t pressurise him and neither should you. He should just enjoy the game. The script ahead for him will be decided by god.

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Ranji Trophy 2013-14: Round-up, Nov 17

Railways, Haryana emerge victorious

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Railways beat Baroda, while Haryana defeated Jharkhand on the last day of the third round of Ranji Trophy 2013-14. Here is the round-up for Day 4:

Group A

Mumbai vs Delhi: Tied on the first-innings score, the drawn game between Mumbai and Delhi gave both teams one point each.

Earlier, resuming on 198 for two, Mumbai declared their innings on 347 for six. Chasing 348, Delhi made 198 before the match was called off. Unmukt Chand was not out on 106, while Gautam Gambhir retired hurt on 51. Virender Sehwag was not on 35 when play ended.

Karnataka vs Gujarat: The four-day match between Karnataka and Gujarat finished in a draw on the last day of game. Having made 411 in the first innings in response to Gujarat’s first-innings score of 306, Karnataka gained three points on the basis of their first-innings lead. When play was called off, Karnataka were 245 for four.

Odisha vs Vidarbha: Odisha received three points on the basis of their first-innings lead against Vidarbha, who got one point for their effort.

Vidarbha were bowled out for 382, after Odisha had made 453 for six before declaring their first innings. Basant Mohanty picked a fiver against Vidarbha.

Haryana vs Jharkhand: Haryana claimed six points with a 30-run win over Jharkhand. The Mohit Sharma-led attack ran through the Jharkand line-up to bowl the opposition out for 172.

Mohit picked four wickets, while Harshal Patel got three and Joginder Sharma took two wickets. Resuming on his overnight score of 29, Bhavin Thakker made 64, while Ishank Jaggi scored 53. But the rest of the Jharkhand line-up folded without offering much resistance.

Group B 

Saurashtra vs UPCA: Having posted a mammoth first-innings score of 632, Saurashtra claimed three points on the basis of their first-innings lead against UPCA.

UP were bowled out for 353 on the last day of the match. Abhishek Bhatt had claimed four wickets, while Jaidev Unadkat took three. Meanwhile, D Jadeja picked two scalps and Kamlesh Makvana chipped in with one wicket. When play ended, Saurashtra were 51 without loss in the second innings. 

SSCB vs Rajasthan: Rajasthan gained three points on the basis of their first-innings lead against Services. Resuming on 345 for four on the fourth day, Rajasthan made 424, courtesy centuries by Robin Bist and R Bishnoi, despite a lower-middle order collapse to take a first-innings lead.

Services then lost their top three batsmen with just nine runs on the board, but were helped to 172 by N Verma (101*) and Yashpal Singh (57*) when play was called off.

Baroda vs Railways: Pacers bowled Railways to a thumping innings and 48-run win over hosts Baroda on the final day of the ongoing round. K Upadhyay claimed four wickets, while Anureet Singh claimed three and R Mali took two to bowl Baroda out for 217 in the second innings.

Anureet Singh sent back Abhimanyu Chauhan and Ambati Rayudu earlier in the morning, while Mali followed up with the wicket of Saurabh Wakaskar a little later. Baroda then kept losing wickets at regular intervals. Pinal Shah was stranded on 57 as the rest of the team caved in to the Railways attack.

MPCA vs Bengal: Following on, Bengal resumed their second innings on 43 for no loss on the last day and pulled off a draw. When play was called off, Bengal were 308 for five and had gained one point from the drawn match, while MP got three points.

Group C

Maharashtra vs Hyderabad: The match between Maharashtra and Hyderabad finished in a draw. In response to Maharashtra’s 616 for nine, Hyderabad were 528 for seven when play was called off on the final day of the match. Both teams gained a point each from the encounter.

Andhra vs Assam: In the drawn match, Assam gained three points on the basis of their first-innings lead, while Andhra received one point.

After Assam were bowled out for 432 on the last day of the game, Andhra were 176 for one in their second innings when play was called off.

Tripura vs Kerala: Kerala beat Tripura by nine wickets on the third day of their four-day match.

J & K vs Himachal: Himachal Pradesh beat J&K by an innings and 192 runs on Day 3.