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Monday, January 31, 2011

Memorable Photos: Sachin Tendulkar's Early Days.

Tendulkar cuts his birthday cake at Sun Grace Mafatlal office in Bombay on April 24, 1990.(his 1st birthday after entering in international cricket.)
Sachin Tendulkar in conversation with a South African cricketer at a Delhi cricket ground on February 3, 1993.
Sachin Tendulkar in conversation with a South African cricketer at a Delhi cricket ground on February 3, 1993.
Sachin Tendulkar in conversation with a South African cricketer at a Delhi cricket ground on February 3, 1993.
Sachin Tendulkar with Sanjay manjrekar & Kambli.
Sachin Tendulkar arrives at Sahar Airport in Bombay from England tour on September 3, 1990.
Sachin Tendulkar arrives at Sahar Airport after the cricket tour of Australia, in Bombay on March 19, 1992.
Sachin Tendulkar 1991
sachin playing table tennis
sachin and manjrekar
plays a hook shot during One Day International (ODI) cricket match in Bombay on October 28, 1990
Indian cricketers Kapil Dev and Sachin Tendulkar at a practice session at National Stadium in New Delhi.
Master Blaster, during his younger days.
lifts the ball across the fence as The Times of India by its lens captures the action for posterity.
Kapil Dev (right) praising and passing on some secrets of the game of cricket to Sachin Tendulkar, in Bombay on January 1, 1989.
his on drive shot during One Day International (ODI) cricket match in Bombay on October 28, 1990.
cricketing genius Sachin Tendulkar in his youthful days.
A portrait of little master Sachin Tendulkar, the new star of Indian cricket.

Playing a shot during 1990.

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World Cup will be our gift to Sachin: Harbhajan.

Ace spinner Harbhajan Singh believes Team India has got what it takes to win the World Cup. And, like most of his colleagues, the 30-year old off-spinner too has a childhood dream to hold on to the most cherished trophy in One-Day cricket. In an exclusive chat with TOI, Bhajji feels India has got what it takes to become champions. Excerpts:

This will be your third World Cup, but the first one at home. What's the feeling like?

I'm really excited and just like the entire country I am also looking forward to it. It is always great to play and perform before the home crowd. Already, the World Cup fever is catching up with each passing day. The atmosphere will be great and there will be a lot of support for us. I hope we play good, consistent cricket and jell as a team.

With the big stage comes the burden of expectations and the pressure to perform . . .

But, as a professional, after playing international cricket for 12 years, you learn to deal with things. Handling pressure and performing well in big games is what every good cricketer looks forward to and it's the same for me. It is natural for the people to expect us to win every game, but we have got to stay focused, be relaxed and take it one game at a time. Having said that, I believe we've got the team to beat any opposition any day.

Do you reckon slow pitches will come handy for Indian spinners at home?

I won't say handy, but yes, we have the edge in home conditions. Don't forget One-Day cricket is a batsman's game. Also, the small grounds means small boundaries and that will be a handicap. Besides, wickets in Bangalore and Nagpur are known to have good bounce for the pacers. As a matter of fact, good bowlers will do well in any conditions. At the end of the day it's about a bowler's skill and the variations he can come up with to take on the batters. Take 'PK' (Praveen Kumar) for example. He is a street-smart cricketer and he thrives in most conditions because of his ability to move the ball.

You are a key player in the Indian line-up. Are you nervous?

Not nervous. You can say there are some butterflies in the stomach. That's because you are keen to do well for your team and for your country. The key is to stay relaxed. This is my third World Cup and I have gone through the grind before. There will be pressure to perform and no one denies that. As a player, and as a team, we have a mission to accomplish. We've got to keep our cool and work hard in every game. It will be extremely important for us to stay in the moment. We need not get ahead of ourselves.

Recently you have played some match-defining innings for India. Do you now fancy playing the big shots?

It is great fun to play the big shots and provide the necessary fireworks. But it doesn't make sense to play to the gallery every time. As a senior player, it is important to play as per the demands of the situation. If I have to stay put and rotate the strike, I am happy to do that. If needed, I relish using the long handle as well. What is important is to finish the game and be on the right side of the result.

This may well be Tendulkar's last World Cup. Do you share his dream of winning it and give him a parting gift?

Yes, of course! It's not just Sachin or me or Dhoni. It is a nation's dream. We have a great side with plenty of match-winners. We have the skill, passion and desire to go all the way. We just need to work hard, stay cool, and, as I said earlier, stay in the moment. As for Sachin, the entire country knows his contribution towards the game. So, winning the World Cup will not only mean fulfilling everyone's dream but that will also be Team India's biggest gift to Sachin Tendulkar.

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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Photos: Sachin Tendulkar in London with Cars.

In 2010 Sachin went to London for holidays with his family.These are the photos during that time.

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Saturday, January 29, 2011

We have the best coach, captain and player: Raina

NEW DELHI: Suresh Raina has been a consistent scorer for India in the shorter version of the game. The recent dip in form during the South African Test series may have raised a few questions about his ability to counter genuine pace and bounce, but the stylish left-hander still backs himself to deliver for Team India in the upcoming World Cup.

Excerpts from an interview:

Are you under pressure to perform?

There is no reason for me to worry about my form. I have been batting well and got to 30-odd regularly in the ODI series against South African in South Africa. Batting at No. 6, I gave my best shot. We couldn't win the series, but we fought hard. The way we applied ourselves augurs well for the World Cup.

After playing cricket at the highest level for a while, I know my game well. One fine day, if someone criticizes me, it doesn't affect me much. I am never under pressure. I have complete faith in my natural ability. More importantly, I enjoy everything I do on the field.

What are India's chances in the World Cup?

We have a very good chance to win the tournament. We have the best coach in Gary Kirsten, best skipper in MS Dhoni and best player in Sachin Tendulkar. I don't see why we can't make it big. Tendulkar is the biggest inspiration for the team and since it's going to be his last World Cup, we will make this tournament a memorable one. We are really pumped up.

A lot of the Indian players have great things to say about Kirsten...

Yes. Kirsten comes across as a very straightforward person. Even when he talks to individuals, he is frank, honest and teaches the cricketers to be better human beings. His mantra is that if you are a good human being, it reflects in your cricket.

India lost wickets during the batting powerplays in South Africa. Is it a worry?

This happened only in the recent series. If you check out the stats in the last couple of years, we have actually done quite well in that area. We will surely do our best in the World Cup.

What is the basic difference between the Indian team in the last year?

We have certainly improved our fielding standards. Everyone in the team is enjoying fielding and this is going to be a key factor in the World Cup. Some of the bowlers are taking good catches. Our top batsmen are in good form and bowlers are doing a great job. We managed to pull off wins in close games. The spin department has always been our strength and the pitches will suit them.

How do you rate the other teams in the tournament?

All the sub-continent teams are capable of turning it around. Even Bangladesh can't be taken for granted. In the World Cup every match is a pressure game. But we are not thinking too much about that. Our focus will be on what we achieve.

Do you have any early memories of the World Cup?

In 1983 when India won the World Cup, I was not even born. But I remember seeing the matches from 1992 onwards and also remember the way the Australians played their cricket for more than a decade. We came close to winning the 2003 World Cup, but it was again the Australians who ruled. It's a dream come true for me to play in the tournament.

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Friday, January 28, 2011

Photos: Sachin Tendulkar at Castrol Awards 2011.

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"I still want to achieve something and everyone knows that," Sachin Tendulkar.

If winning award in cricket was as important as it is in movies, then Sachin Tendulkar would have been equated with Meryl Streep for notching up so many accolades. The Master earned three awards, including Cricketer of the Year, Test Cricketer of the Year and a special achievement award for scoring 50 Test hundreds, in this year’s Castrol Awards for cricketing excellence.

When speaking to the audience, he was asked whether he has achieved everything he has wanted to. His reply was: “I have achieved a lot, but there is one thing I still want to do…” He may not have stated the obvious but he hinted at what was one of the many overt and covert indications of cricket’s biggest prize being a topic of discussion in the ceremony.

Fitting well within the theme was the life time achievement award going to the star of India’s 1983 triumph Mohinder Amarnath, who was given the award by another World Cup winner Sunil Gavaskar.

The two Indian legends then recalled their playing days and narrated various instances to the audience. Gavaskar showered rich praise on his former teammate for his bravery and fitness standards.

“He faced some of the most ferocious bowlers ever with such ease. He was terrific. He was one of the fittest players I ever played with. Before the Indian side had fitness trainers, it was Jimmy who used to lead us in that department,” Gavaskar recalled.

Amarnath, who won the man of the match award in both semifinals and final of the 1983 World Cup, said that the current team was the best-ever assembled. “We have so much variety and talent in the team that I am sure we can lift the Cup again.”

Virender Sehwag, who won the batsman of the year, spoke about an interesting partnership he shared with Rahul Dravid, who was awarded for taking the highest number of catches in Tests.

Sehwag said, “I like playing with Dravid. When I hit a ball, he says, ‘good shot’ and when he leaves a ball I say, ‘well left’. That’s our only conversation, we keep it simple and I like it that way.

The India World Cup team received a boost when stalwarts Mohinder Amarnath, hero of the 1983 triumph, and Sunil Gavaskar termed MS Dhoni's team the best ever to represent the country.

Tendulkar admitted it would be motivation for his teammates.

"It has been terrific being part of a team which Jimmy paaji and Mr Gavaskar rated as one of the best sides to play for India and it is a big compliment coming from them. The goal was to be No. 1 (Test team) and we are happy to achieve that," he said.

Tendulkar was happy to have proved the critics wrong as few gave India a chance against South Africa on their turf.

"When we got there (No.1) people thought it was just a matter of 30-40 days. After losing the first Test to South Africa in Nagpur (2010), we got to hear a lot that we will lose the No.1 spot but were standing here a year later and we are still No. 1. To get to No.1 is wonderful but to stay there for a year is just fantastic," said Tendulkar, who played a pivotal role in helping India square the Test series 1-1.

Tendulkar said the team faced many challenges after reaching the top and praised the entire team as well as coach Gary Kirsten.

"I feel extremely proud to be part of this team. To get there (to the no 1 spot) was not easy. We had to face a lot of challenges and stood together supporting each other. We had to work hard. Gary brought a remarkable change in the squad. All batsmen have performed well since 2007," Tendulkar said in an indirect dig at former coach Greg Chappell.

In fact, Tendulkar did not even mention Chappell's name when he praised the roles of the coaches and managers he worked with in the past and the list included not only Kirsten but also Chandu Borde, Lalchand Rajput, Venkatesh Prasad and Robin Singh.

"Kirsten when he took over had a plan and assessed the situation and it was only the process which we had to go through," he said in praise of the South African who is set to leave the job at the end of the forthcoming World Cup.

Tendulkar also conceded that his dip in form prior to what is generally described as his second innings in his remarkable career was due to the change in his back swing due to the spate of injuries for which he needed four surgeries.

"I underwent four surgeries and each one took four to four and a half months to recover which changed my back swing. But since 2007 I am feeling good and not had any major injuries," he said.

Tendulkar said age should not be a factor in determining a player's worth but only performance.

"I don't think age has anything to do with performance. I started at 16 but anybody can start at any age and finish at any age. What matters is your performance,"
it is about what you bring in as a team member and what you contribute." the champion batsman said.

About completing 50 Test tons, Tendulkar said when he started his career all he heard was the magical figure of 34 Test hundreds by Sunil Gavaskar and that became his goal.

The new star on the cricket horizon, Yusuf Pathan said his strategy is to keep it simple: "If it's in my area, I hit it," said the big-hitting Baroda player, who won the Impact Player Award.

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Video: Sachin Tendulkar stars in ICC WC 2011 campaign

Sachin Tendulkar stars in ICC CWC 2011 campaign
Uploaded by cricketextras. - Technology reviews and science news videos.
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Sachin, Sehwag earn nominations for Cricinfo awards.

NEW DELHI: Sachin Tendulkar has been nominated for the best ODI batsman in 2010 at the ESPNCricinfo Awards, for scoring one-day cricket's first-ever double hundred.

Tendulkar, who had scored an unbeaten 200 against South Africa in Gwalior on February 24, will be competing with compatriots Virender Sehwag and young Virat Kohli apart from seven other players.

India's ever reliable VVS Laxman has earned the nomination for the best Test batsman and out of a total of 10 nominations, the stylish Hyderabadi features in three.

His fantastic knocks - 73 not out against Australia in Mohali, 103 not out against Sri Lanka in Colombo and 96 against South Africa in Durban - make him one of the favourites for the award.

Sehwag has also been nominated in this category for his fighting 109-run knock against Sri Lanka in the first Test at Galle.

Young left-hander Suresh Raina has been nominated in the best Twenty20 batsmen category for his whilrwind 101 against South Africa during the World Twenty20 at St Lucia.

Left-arm seamer Ashish Nehra is in the running for the best ODI bowler award for his four-wicket effort against Sri Lanka in the Asia Cup final in Dambulla.

India's spin spearhead Harbhajan Singh in competing in the best Test bowling performance category for his five for 59 against South Africa in the second Test at Kolkata.

However, no Indian bowler could earn a nomination for the best Twenty20 bowling performance.

In the best ODI batsman category, Sehwag also finds a nomination for his 110-run knock against New Zealand in Dambulla on a tricky, bowling-friendly pitch.

Kohli found his nomination on the basis of his 118-run innings against Australia in Visakhapatnam where India was set a target of 290 and had stumbled to 35 for two.

But with his gritty knock and help from Yuvraj Singh and Raina, Kohli put India back on track.
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Tendulkar, the right choice for ICC WC brand ambassador: Kapil Dev

DUBAI: Former Indian cricket captain Kapil Dev has praised the International Cricket Council (ICC) for selecting batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar as its brand ambassador for the 2011 World Cup.

"I am thankful to ICC for naming Tendulkar as the brand ambassador of the World Cup. I am happy they did not pick any film star, singer or a politician to be their brand ambassador. It is a very great feeling to see your colleague as the brand ambassador for a game which is so fantastic," the Gulf News quoted Kapil Dev, as saying.

He added: "I genuinely feel that the game should be promoted by the cricketers who played the game. I am deeply touched by the gesture and I am sure we could not have got a better person than Tendulkar as the ambassador."

"Everyone has to be proud of this man not because of his performance, but by the way he has played the game for over 20 years. He is truly the greatest sportsman of the era," Dev said.

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India should win World Cup for Sachin: Kambli

MUMBAI: Former cricketer Vinod Kambli on Friday said Mahendra Singh Dhoni and his boys should do everything to win the World Cup for Sachin Tendulkar, who has dreamt of collecting the coveted trophy since his childhood.

Kambli said Tendulkar, his childhood friend, has such a burning desire to win the World Cup title that if it does not materialise this time around, he would continue playing and give it a shot in the 2015 edition.

"It is somewhere in the back of Sachin's mind to win the World Cup. I sincerely hope that the team should give the World Cup gift to him else or he will play in the 2015 World Cup too," Kambli, who played in the 1992 and 1996 World Cups said on the sidelines of a function on Thursday night.

"He (Sachin) has stated his desire to win the World Cup. During the 1987 World Cup we were ball boys and our dream (of playing in World Cup) came true in the 1992 when we played together.

"Many a times I feel why we lost despite coming so close to winning. I remember I had cried. In 1996 we had a good opportunity to win. Despite playing well throughout the tournament we lost the match in the semifinals (against Sri Lanka).

"The entire country is looking forward to it. Our best wishes will really help our team. I wish that the team, after the 1983 World Cup win, will repeat the feat again in the 2011 World Cup. I wish the entire team, especially Mahendra Singh Dhoni, all the best to fulfill the master blaster's dream," he added.

Kambli said the team has enough talent to do well. "There is a different pressure of playing at home. I have faced it during 1996. Just hope that the 1996 incident does not happen again. Crowd will play an important role," he said.

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