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Friday, February 18, 2011

Keeping it simple: Sachin sticks to basics

The hype around him is just building. His captain and teammates have declared they want to win the Cup for him; the experts are running short of adjectives in his praise; the fan clubs are offering prayers for his success. It's just gone over the top. Amidst all this, Tendulkar has tried his best t
o take the normal route to the World Cup.

"There is a lot of hype being created but he himself is not taking it in that manner. He's in a calm frame of mind," one of his close friends told Hindustan Times.

"He's not been part of a winning tournament, he missed the World T20 win too, and it (this World Cup) means a lot to him, but he's not too stressed about it. In fact, he's not discussed the World Cup at all with us; his discussions have been only on the cricketing aspects. We didn't see any difference in him or him being under any less or more pressure," said a player who helped Tendulkar in his training before he joined the Indian team.

The Mumbai stalwart has refrained from making any statements on the World Cup. Most requests for an interview have been politely declined. The public interactions have been restricted to a few sponsor events. For those close to him, it's an attempt to withdraw into a cocoon instead of getting swept away by all the hype. His teammates might be seeking motivation from him, but he doesn't want to exaggerate his importance in India's World Cup campaign.

As for his preparation, a member of his training troop said: "He has his own way of preparing for each tournament and he has gone about doing the same this time. He's not cut down on the time or increased it."

If there is one thing Tendulkar has been a bit stressed about, then it's his fitness. Chandrakant Pandit, who is the Cricket Director at Mumbai Cricket Association's academy at the Bandra-Kurla Complex, said Tendulkar has worked very hard on getting fit. "He didn't take a break after coming back from South Africa (where he pulled a hamstring in the ODIs).

Within a day he was here, working out with his trainer; having almost two-hour daily sessions," said the former India player. Tendulkar's normal training drills include batting for long hours against the bowling machine or taking knocks.
"This time, he did not bat against the bowling machine, he just had net sessions."

At the national camp too, Tendulkar chose to bat in the nets instead of having the customary, long throw downs from his coach. "He wants to rest his muscles. He is in great form and at this stage, just getting the feel back is enough," said an Indian dressing room source.

As for his armoury, the highest run-getter (1,796 runs) in World Cup history might be seen trying out bats with the sweet spot a bit lower, to suit the lower bounce of the sub-continent wickets.

"During nets, he was trying each and every bat from a set of five-six. The bulk (sweet spot) of these bats was a bit lower," said Pandit

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