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Thursday, June 30, 2011

Photos: Relegious side of Indian Cricketers.

Sachin and anjali perfoming puja.
Sachin at sri venkateswara swamy temple.
Raina,Yuvraj and Sreeshant after Perfoming puja.
Sehwag at shirdi saibaba temple.
Raina at shirdi.
Harbhajan at Gurudwara.

Relegious Dhoni .
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News Tendulkar, Dhoni to fly Sukhoi soon

Star cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Mahendra Singh Dhoni will soon don the flying suits, with the defence ministry clearing their flights in Indian Air Force's mighty Su-30 MKI fighter jets. "Our proposal to fly the two cricketers in the Su-30s has been approved by the Defence Ministry and we are looking forward to their flight in Pune soon," IAF officials said.

The proposal for flying Tendulkar and Dhoni was submitted with the Government by the IAF.

They said the dates for the flights have not been finalised yet and would be done soon depending on the availability of the two cricketers.

After India's World Cup victory in April this year, IAF chief Air Chief Marshal P V Naik had said that he would seek special permission from the government so that Dhoni and Tendulkar could experience a flight in Su-30MKI.

"Tendulkar is already our Honorary Group Captain. Once both Sachin and Dhoni are free from their cricketing engagements, I will ensure that they get to fly Su-30MKI. They have done our country proud and it will be an honour for us," he had said.

At present, Dhoni is leading India in the three match test series against West Indies in the Caribbean and Tendulkar is on a personal visit to England.

Pune-based air force station Lohegaon is the home-base of Sukhois and VIPs including President Pratibha Patil and her predecessor A P J Abdul Kalam had also taken off in the mighty jets from the air base.


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Defending champ Chennai Super Kings grouped with Mumbai Indians for Twenty20 Champions League

NEW DELHI - Defending champion Chennai Super Kings, led by India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, has been grouped with Sachin Tendulkar's Mumbai Indians for the Champions League Twenty20 tournament.

The Sept. 23-Oct. 9 tournament, featuring 10 of the world's top T20 sides, will be played in two groups of five with the top two teams from each group advancing to the semifinals.

It will be played at Chennai, Bangalore and Kolkata. Chennai will host the final and a semifinal. Bangalore will host the other semifinal.

Seven teams from India, Australia and South Africa have earned given direct entries, while six others will play off for the remaining three spots in a qualifying tournament at Hyderabad from Sept. 19-21.

The qualifying event will have two pools of three teams with the top side from both advancing, along with the next best qualifier.

Indian team Kolkata Knight Riders, Trinidad and Tobago of West Indies and Auckland Aces of New Zealand will be joined by two teams from England and one from Sri Lanka in qualifying.

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Group A: Chennai Super Kings (India), Cape Cobras (South Africa), New South Wales Blues (Australia), Mumbai Indians (India), qualifier.

Group B: Bangalore Royal Challengers (India), Warriors (South Africa), South Australian Redbacks (Australia), qualifier, qualifier.


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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Tendulkar finds a way to challenge himself: Webster

BRIDGETOWN: Newly-appointed West Indies team psychologist Rudi Webster is a Sachin Tendulkar fan and he admires the champion batsman for his ability to impose himself on opponents, situations and conditions.

"Sachin, like any great sportsman or businessman, finds a way to challenge himself. He finds a way to get on top of tricky situations and conditions. But only the very best can manage so," said the genial Webster, who has been roped in by the West Indies Cricket Boad (WICB) to boost the team ahead of the second cricket Test against India beginning here tomorrow.

India are 1-0 up in the series by virtue of their 63-run win over the hosts in the first Test at the Sabina Park in Kingston, Jamaica last week.

Webster feels cricketers must know when to let the storm pass and then get on top of situations - a quality which he terms as "flexibility of mind."

"Others must know to spot the situation which needs different responses. They should have that intense concentration to know when they must play against their natural instincts. They must challenge themselves to be flexible," he said.

"Australians, for example, never needled Lara. Lara was an extremely dangerous opponent. As for others, like Sir Garfield Sobers once said, mind more than skills make a difference in their careers.

"There has to be a reason why incredibly talented cricketers don't make it to the top while lesser cricketers achieve more than their skills deserve," he added.

Webster mentions two Indian cricketers -- Virender Sehwag and Yuvraj Singh -- in the same breath as he finds the duo incredibly talented.

"Virender Sehwag is one another incredible talent. I haven't seen many who can time a cricket ball better than him. He too is a cricketer who loves to impose himself on a cricket field. But he would be still a better batsman if he respected conditions and opponents once in a while," he said.

"Yuvraj Singh is another. Not just as a one-day batsman but I feel he should have really made it big in Test cricket. It's just not his timing, his entire talent as a cricketer is striking," feels the Englishman, who played first class cricket for Warwickshire.

Webster now has the responsibility to make the West Indies team punch above their weight against the Indians in the second Test.

The hosts have some incredibly talented cricketers like Darren Bravo and Adrian Barath, to name a few, but they are unable to string together good performances on a cricket field consistently.

West Indian skipper Darren Sammy feels there is very little difference between the two sides and it is upon Webster now to make the Caribbean players mentally tough.

"Mr Webster is primarily working with our batsmen. He is trying to get their confidence up. Hopefully, we will see the result in this Test," he said.

"If batsmen bat with confidence and compliment our bowlers, we would be alright.

"We haven't handled pressure situations well. At key moments, we have suffered collapses. There is something which affects us. When we are in good position, we suddenly tend to lose it. We need to be mentally strong not to crumble under pressure," remarked Sammy.


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Sachin Tendulkar's Yorkshire roots helped make him a master of modesty

The India legend's brief spell wearing the White Rose ushered in a new era at Headingley and kept a huge talent grounded

    Sachin Tendulkar
    Sachin Tendulkar poses with a pint and a cloth cap after being chosen as the first non-Yorkshireman to play for the county. Photograph: Tony Harris/PA

    Sachin Tendulkar was back at Wimbledon at the weekend, acknowledging the crowd's applause in the Royal Box for the fourth year in succession. A boyhood tennis nut, who idolised John McEnroe, India's great batsman spoke afterwards about his hour-long post-match summit with Roger Federer. "What a humble guy!" the Little Master said, immediately pinpointing the supreme quality that impresses him most.

    It is the same one that has defined his own 23-year career, a humility in excelsis that has allowed him to weather an unparalleled level of scrutiny and adulation and still seem the unpretentiously modest child prodigy who scored his maiden first-class century at the age of 15.

    It was never more apparent than in 1992 when, to much fanfare, he became Yorkshire's first overseas signing after Geoffrey Boycott and the club's cricket committee finally dismantled the Broad Acres-born policy that had, with a few breaches that were brushed under the carpet, prevailed for more than 70 years.

    In the late 1970s and 80s, Yorkshire's civil war waged by pro and anti-Boycott factions had left the club thoroughly demoralised, impoverished and moribund both on and off the field. The odd cherished twitch on the thread – winning the John Player League under the captaincy of a 51-year-old Ray Illingworth in 1983 and victory in the Benson and Hedges Cup final at Lord's four years later – papered over the cracks. But the once-dominant county had been usurped in the championship by the new powerhouses of Essex and Middlesex.

    Once Boycott's committee had voted, by a margin of 18 to one, to break with the past, they put Australia's Dean Jones on standby, then bowing to the wishes of the captain, Martyn Moxon, signed up a fast bowler instead, Jones's compatriot Craig McDermott. Due to make his debut on Good Friday, McDermott telephoned his new employers a month before his scheduled arrival and pulled out with a groin injury, provoking much spluttering at Headingley.

    A year earlier Fred Trueman had called the decision to recruit an overseas player "a bloody disgrace" and the revolutionaries were forced on to the back foot by McDermott's withdrawal. They reacted to the crisis with a masterstroke, using the Bradford League veteran and Dewsbury businessman Solly Adam, who had recruited India's Vinod Kambli to play for Spen Victoria, to approach Kambli's schoolmate Tendulkar to fill the void.

    After a week's thought he agreed and flew in for practice, posing for photographs with a flat cap barely containing his curls and holding up a pint of beer, which made him the most incongruous Tetley Bitterman to date.

    At the age of 19 he had scored three Test centuries, including a brilliant one at Old Trafford in 1990 when Eddie Hemmings grassed a straightforward caught-and-bowled chance to give him a life, and a sparkling counter-attacking carnival of square cuts on a blood-curdlingly fast track at Perth in 1992.

    His maturity had long since marked him out and he quickly acclimatised to the Yorkshire dressing room. After only a few weeks the coach, Steve Oldham, said: "They are all better players for his presence. His confidence is infectious, they all want to bat with him." Fifteen hundred new members joined the club, the same number of McDermott mugs the Yorkshire shop had to send to landfill, and though the attempt of a few wags on the Western Terrace to nickname him "Seth" didn't catch on, Tendulkar was relished during his time with the club.

    He asked for his name to be removed from his sponsored car after attracting too much attention but he was largely left alone on his days off, heading off to Blackpool pleasure beach to ride the Big One time and again and enjoying his first experience of eating fish and chips out of newspaper.

    In 16 championship games he scored 1,070 runs, demonstrating his formidable blend of exquisite timing, judgment, improvisation and an eye the Australians likened to that of a dead fish. He scored only one century, at Chester-le-Street, but was caught short in the 80s three times and the 90s twice. It didn't make much difference to the club's fortunes on the field as they finished 16th in the table a month after he had left to join up with India.

    But a decade later, when he was inducted as one of five great Yorkshire players, Tendulkar said: "I will always remember this as one of the greatest four and a half months I've spent in my life."

    Results do not tell the whole story. For many of us who dreamed of wearing the White Rose and failed to make the grade, Tendulkar's spell at the club and the more tolerant era he helped to usher in made frustrated ambitions easier to bear. In 2002 he scored 193 for India at Headingley as England were demolished by an innings to give the Yorkshire public the century they had craved 10 years earlier – and no Tyke begrudged him. After all, he's one of us.


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I can relate to Tendulkar in dedication and aggression: Bolt

NEW DELHI: Yearning to see Sachin Tendulkar play, Olympic and world champion sprinter Usain Bolt on Tuesday said he can relate to the Indian cricket icon when it comes to dedication and aggression.

Asked about the qualities he admires in Tendulkar, Bolt said, "Tendulkar is obviously dedicated. He is aggressive but calculated and knows how to make runs."

"He (Tendulkar) also plays for the fans ... really similar to what I do," Bolt said.

Tendulkar recently met tennis great Roger Federer during the ongoing Wimbledon Championships in London and Bolt said he would be game for a similar meeting with the Indian.

"I hope to be able to watch him play sometime in future but I don't have any plans to meet him at the moment. He is always welcome to come and watch me run," said the Jamaican triple Olympic and World Championships gold medallist.

Bolt described Tendulkar as one of the greatest cricketers but picked fellow West Indian Vivian Richards as the greatest of all time.

Asked to take his pick among Tendulkar, Brian Lara, Vivian Richards, Garfield Sobers and Shane Warne, Bolt said, "That is a difficult one, they were all great in their time, but I think I would give the edge to Sir Vivian Richards."

Bolt said just like Tendulkar, he also has to deal with the expectations of millions of his fans but the adulation motivates him.

"I use it (pressure of expectation) as a positive. It is nice when so many people are interested in what you do and concerned by the outcome. I find it motivating," said Bolt, the world record holder (9.58secs) in 100m.

Bolt's famous 'bow and arrow' celebration pose was imitated by the Indian cricket team during the recent World Cup and he said he felt honoured.

"It is a great honour when someone else copies my pose. I have seen it in cricket and football and it makes me smile every time," he said.

Bolt explained that his running schedule was the reason he skipped the Commonwealth Games here last year but would look forward to run in India in future.

"The Commonwealth Games could not have been part of my schedule due to the time of year when they were staged. I normally end my season in September, rest in October and then start training in November for the following season. I would like to run in India in the future," he said.

"My coach and agent make all decisions about where I race. We look at the overall picture taking into consideration our major goals. Nobody tries to influence us to run in competitions that are not part of the schedule."

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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Bolt dreams of watching Tendulkar play live

Sachin Tendulkar's [ Images ] long list of admirers keeps on growing with world and Olympic [ Images ] champion sprinter Usain Bolt [ Images ] on Saturday saying he was one of the "greatest cricketer" and he dreams of watching the Indian champion play live.

Bolt, one of the most celebrated modern sporting icons, also said that he would one day run in India [ Images ], despite the fact that had pulled out of the Commonwealth Games [ Images ] held in New Delhi [ Images ] last year.

Usain Bolt"For me he (Tendulkar) is one of the greatest cricketers I have seen. He has done extremely well and he is a very aggressive cricketer. I look forward to the day when I can see him play live," said the Jamaican 100m world record holder (9.58secs) about Tendulkar who opted out of India's ongoing West Indies [ Images ] tour to take rest.

"It would be great had he (Tendulkar) played in Jamaica (in India's first Test against West Indies). I want to see him play, that is my dream," said the triple Olympic and World Championships gold medallist.

Bolt also said that he loved the aggressive attitude of Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni [ Images ] during the first Test in Kingston [ Images ].

"I loved to watch Dhoni, he is aggressive. Both of them (Dhoni and Tendulkar) are aggressive players," he told Times Now.

Bolt's favourite West Indies player is swashbuckling batsman Chris Gayle [ Images ], who was axed from the squad due to a stand-off with his Cricket Board.

"I want to watch Chris Gayle play. I have never met him and he is my favourite," said Bolt about his compatriot.

Asked about any chance of running in India, Bolt said, "In future I hope I can make a comeback in India as I heard there is a big fanbase for me there. I like to thank them for the support and I would urge them to keep supporting me."

He said his focus now is to reach peak form during the World Championships in Daegu, South Korea from August 27 to September 4.

"I want to do my best in the World Championships and I am working for that. My focus is the World Championships and I want to be the best there."


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Sachin Tendulkar takes loan to buy 450 sq ft 1BHK in Panvel

Sachin Tendulkar’s new address — an 8,998 sqft-bungalow at Bandra’s Perry Cross Road bought for a whopping Rs39 crore — caught the attention of one and all. But the bungalow is not the only property Tendulkar has purchased in recent times.

The Master Blaster recently booked another house — an under-construction 1BHK flat in Panvel, 45 km from Mumbai. Surprisingly, Tendulkar took a loan to purchase the flat with a carpet area of 467 sqft and 61 sqft terrace-balcony.

The cost of the property developed by Thalia Investment Pvt Ltd is Rs24.88 lakh, but sources said the price would go up to Rs30 lakh as buyers in Navi Mumbai have to pay at least 30% in black money on the total cost.

But why would Tendulkar, who could purchase a sprawling mansion anywhere, choose to buy a 1BHK in Panvel? A source said the flat was for the Master Blaster’s son Arjun.

“Arjun wants to become a cricketer. As he wants to stay away from the limelight, Arjun prefers to hone his skills at the Karnala Sports Academy during weekends. The academy is very close to Panvel and Arjun can stay in the new flat instead of commuting to Bandra,” he said. “Also, the proposed new international airport is just 3km away from the flat. So, it could be used as a halting place by the Tendulkars before flying anywhere.”

The registration documents, copies of which are with DNA, carries Tendulkar’s current address — Lamor Mishree Park in Bandra — which substantiated that the cricketer has purchased the flat. Tendulkar’s wife, Anjali, was at the sub-registration office in Panvel recently.

Nitin Patel of Thalia Investment confirmed that Anjali Tendulkar booked the flat in her name, but refused to give more details. Anjali Tendulkar did not reply to DNA’s email.


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Sachin replaces Ferrari with a Nissan GTR: Reports .

New Delhi:

Sachin Tendulkar may have sold his Ferrari 360 but he is not without a super car. According to sources and news reports, Sachin has already replaced his prancing horse with a Nissan GTR 530, a 530 horse-powered, four-wheel drive.


Related read: Sachin retains Ferrari's lucky number plate


While auto-enthusiasts are claiming that Sachin may have opted to not drive his Ferrari because of it's low-ground clearance which made the car unfit to drive on Mumbai roads, others are not too enthusiastic about his latest buy which they say, cannot be compared to the sheer snob value attached with a Ferrari.

The master-blaster though, according to reports, already took the delivery of his Nissan a fortnight ago. The Times of India quoted Arabian Automobiles in Dubai, from where the car was bought, as saying that two engineers had flown in with the car to tune it to Sachin's preference.

The daily also had a close friend confirm the buy. "Sachin is delighted with the arrival of his new car."

The cost of the new addition to Tendulkar's collection of 2 BMWs and a Skoda: $87,000 (Rs. 40 lakh approx).


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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sachin is number one Indian batsman: Walsh

There seems no end to the list of Sachin Tendulkar admirers and the latest to laud the Indian batting icon is West Indian fast bowling great Courtney Walsh.

"For me, Sachin has been the number one Indian batsman. Sometimes he has challenged me and at other times I have done so and we were very competitive. When we catch up there is respect from both sides," stated Walsh, who took 519 wickets in 132 Tests, making him the fifth greatest wicket-taker of all time.

Only Muttiah Muralitharan (800 wickets), Shane Warne (708), Anil Kumble (619) and Glenn McGrath (563) have more wickets than Walsh in Test history.

Walsh was speaking on the occasion of a stand at Sabina Park being named after him on the opening day of the first Test on Monday.

Walsh sees a lot of good in modern-day cricket but feels most of them are not with West Indian cricket.

"Most changes are for good but in the West Indies team, consistency is not there, confidence is not there. There is potential and some are very good fast bowlers. We are working and I am sure we would be back soon," he said.

Even after playing for so long, Walsh believes he could have carried on a bit longer but wanted to make way for some promising fast bowlers.

"I left a little early. West Indies was touring Zimbabwe and I though it was time to move on, give youngsters a break.

"But those youngsters didn't come through and so I could have carried on a little longer," he said.

Walsh and Curtly Ambrose set up a deadly attack for the West Indies in the '90s and were the last great Caribbean fast bowlers to emerge from the region.

"We never competed against each other; we complimented each other. Our styles were different. We tried to do what the team required.

"I never sledged for it was important to maintain the spirit of the game. For me the ball did the talking," he said. Walsh named Michael Holding, who also belongs to Jamaica, as his fast bowling idol.

"I watched him as a kid and later we together played for the same club, Jamaica and of course West Indies."
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Monday, June 20, 2011

Never wanted to exploit freedom given by my father: Tendulkar

MUMBAI: India's batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar has revealed that during his teenage days he resisted the temptation to skip practice to eat "vada pavs" but his respect for his father always restrained him from doing so.

In an interview to a Marathi TV channel, Tendulkar said he never wanted to exploit the freedom given by his father, who wanted the legend to pursue sporting excellence.

"As a kid I always felt like bunking the practice session and go out to eat 'vada pavs' like most children of my age did. But I never wanted to exploit the freedom given by my father, who wanted me to pursue my interest in cricket and pressurised me to achieve academic success," said Tendulkar.

"When in school I found that scoring runs was easier for me than scoring marks. My father recognised my passion for cricket and fully supported me, insisting that whatever I do, I should not lose my focus," he said.

The former India captain said it was his coach Ramakant Archrekar and brother Ajit, who kept him focussed.

"The credit to keep me focussed on the game, which is my passion, should go to my coach and my brother. They ensured that I never lost focus," said Tendulkar.

The 38-year-old also advised budding cricketers to be self-disciplined.

"As a professional sportsman it is necessary to imbibe a kind of self-discipline and you cannot eat and drink at will. Everybody wants to enjoy life, but one has to know one's limitations and ensure that it (lifestyle) does not affect your performance," he said.

Recalling an experience during the World Cup, Tendulkar said: "The temperature in Ahmedabad where we were to play our World Cup matches (quarterfinals against Australia) was going to be very hot. Knowing that I put myself on a simple diet three to four days before the match. The purpose was to ensure that body heat did not increase as it would have been detrimental to performance, coupled with the hot conditions in the field."


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Saturday, June 18, 2011

I would go to war with Dhoni by my side: Gary Kirsten

Gary Kirsten

By now, one must have heard, read and known a lot about India’s World Cup win. But every word has not yet been said and every detail has not been disclosed. Gary Kirsten, the man behind the triumph, revealed some in Mumbai recently. At a gathering of elite business leaders, he came up with his side of the World Cup story.

So what led to the triumph? The creation of a happy environment, focus on the team’s strengths than the opposition’s, stress on the process and not the results, the realisation that playing for something bigger than their own thing and emphasis on preparation than performance…

Thus said Kirsten: “We created a sense of team and a sense of meaning that was bigger than an individual. That’s what unfolded as we got to the three big knock-out games. You would notice that there weren’t any huge individual performances. There were a lot of little contributions along the way. People were playing for something bigger than their own thing and it’s great when a team plays that way.”

At the gathering, organised by Ernst & Young, Kirsten did not just theorise the triumph. He made a few disclosures too. Gautam Gambhir, he said, lacked self confidence and Suresh Raina, he felt, won India the World Cup. Sachin Tendulkar, according to him, contemplated retirement. And Dhoni? Well, with the skipper, he would be prepared to go to the war.

“One word that comes to my mind about Dhoni’s leadership is presence. I put the words — inspiration and presence — together, because I believe, I was in a position to inspire people through my work ethic whereas Dhoni was a leader for them through presence.

“I want to go to war with this guy,” Kirsten said talking of the skipper.

“I have read that great leaders in the world give credit to others when things are going well and take responsibility when things are going badly. MS Dhoni is that to the ‘T’.”

Kirsten felt Dhoni is very unemotional and in that way very unIndian.

“Winning and losing don’t mean a lot to him, he just gets on with it. He has this uncanny presence about him without saying much. People want to follow him, people want to go with him.”

The former coach then revealed about the dressing room activity before Dhoni famously promoted himself in the final.

“I remember before the final that we had been floating him at No 5 or 6 in the batting order and Yuvraj was batting at No 4. Every now and then, I would walk up to him and ask whether we want to do any rotations? We had Randiv (Lankan spinner) bowling and it was tough for the left-handers. So, I just went up to him and said ‘MS why don’t you go in now’. And he said ‘I don’t know’ and he walked away.

“If he had made a call, I would always leave him with that. The next thing I turn around and I see he has had his pads on. I asked him what’s happening and he said ‘I am in next,’” Kirsten revealed.

“And I knew straight away that he was going to win the World Cup for us. Because that’s the individual he is. He has this x-factor and walks around with his presence.”

Kirsten thought he and Dhoni had formed a great leadership combination. “I think what we were able to do is form a great leadership combination. The admirable thing is that in the three years that I was with him, he never lost his temper even once. We operate in a highly volatile and emotional environment and you always knew from the leader that he was never going to lose his temper but you knew he meant business when he had something to say.”

Kirsten said Gambhir had to be reminded about his importance to the team. “Gautam is a serious and intense guy but lacks a bit of his own belief. And this is a great player, who ended up getting a 97 in the World Cup final and set up the game for us to win. I knew Gambhir was a crucial component to our team, and if he lacked self belief or had self doubts, then it was my responsibility. So, everytime I got on the team bus, I would give him that sense of affirmation of what he meant to the team.”

Suresh Raina, according to the former coach, won India the World Cup with his showing against Australia. “He pretty much won the World Cup for us with that knock against the Australians in the quarterfinals. He had just played one game and then he went on and played the most responsible, mature knock and won us the game. For me, that was really a combination of years of making mistakes but learning along the way.”

Kirsten said Tendulkar wanted to see a friend in him. “I will never forget the first interaction I had with each player. Sachin said just one line — ‘I want you to be my friend’. It was a very powerful statement and only later did I understand it because you know when I look back, I felt ‘gee that’s easy, I can be a nice guy,’ but that’s not what he meant. He wanted me to be a genuine friend.

“As the three years with the Indian team unfolded,I began to realise what he was saying. The day before the World Cup final, his wife, Anjali, came to me and said ‘I want to thank you for all that you have done for my husband’. And that’s when I realised the effect of working with Sachin for three years. He had actually considered retiring from international cricket. He had some poor relations with the previous leader of the team.”

Kirsten thought before he joined the team, the Indian team did not know how to prepare for a game.

“If I had to rate it out of 10, I thought the way the Indian players practised was about 1 or 2. Basically, what I realised was there was no connection between preparation and play. We just upped the ante on our preparation and we had real purpose to everything we did and then the Indian team probably became the hardest working and preparation team in the world. From 2 we went to 7 or 8.”


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News Dravid is still motivated by Tendulkar

He has spent 15 years in International cricket but senior India batsman Rahul Dravid says he continues to be inspired by Sachin Tendulkar, with whom he has starred in 19 Test century stands. "He's been phenomenal, has had terrific last 2-3 years and possibly done the best batting of his life," said
Dravid in his ever-earnest manner in his first practice session in the Caribbean on Friday.

"When I came he had already been around for seven years; he was my captain in West Indies (in 1997) and was a source of great motivation. That motivation has not changed," he added.

India will play three tests against West Indies starting from next Monday and four against England spread across next two months this summer.

Dravid is the third highest run-scorer of all time, scoring 12,063 Test runs in 150 matches at an average of 52.44. He is also the only batsman to have hit at least one century in all 10 Test playing nations. That's not all, he is also a world-beater with 200 catches.

Yet all this greatness sits lightly on a modest man who still is anxious to compete well for himself and his country.

"I had a seven month time off (from Tests). But I knew about these seven Tests in a row and was ready with my preparations," he said. " You know you have done enough but there is still a certain pressure; you still feel nervous and there are butterflies (in your stomach). These things never change. It would be nice to get runs early on and keep the form going."

Dravid expects great things from this largely young side which is being led by an extremely capable captain in Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

"He (Dhoni) has led very well and done a great job. He exudes calm and his records, be it in Tests, in IPL or in one-day cricket has been phenomenal. His ability to remain calm under pressure is a priceless ability. (The team is) lucky to have a guy who has this kind of quality," he said.

The 38-year-old cricketer is aware that the transitional phase of Indian cricket is at hands and is hopeful that a few of the younger guys would carry the torch forward.

"Over the next year or two, young batsmen should be coming through—like Ganguly, Laxman and I did. Sooner than later, similar young boys would come through and two or three would have similar long careers for the next 15 years. Then the team is going to be in good health," he said.

Dravid hoped he would play a role in this learning curve, sharing his experiences with the younger kids.

"Young kids love to chat and you are always open. There would be opportunity to share this experience over the next seven Tests. It would be great to pass on this knowledge.

"Unfortunately, today it's not the nature of cricket to have a lot of practice games ahead of a series. I remember I had six or seven practice games in England and there was so much to learn from the Tendulkars, Manjrekars and Azharuddins of the side.

"Tests are always so stressful but practice games allow you to relax and interact. I don’t know any solution; its tough on kids," he added.

Dravid was particularly keen to do well in Sabina Park, and generally in the Caribbean, for the great charm the region held in his mind while growing up.

"You remember as a kid listening to radio and hearing about Sabina Park; Gavaskar hitting centuries; those fearsome fast bowlers and you dreamt of playing here," he said.

"I have now been involved in four Test matches at this venue and I know when I sit back I will be happy about it."

It was at the Sabina Park where he last came as a captain in 2006 and his two half centuries was instrumental in India winning their first series in Caribbean after 35 years.

Dravid rated those two innings of 81 and 68 in a low-scoring game as one of the better knocks of his entire distinguished career.

"It was a very difficult pitch. In the context of the series, it was one of the better Test match innings I have played. In a low-scoring game, anything could have happened. It was most satisfying and in terms of quality, I rate it one of my better innings," he said.

Dravid believed the pitch here for the first Test is going to be extremely testing too.

"This generally has good bounce. Looking at this wicket, it would be a good challenge. They have a good pace attack. We have the bowling and hopefully the guys will make a difference."

Dravid claimed he didn't feel bad he wasn't part of the team which won the World Cup earlier this year and indeed took delight in the achievement of his mates.

"I knew I wasn't playing, I haven't been playing one-day cricket for the last two and a half years. So I didn't feel bad in that sense. I was happy for the team, for Indian cricket as it took 28 long years," he said.

"You feel good for the guys, that you have played with some of these guys and that men like me, Ganguly, Kumble were involved in the system in the past, have had some role to play in this onward journey," he added.

Dravid was evasive in his views on the controversial Umpires Decision Review System (UDRS) which is not being supported by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).

"My views really don't matter. In the past I have said that UDRS is going to be used at some stage. Obviously Indian board wants it be consistent, really this is between the ICC and BCCI to sort it out.
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Friday, June 17, 2011

Not against DRS, just want more consistency - Tendulkar

(Reuters) - Sachin Tendulkar is not against the controversial Decision Review System (DRS) but he wants it to be more consistent, the Indian batsman said.

The general perception is that the powerful Indian cricket board's steadfast opposition to DRS stems partially from the apprehension that Tendulkar and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, share about the technology's accuracy.

Tendulkar, however, said he was not altogether against the technology.

"I am not against DRS, but I feel it will be more effective with the support of the Snickometer and Hot Spot technology. This will give more consistent results," he told the ESPNcricinfo website (www.espncricinfo.com).

The Snickometer is used detect edges, while Hot Spot gives more convincing indications of the ball's point of contact. Hawk Eye technology, used more often, replicates the ball's trajectory.

The International Cricket Council (ICC) has recommended the mandatory use of DRS, under which teams currently can make two unsuccessful appeals against an umpire's decision per innings, in all formats of the game but the Indian cricket board have vowed to oppose it.

Incidentally, Tendulkar's one day opening partner Virender Sehwag is an admirer of it while former India coach Gary Kirsten has also backed the technology which, the ICC claimed, has improved correct decisions by seven percent.

"I have even told the ICC that we have no problem with Hot Spot. Our objection is to ball tracking," Indian cricket board president Shashank Manohar told website.

BCCI secretary N Srinivasan shot off an angry letter to the ICC in March, claiming the technology's "inadequacy" had been exposed in this year's 50-over World Cup, which was won by India.

The BCCI's opposition meant the DRS would not be used in India's tour of England starting next month.


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Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sachin revived my career, says Yuvraj




TURNING POINT:Yuvraj Singh, seen with his mother Shabnam Singh, asserts that the one hour he spent with Sachin Tendulkar changed his life and career.

NEW DELHI: An unfailingly joyful celebrity on the cricket field; That is Yuvraj Singh, much misunderstood, much-maligned by “ill-informed” critics; a loner actually, still waiting for recognition.

Few know the real Yuvraj, who, self-admittedly, is yet to attain the fruits of his hard work under scorching sun, playing for India, winning hearts, breaking hearts, but playing to win matches, pursing a punishing course but unwilling to bend or surrender. “I am not what they say, show or write,” pleads the man who, in Sachin Tendulkar's words, is an “awesome” cricketer.

Yuvraj's story is about resonance of success even though his mistakes continue to haunt him. “When you are young, you are vulnerable. You don't listen to elders. As you grow, you understand life better. Criticism hurt a lot when I was young. Not anymore. I understand it is part and parcel of the game. But I welcome matured criticism.”

Want to prove myself

Recuperating at home, spending time with friends and wondering what lies ahead, Yuvraj confesses he has matured since the World Cup glory. “I want to prove my mettle as a Test batsman. I have it in me, just need a break. I am looking forward to making an impact as a Test player. That is real cricket.”

He is striving now to make it to the Test team for England. “Injuries and form always hampered my Test journey. Now was the best time but unfortunately this happened (chest infection). It is strange. The more I yearn for Test cricket the more it eludes me. I am hopeful to make it to the Test team for England. I am working to be fit and hopefully I'll get an opportunity. I want to do well in Test cricket.”

The World Cup was a “dream fulfilled” but it was so dark and stifling, just a year ago. He was not getting runs, losing confidence. It was bleak and crushing. And then he spent an hour with Sachin Tendulkar, in Sri Lanka. “That one hour changed my life, my career” he remembers with gratitude.

If Yuvraj, 29, played the World Cup for Tendulkar, 38, it was his way of acknowledging the man's influence and encouragement. “He told me so many things. He was actually more concerned than me. I was struggling for direction. He showed me the way. He recalled his own lack of form, how he had stopped enjoying cricket and how he emerged from that period.”

Most important thing

What was the most important thing that he remembered from the one-hour conversation? “He told me ‘when the time comes you'll matter the most' and I remembered it right through the World Cup. I shone and he celebrated more than I did.”

One of the finest stroke-makers in modern cricket, sometimes, quite needlessly, is compared with past greats. “I would like to be Yuvraj Singh, have my own identity, leave a legacy of my own... I know my responsibilities towards my fans and well-wishers and that is what I have been trying to achieve, trying to set an example, a benchmark, worth being proud of. I am simple and honest. That's how I want you to remember me.” He has never been a boring batsman to watch, never. Whether he entertains long, or perishes quickly, Yuvraj always bats on his terms. He believes in going the full route. How? By making a statement, a resounding one, with his bat, in his style. “I am not the type to worry about the average. I look at myself as a match-winner and would like to be known for this quality.”

The driving force

Who is the force behind his newly-found sense of calmness? “It is my belief in God. I am motivated to do the right things, with the right perspective. I owe it to my gurus (Sant Baba Ajit Singhji and Sant Baba Ram Singhji), and mom (Shabnam Singh).”

Only three Test centuries in 34 Tests, his first coming in only his second match! “That is not me.” he confesses. So, what next? “Will make amends, will make runs, loads of them.” Bowlers, watch out. He had made a similar resolve before the 2011 World Cup. And won the Cup for India!


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Fascinating to share dressing room with Tendulkar: Franklin

WELLINGTON: New Zealand all-rounder James Franklin has said that he considers himself fortunate to have shared a dressing room with Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar during this year's Indian Premier League.
Fascinating to share dressing room with Tendulkar: Franklin

The Waikato Times quoted Franklin, as saying: "He's a really nice guy and it's fascinating to watch the way he trains and prepares for games under all that scrutiny."

"That was good fun, also getting to know him and what his interests are outside the game," he added.

Now back home with wife Kerry and son Charlie, 2, and a second child due in July, Franklin, 30, is taking his first serious break in two years instead of rejoining Gloucestershire.

His player review with Wright and Greatbatch will focus on his bowling, which he hopes to return to the state it was five years ago. With 89 ODIs and 27 Tests to his name, the premier all-rounder's spot remains a big goal when training resumes next month.

"Bowling is going to be a key emphasis, to work hard and get it back to a standard where I can win games for whoever I play for. It has been a bit topsy turvy for the past two years."

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Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Sachin keeps word, visits paraplegic centre

Standing true on a promise made to disabled soldiers at the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre (PRC) in Khadki, on April 21, Sachin Tendulkar visited the centre on Monday. The cricketer interacted with some of the basketball players, discus throwers and archer Amol Boriwale whom Sachin will sponsor for the Paralympic trials in Italy in 2011.
Sachin Tendulkar with disabled soldiers at Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre
Sachin Tendulkar with disabled soldiers at Paraplegic Rehabilitation Centre

Office Superintendent of the PRC RJ Manickam said, “At the video conference with Sachin on his birthday, he had promised that he would visit the centre. It was a nice gesture on his part that he visited us within a couple of months of the conversation.”

Tendulkar met basketball players C Y Reddy, A D Pereira and Walsalan Nada and discus player Shymal Raju. Addressing the soldiers, he said, “I am happy that I could come to the city and meet everyone here. A lot of people think that as a sportsperson I am a hero but in reality sportsmen are just entertainers. It is you people who guard the national borders and are the real heroes.”

Tendulkar also witnessed a basketball match played by the soldiers and planted a sapling at the PRC. As a memorabilia, he autographed a pair of his hand gloves for the soldiers. Speaking about the interaction with Sachin, Raju, who participated in 2004 Paralympics, said, “He is a nice sportsman. He told me to keep trying harder and participate in more competitions irrespective of the results.”

Tendulkar, who also brought two boxes of mangoes for the soldiers, made it a point to sign autographs for everyone. “I am really proud of the spirit of the people present here. I have come here as part of my promise but I would love to come back again. In fact, next time I will bring my children. I remember being told that you all had prayed for the team to win the World Cup in April and it was due to your good wishes that we managed to do so.”

Tendulkar also mentioned that he will sponsor Boriwale’s trials for the Paralympics. Boriwale said he was happy meeting Sachin and getting his support. Earlier in the day, Tendulkar visited Amit Enterprises housing project, Amit Colori, where he planted 99 saplings to commemorate the 99 centuries that he had scored.


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Of all the batsmen I’ve seen, Tendulkar is greatest: Richards

Batting legend Viv Richards has not seen Sir Donald Bradman but of all those he has seen, including compatriot Brian Lara, none has been better than iconic Indian Sachin Tendulkar.

“I didn’t see Don but to me, in all my years associated with the game, I haven’t seen a better batsman than Sachin Tendulkar,” said Richards in a eulogy to the “little man”, who openly professes to have idolised him while growing up.

“If there is a better batsman than Sachin then he hasn’t arrived yet.”

In one stroke, Richards put Tendulkar in a pedestal above his contemporaries such as Brian Lara, Ricky Ponting and Jacques Kallis and even to the legends such as Sunil Gavaskar and Javed Miandad of his era.

As for Bradman, his career lasted 20 years including a few years disrupted by Second World War. Tendulkar is already in his 22nd year of international cricket. Bradman scored 29 centuries in 52 Tests.

In all formats of the game, Tendulkar has 99 international centuries so far.

“To me the most remarkable thing about Tendulkar is how he has completed the full cycle of his cricketing career, overcoming, pain, agony, failures, fatigue, injuries yet continuing relentlessly till the point the circle was complete.

“He is the most complete package, the cricketer I respect more than anyone else.”

Tendulkar’s absence at Windies

Richards defended Tendulkar’s decision to skip the complete West Indies tour.

“He is 37 and not getting any younger. You have got to respect him for his decision,” said Richards as he turned up for a Johnny Walker promotional event at Queen’s Park Oval on Thursday.

“He has done enough to decide what is best for him. He knows his commitments and the approach he must take for the rest of his career.”

It doesn’t though stop Richards from lamenting how much Tendulkar’s presence could have done to inspire the young cricketers of the Caribbean.

“It would have been fantastic for the young boys to just watch him in action; how he prepares his innings; the way he goes about building his knock, overcoming conditions and opponents.

“It could have been an invaluable experience for our young batsmen.”

Richards said he feels humbled by the respect and love he still generates within the cricket community of India.

“The other day, I was on a flight to London and Gambhir was with me. I was really touched by his curiosity and the keenness he had to know about batting. It’s passion such as this which sets men like him apart. I was really impressed,” he said.

It is ironical though that West Indies Cricket Board isn’t quite inclined to take advantage of their own legend to improve the standard of cricket in the Caribbean.

“It’s a fragile environment. Only strong leaders can accept independent men,” said Richards.


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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Breaks will keep Tendulkar innings going: Vengsarkar

Dubai: Former Indian captain and chief selector Dileep Vengsarkar feels that Sachin Tendulkar's decision to pace himself will help world cricket enjoy the exploits of the master blaster for a longer time.

"Tendulkar's decision to pace himself can help not only Indian cricket but also youngsters who play alongside him. He is so passionate about the game that as long as he plays the game it will inspire others. He is so keen to play that every match that he plays excites him," remarked Vengsarkar, who as captain was responsible for inviting Tendulkar to the Indian team's net session in Mumbai during the 1988-89 series against New Zealand.

Vengsarkar, who is here on an invite from the G Force Cricket Academy, observed: "If you closely observe Tendulkar, we can find that for the last 21 years of his career he has been at his peak form. There has never been a rough patch. For the last two years he has been playing so well that I feel he should go on forever because it helps others in the team. His passion for the game rubs on others and he has been building confidence in all the players in the team."

Chance for youngsters

When asked whether the World Cup victory is the start of a new era for Indian cricket, Vengsarkar said: "Indian cricket has been doing well in all forms of the game. The oncoming West Indies, England and Australia tour will be another chance to prove that they are a great team."

Vengsarkar feels that too much has been made out of top players pulling out of the West Indies tour and that the Indian Premier League (IPL) being responsible for it.

Praise for Dhoni

"The IPL being held immediately after the World Cup is a rare occurrence. Instead of criticising the players for pulling out of the West Indies tour we must look at the positives. This has given a chance for a lot of youngsters to represent India and go on to establish themselves. The IPL has made the bench strength stronger. The youngsters who have come out of the IPL should grab the opportunities with both hands and do well and try and represent India for many years," he said.

Vengsarkar also went on to hail Mahendra Singh Dhoni's captaincy. "Dhoni is an outstanding captain, the best I have seen. He has improved day by day as a captain, batsman and wicketkeeper too."

To a query on what makes Dhoni the best captain, Vengsarkar said: "Dhoni is very innovative and is very cool and calm. He plays smart cricket and is intelligent. He is also very humble and leads from the front and takes every one along with him."


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