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Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Sachin Tendulkar plays back-room role for Mumbai Indians

Mumbai Indians' Sachin Tendulkar and team owner Nita Ambani (left) during the Champions League Twenty20 second semifinal between Mumbai Indians and Somerset at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. (AFP Photo)

CHENNAI: The Mumbai team management believes that their success in the Champions League had a lot to with the Sachin Tendulkar -influence.

The Master Blaster, recuperating from an injury, opted out of the tournament, but his presence in the Mumbai Indians nets and the dressing-room played a huge role, feels skipper Harbhajan Singh.

"He was very involved in everything...He is great role model to have in the dressing room," Harbhajan said, talking about Tendulkar's role in the Mumbai Indians scheme of things.

He has led Mumbai Indians in all four editions of the IPL and everyone close to him knows how dearly he wants to win that tournament.

That hasn't happened as yet, but this time around, he ensured that Mumbai Indians made the Champions League cut with some inspiring batting performances and from there, it was the turn of the Harbhajans and Pollards to take the team to the coveted title.

"He was always supportive and helped guys like Ambati Rayudu and (Tirumalasetti) Suman in the dressing room. We owe a lot to him," Harbhajan added.

Tendulkar had backed a number of youngsters in the IPL as well and the stand-in skipper felt that they were reaping the harvest of that.

"We always wanted to give them chances and not make them feel left out. Even in the IPL, we had tried a lot of youngsters and in this tournament they really raised their performances. That augurs well for us in IPL 5," he said.

Mumbai's trainer Ramji Srinivasan, too, talked about the Little Master's influence. "He was so involved in everything. You must have seen how keenly he was following every game...This wouldn't have been possible without him," Srinivasan said.

Even when the chips were down on Sunday with Mumbai Indians managing a total of 139, Tendulkar had a word with the boys which played a big role. "He told the boys not to give up at any cost and fight till the last moment...He has this great ability to motivate players and the younger lot really felt charged up. It was as if they wanted to do it for Tendulkar," Srinivasan added.

Harbhajan also talked about the contribution of the coaching staff, who played a big role in the Mumbai Indians victory.

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