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Monday, March 26, 2012

Setbacks make me work harder: Sachin Tendulkar

When Sachin Tendulkar walked into a sterile board room in one of the hidden corners of the cavernous ballroom area of the Grand Hyatt in Santa Cruz, he looked as if he had come prepared to unburden his feelings. He had that glow of relief you see in a person before he makes a major confession.
And unburden he did - smilingly, emphatically, eloquently - stretching what was to be a 30-minute interaction with senior journalists to about an hour, answering each question at length.
When a journalist politely brought up the subject of his age (he's a month short of 39, but he kept referring to himself as a 37-year-old), Sachin said: "It depends on how you look at it. Yes, it's a different body, but there's a big difference between the mind of a 17-year-old and that of a 37-year-old. The way I see it the glass is half full."
Sporting his now-famous indefinable haircut (his wife Anjali, who was in one corner of the room, diplomatically avoided commenting on it), and dressed lightly in jeans and an off-white tee with muted gold embellishments, Sachin also made it amply clear where he stood on the dressing room row over Team India's policy of rotating senior players.
Defending the team management's decision to 'rest' certain players, Sachin said they had sustained serious injuries, especially during the England tour, and needed time to recover. "The team needs to take care of the players," he said.
Taking place a day before Mukesh and Nita Ambani's grand party to celebrate Sachin's 100th hundred (and ironically, two days before the BCCI's felicitation of Rahul Dravid, whose decision to hang up his bat is being held up as an example for Sachin to follow), the interaction started with the man talking about the painful buildup to the landmark. Was he also obsessing about it like the rest of the country? "When you get about a hundred reminders a day, you have to think about it," he said. Even hotel housekeepers would tell him how they were praying for his 100th ton. "You have to listen to them," the icon said.
"I just wanted to enjoy the game. I wanted to go out and contribute as many runs as possible. I was really pleased with the way I was playing, and I believed luck was on my side, but somewhere the hype entered my subconscious," he added.
Remembering the 369 days when the nation was on tenterhooks, Sachin said, "It taught me patience. I always use disappointments and setbacks to work harder. This game can be cruel at times."
When he scored his historic century, Sachin recalled, he looked up and asked God, "It's been a tough time for me. Why? What was it that I lacked? Was it my commitment?"

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