Friday, March 14, 2014

PHOTOS : Sachin Tendulkar Silver Coin Launch Event

"I have no hesitation in saying we are a talented side and there are some special players in the team. I know that they have not been able to produce the kind of results or rather live up to the expectation of the people, but things can change," the cricket legend said here.

"This is the time that I feel the team requires support. When you are winning, you are in a good frame of mind but when you are not winning and when you know a billion people are behind you, with you, the mindset changes immediately. That is the need of the hour."

The World Cup would be held in Australia and New Zealand in February-March next year. "I have full confidence in our team. I am sure we will have a good time," said Tendulkar at the launch of the special edition of silver coins with his face, name and signature embossed on them.

Of late, the Indian team has struggled in the ODI series against South Africa (lost 3-match series 0-2)and New Zealand (lost 5-match series 0-4) and failed to qualify for the final of the recently-held Asia Cup in Bangladesh. The batting great, who was a part of the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led squad that emerged triumphant in cricket`s show-piece event in 2011 at home, recalled how the Indian team had struggled before finishing runners-up to Australia in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.

"I remember in 2003, the New Zealand tour before we got to the finals (of World Cup) wasn`t a great one for us. We went to South Africa and there were some side matches that we lost. And then we all started thinking that we need to plan differently, play differently and it worked for us," said Tendulkar, who used to get "five paisa as pocket money" when he was growing up.

"It is not about just the failures but the journey from failure to success and getting into the habit of winning, the things you are supposed to do. If you follow that process, the result takes care of itself. We just followed that process and we were able to get to the finals," he said.

Tendulkar said he shared a good rapport with the youngsters in the team later in his career when he was its senior statesman. "I used to jokingly tell them you should wish me good morning sir. We shared a wonderful relationship. They all treated me like their elder brother. It was never a one-way traffic. I told them you have fun with me also. I used to pull their leg and they had the freedom to pull my leg. I thoroughly enjoyed playing with all the youngsters," he said.

Tendulkar, the only player to score 100 international centuries during his 24-year career, conceded that scoring the last ton, after an agonising wait was tough due to the expectation and mounting pressure from all quarters. "(For the) first century there were no expectations and people were enjoying my batting. Even from my side I didn`t know that there were 99 hundreds to follow. When I scored my 100th hundred, it obviously took a while.

"So many times I got close to scoring the hundred and so many had written articles that I have to do this and that, not knowing that I have 99 (tons) behind me. So it is tricky as I felt both were important. Pressure of scoring the 100th hundred was hundred times more," he said.

According to the 40-year-old more than scoring centuries, contributing to the team`s success was far more important personally.
"Scoring 100 hundreds was something that I never thought, I just wanted to go and bat for India and win matches. I remember one game against Sri Lanka at Cuttack and I was batting on 97 not out. I was on strike and the Sri Lankan captain had put all the fielders behind and when Dinesh Karthik was batting all the fielders were up.

"He asked me what should I (Karthik) do? I told him what do you mean what should you do, you should hit the ball and finish the game. He asked if it was okay."

"I mean if I am 98 not out and we win the game, we have still won the game and that is what we all play for. It is not about the hundreds but what we bring in as a team member. Sometimes, I felt I have scored 55-60 runs but they have had immense value, because that has set the platform for the team`s victory," he said.

Tendulkar said during his intense practise sessions he concentrated on things that ultimately led to his own satisfaction. "Sometimes I was happy when I played just 25 balls. I knew that everything was absolutely fine. I need not complicate things. And that is when I wouldn`t push myself and bowl to others and work with other players. "If I felt I should work on my forward defence, then I would work on my forward defence. It was all about what my heart told me. It was all about my satisfaction.

"So many things are judged by others. The performance, the number of runs scored (etc) can be judged from outside, but satisfaction is always judged from within. No one else would know and only I would know whether I was satisfied or not. It all boiled down to that."

"I remember once we went to New Zealand and were playing a couple of T20 games before the ODI series started. I requested BCCI that I will go with the team and practise there for six to seven days. And I requested Gary Kirsten (then coach) to put up a bowling machine."

"So whatever number of deliveries the entire team batted, I batted the same number of deliveries facing bowling machines, by myself. It was about my own satisfaction and not the number of hours or minutes or the number of balls that I faced," he explained.

The creator of a plethora of world records in Tests and ODIs said he admired West Indies legend Viv Richards but decided not to emulate him after an unsuccessful attempt. "I did watch once (a video of) Vivian Richards`s technique the previous evening (before) going in to bat. I was trying to pull everything and hook everything. That is when I decided I am just going to watch, but not try and emulate, and that in the next innings, I needed to play the way I know.

"They always will be your heroes and heroes would continue to be your heroes in whatever stage of life you are in. You have immense regard for them. It is always nice to watch their innings, but one thing I knew was that I should not try to play like that," Tendulkar said.