Monday, December 24, 2012

It has been tough on Sachin & his family

Indian team members found out during Sachin Tendulkar's debut tour of Pakistan that he was a somnambulist. He would sleepwalk in the middle of the night. Twenty three years on, just days before retiring from ODIs, he was still waking up late in the night, at times even at 2 am. But he was wide awake, shadow practising! Such is his obsession with cricket.

So, what prompted this tough decision to quit ODIs?

Only those very close to him could gather the strength to even suggest to Tendulkar that perhaps it was time for him to shoulder arms to the shorter format of the game which he has been breathing since the day he took to the field at Shivaji Park as a 11-year-old.

"It's been tough on him and his immediate family. The call, though, has been his own and the timing too. You can take Tendulkar out of the game but not cricket out of him. The routine is still the same, the shadow practice at 2 in the morning is still happening, but for those savouring limited overs cricket, the greatest pleasure of seeing this man walk out and tear apart oppositions won't be there now. Let's respect his decision and relive the great moments that he's given us," said a former teammate and a close confidant of Tendulkar, requesting anonymity as a mark of respect to the batting great's decision.

Just like the preparation mode - ahead of a match - was unique to Tendulkar, he seemed to have readied himself for giving up limited overs cricket in his own way. Even though his mind was still pushing him to test his boundaries, his body may have told him to save himself for Tests - maybe just a few more if not six that he needs to complete a tally of 200 matches.

For a man who was challenged by career-threatening tennis elbow in 2007, the rebirth - after a painful 'sick' leave from the game of six months - has only seen him set one milestone after another.

Having spent close to two months struggling to lift a cup of tea to playing a stroke with the bat, Tendulkar showed how dedication and daily practice could get you back to life.

Months later, the man was back at his favourite Sydney Cricket Ground in 2008, smashing a lethal Brett Lee to all corners for a magnificent unbeaten 117 in the first final of the tri-series. He followed it up with a 91 in the 2nd final as India achieved their first-ever tri-series triumph Down Under.

Then came the World Cup of 2003, when the scars of the 1996 semifinal at the Eden Gardens returned to haunt him. Later, injured fingers (thanks to the IPL) held him back from wielding those heavy bats in quest of glory in his fifth World Cup. But Tendulkar was ready, having used the time in the run-up to the mega event by setting up a mini-gym at home or spending more time in the pool. The foodie had also turned to boiled chicken and soup to be in shape in pursuit of his 'dream', which became a reality.

Sacrifices have been a part of Tendulkar's life. This time he's chosen to give up ODIs for Tests. Those who think that's he's done and dusted, may do well to wait till March - when is likely to be back to play against Australia in Tests at home. The old brilliance may just be back, that one last time.

No comments:

Post a Comment