Much has been written about Sachin Tendulkar - his centuries, his sublime batting and his dedication towards his craft. Nonetheless, we never get tired reading about him or listening to his interviews, just the way we don’t tire watching him bat again and again. What is it about Sachin that inspires so much awe and respect?
Is it just his enormous talent and the batting genius that he is, or is it something more? For me Sachin Tendulkar goes beyond being just a cricketing icon – he is not just one of the greatest sportspersons that India has produced – he is a lesson in life.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni in one of his interviews said about Sachin, “Every time he turns up for a practice session or a game he is 100 percent there, he never turns up just for the sake of it. He is an amazing person to have around and the attitude has not changed for the last 21 years. Most people would have lost interest (over that time).” In a day and age where cynicism is increasingly becoming a way of life, how many of us have Sachin-like motivation to carry on relentlessly?
I feel that Sachin should not be talked about just in sporting circles alone but Sachin should be a chapter in school books and part of our curriculum in colleges. Imagine the good that it would do to our generations if they were to adopt Sachin like attitude and make his conduct the mantra of their lives, in whatever they choose to become later on life – engineers, doctors, lawyers, journalists, event managers or even a friend, husband, wife, mother, father, brother, sister, boss – the list goes on.
Sachin should be a part of workshops in corporate houses and also government organizations. With all the scams surrounding us like incessant plagues, I think our politicians desperately need to learn a lesson or two from Sachin. The political will to do good for the people and society at large is something that our politicos lack. Adopting the will power that Sachin epitomizes will not only bring laurels to those who represent us but take our country to greater heights.
It is said that talent alone does not get you anywhere – we have seen so much talent go waste - just for the lack of sheer discipline – in all walks of life and not just in the sporting arena. We have to back talent with dedication to reach the pinnacle of success. Sachin is a burning example of that.
One of my colleagues told me an interesting story about Sachin. He said that Sachin never travels by the team bus to practice sessions in Mumbai, but goes by a separate vehicle. Not because he is an elitist, but because he wants to reach couple of hours before the team and put in more hours of work. To quote the man himself, “…one should never give up, continue to work hard. Never lose hope. It is important to chase our dreams…”
“I never gave up on the dream”, something Sachin reiterated again and again, in the numerous interviews post India’s World Cup victory. There were so many of us who had almost given up the hope of seeing Sachin lift the World Cup – after all, this was his sixth and most likely his last outing in the World Cup tournament. But not Sachin. Even after not being able to lift the trophy in the past five times, he believed in his heart that he would do so one day. How many of us have the motivation, the desire and the willpower to keep that fire burning alive after we have faced a series of disappointments.
Once when Sachin was going through a bad patch, there was an opinion forming that he should retire. For me, the very idea was blasphemous but that’s another matter. Anyways, he fought back, got amongst the runs and said in one of his oft quoted interviews – “when stones are thrown at you, you turn them into milestones” – how is that for a sixer!
One of Sachin’s childhood idols, the legendary Sir Vivian Richards so rightly said in an interview about Sachin – “It’s all about how you have conducted yourself. I guess there were times when things looked pretty doubtful, with injuries, starting with the back - it would have most certainly affected his career but its due to persistence, dedication, discipline and confidence that you survive for so long”. No politics, no ego trips, no pulling down others – just do the right thing relentlessly.
When Tendulkar hit his 35th Test century to surpass Sunil Gavaskar’s 34 Test centuries, the legend described Sachin as “the closest thing to batting perfection the game has seen”. But I would say that Sachin is the closest thing to perfection that life has seen. How to live life – guru Sachin can teach us more than a thing or two.
There is something else that we all need to learn from Sachin – not to get overstressed with the burden of expectations. By following this philosophy diligently and concentrating on the game, Sachin has inadvertently fulfilled the expectations of India’s billion plus population and brought laurels to the country. But he never took an unwise or foolish decision just to fulfill other’s expectations.
One of Pakistan’s best batsmen, Javed Miandad, once said that one quality that struck him the most about Sachin was his quality of listening. His humility and his desire to keep learning despite being world’s world best batsman tells you how evolved this special one is. How many people do we know in who think that they can learn from everyone – whether senior or junior? How many of us accept our mistakes and change ourselves for the better, the way Sachin changed his game to increase the longevity of his career? How many of us make positive strategies for ourselves and our team, rather than run others down and play dirty politics?
But the one quality of Sachin which is my personal favourite is the fact that he is a team person to the core. In response to a question that the Indian team wanted to win the World Cup for him, Sachin said, “Within the team we played with each other and the nation. It was everyone’s dream to win the World Cup.” How many of us can keep our hands on hearts and say that we are team players and that we feel happy at the success of another team member? How many of us can say that we are there for our team at all times just like Sachin is? No wonder Yujraj Singh, the man of the tournament in 2011 World Cup, acknowledged Sachin’s contribution in helping him get back amongst runs.
If we become team players, we too shall be carried on the shoulders of our team mates the way Sachin was carried on the shoulders of the Indian cricket team during the victory lap at the Wankhede Stadium on the historic night of 2nd April, 2011. We forget that we can only succeed if the team succeeds.
So take a new a pledge - make Sachin a way of life – I am sure you will taste success more often than not. And yes, I would urge everyone to savour Sachin’s batting as much as they can because he not going to be around playing forever. I dread to think of the day he would retire – it seems as if the world will come to a standstill.
I had the privilege to see Sachin twice in flesh and blood. Once as a rookie reporter when I was covering an event organized by a company for which Sachin was the brand ambassador. I got to stand next to him and even took his autograph which I eventually gave away to my cousin, something, I am ashamed to say, I regret till date. The second time was when I went to watch an India-England ODI match at the Firozshah Kotla. I feel privileged to say the least.