A twenty-four-year-long habit can be mighty difficult to quit. More so when the person in question is Sachin Tendulkar who is used to having a billion eyes following him day in and day out.
The recently-retired cricketing maestro in a candid tete-a-tete with Zee Media`s Sumit Awasthi said the feeling was yet to sink in and he was yet to come to terms with the fact that his cricketing career was all but over. But the cricketer in him was far from satisfied. “It is yet to sink in. But the guilty feeling that one would have with by missing practice or failing to wake up early is gone. There is no pressure on me now,” said Tendulkar.
The ‘little master’ informed that his farewell speech (that left many in tears) was partly rehearsed and partly on the spur of the moment. “I had planned (the speech) and what I wanted to say. There were names on the paper, but words came from the heart,” he said.
The decision to retire he said was his, and he is now convinced that it was the right time. There were no regrets he said, adding, “I think the time was right. Every person that I shared my plan about retirement got emotional. But I wasn’t emotional at all, I knew it was the right time and the right decision. And the manner in which my last series panned out and the send-off I got—the way all these things coincided left no scope for any regret.”
And Tendulkar had one more thing planned out — the venue for his farewell, Mumbai. And this was to give his mother a surprise. “I wanted my last match to happen in India. And more so when there were two matches planned (against West Indies) I asked them to hold it in Mumbai because I wanted to surprise my mother,” said Tendulkar.
Tendulkar said his mother had never seen him play and said he wanted her to see what her son did. “I wanted to surprise my mother by calling her for the final Test. For the last 24 years, I had never asked her to see me play, but now I wanted her to see what I had been doing for all this while. Right from the day I began playing in school, she never saw me play. So it was an unfulfilled desire to have my mother watch me play for once.”
When asked if his decision to retire came after he felt he had achieved it all, he said, “A cricketer always harbours these desires—I could have scored more runs, taken more wickets or fielded better.”
But despite of that hunger to achieve more, he was satisfied with his own efforts throughout his career. “I am satisfied that my commitment was 10 on 10. You can only try to get the results, the outcome is not in your hands. But I feel that my first inning has ended, and my life’s second inning is about to start.
And when asked about his ‘second inning’ in life, and if coaching youngster figured in his retirement plan, Tendulkar said, “Right now I’ve just taken my mind of cricket, I just want to spend time with family. I’m not aiming too far. I want to do some social work and have begun working along with UNICEF. One of our targets is to get solar lights in rural areas, and I’m focusing on that at the moment.”