Oct 24, 2008

Sport - Cricket;In Conversation with Sunny & Sachin

Two legends of the game — Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar — share a platform and talk to CNN-IBN editor-in-chief Rajdeep Sardesai on the show, ‘The Little Masters’ to be aired later today. Here are excerpts from the interaction

Sachin… 12,000 runs, has it sunk in?
Tendulkar: To be honest, it still hasn’t sunk in; I was just focusing on the ball because till I scored the runs whoever met me, the first question was, you have to do it and when are you doing it? So I was literally fed up answering them. I don’t play for records and I just want to play my game and enjoy my cricket rather than chasing records. I know if I go and do that records will be broken automatically and I don’t need to focus on that.

Is that the same way you felt when you scored 10,000 runs Mr Gavaskar?
Gavaskar: Ten thousand was not something that people looked at, it was basically when one got close to that 29th century mark of Sir Donald Bradman… that was the time after the 28th century… you got off the aircraft and the aircraft maintenance guys would ask you about it, you had room service breakfast, the guy who delivered it, instead of asking for a complimentary match-ticket, he would say we want your 29th century here, so the pressure used to build up every time you went to the ground, we didn’t have ipods then so we had to listen to the talis as well as gaalis.

How do you deal with pressure?
Tendulkar: It’s not that easy to switch off from all these things, our sub-conscious mind grasps all these things and somewhere it is stored. Even if you don’t want to focus on all these things, the room-service guy will remind you of it, so somewhere it’s stored and that’s the last thing you want, you want to go out there with a blank mind. You just have to go out and bat, watch the ball as closely as possible and bat.

Mr. Gavaskar, you used to say something that I still don’t quite believe that you never used to know your score… that you did not even know when you were on 99?
Gavaskar: Yes because I was not interested in how many runs I was batting on, I was only interested in how many runs I got after I got out.

So you never had a look at the scoreboard?
Gavaskar: I had a vague idea, for the simple reason, because if you are on 46, and you know you need four runs to get to a 50, you might play a shot to a ball which you normally wouldn’t in just trying to get that boundary. If you are on 96 you might play a shot that would get you out, so the thing to do would be to forget how many runs you are and then only see your score when you got out.

Are you the same Sachin?
Tendulkar: No, I do look at the scoreboard.

Sachin, is there something that you have learnt from the Gavaskar school of batting?
Tendulkar: It’s everything about him because growing up as a budding cricketer and wanting to play for India, it was the ultimate dream and you had the ultimate player whom we actually had this pleasure of watching from a close distance, the concentration and the determination, the dedication, the confidence to play fast bowling.

You say you would chase your dreams. Was your dream, even in 1987-88, when you were started off to score 10,000 runs? Did you say to yourself there is Sunil Gavaskar with 34 Test hundreds, I want to score more than that?
Tendulkar: There was always this target of 34 hundreds and growing up as a cricketer, my brother always told me that if you want to be something in the history of Indian cricket this is what you have to chase because this is the ultimate thing and Gavaskar is your role model, so you have to try and follow all those things and it was my target.

Mr Gavaskar still plays badminton everyday at four o’clock if he is in Mumbai. Sachin, do you have a set schedule?
Tendulkar: No, not really, I go by my instincts. There are times when just before going to bat I feel like listening to some music. I have done two different things, opening in one day cricket is different and batting in the middle order in Tests is different. In one-day cricket I can be still listening to music and as soon as the umpires are out and the fielders are out, I immediately remove my ear-phones and keep them aside and just walk in to bat. But in Test cricket, I don’t know at what time I have to walk in.

What’s the one piece of advice you would like to give Sachin Tendulkar today if there is anything at all Mr Gavaskar?
Gavaskar: I think I did that four-years ago so I am not going to do that but what I will do is, not advise him, but I will make a plea - please regain the World Cup for us in 2011.

Sachin, is that the next goal then?
Tendulkar: It has always been a dream because that is the ultimate thing you can get for your country.

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