Sachin Tendulkar says that he is “not the God of cricket” as many of his fans would like to call him as he does “make mistakes” unlike the almighty. “I am not God of cricket. I make mistakes, God doesn’t,” Tendulkar said at a promotional event a day before his IPL match.
The 39-year-old Tendulkar has most of the game’s batting records but he said, ‘growing up I wanted to be a combination of Sunil Gavaskar and Vivian Richards’. “I wanted to be like Sunil Gavaskar as a kid. When I grew up and started watching players from outside, someone who attracted me was Vivian Richards. Everything that he did was effortless. I always thought I should be a combination of these two,” Tendulkar said, while answering questions from children.
The diminutive Mumbaikar, considered the most complete batsman in modern cricket, recalled the agonising wait he endured before getting to his 100th international hundred last year during the Asia Cup.
“When I got to my 100th international century, I was not jumping or celebrating. My first question to God was why did it take so long? What did I do wrong? With so many people waiting, it shouldn’t have taken so long,” he said.
“Where did I fall short? I used to practice hard, maybe harder. I got close to getting a hundred in the semifinal against Pakistan (in the 2011 World Cup) but at that stage, everybody’s focus was on the World Cup. After that it was a big disappointment. But such is life, it is always better late then never,” he said.
Asked what he would have been had it not been a cricketer, Tendulkar quipped he didn’t really have much of a choice.
“I don’t think there were many options for me, In school, the kids better not follow me. It’s good to study. I tried maintaining a balance between my studies and cricket but it didn’t work. I thought cricket was something which gave me sleepless nights. Such was my love for the game,” he said. “But at one stage in my life, I would go to the terrace with a tennis racket in one hand and a cricket bat in the other. For 20 minutes it would be racket, the next 20 would be cricket. I enjoy tennis. It is difficult for me to imagine a life without cricket. If at all — tennis,” said Tendulkar who is often seen at Wimbledon and other tennis majors. “Wearing the India jersey and cap was the ultimate thing for me.” Tendulkar said he thought his first Test, against Pakistan, would be his last as he found it hard to deal with the pressure.
“The difference between standard of play (in Ranji and Tests) was way too much. I thought this is my first and last Test. When I came back to the dressing room, I was in tears. I thought it was way too good for me,” he said.