Sachin Tendulkar. You may remember him for his hundred centuries, or his perfect mastery of the game, or just the way he stole your heart when he came out to bat, every single time. Well, God (at least the God of Cricket) is back! So once again, hold your breath, put away everything else and get those reading glasses back on (yes, the same ones you used while watching him on TV), for this story, isn’t quite over yet.
Just like many other decisions in his life, writing this book wasn’t an easy one for Tendulkar. But he thought,“I have played the game honestly and in the right spirit, and I felt if I could do the same thing with my book, it would be a good book to read.”
The book too, was launched in the right spirit, in an event hosted by none other than Harsha Bhogle, the face of Indian cricket off-the-field. The event, in Mumbai on Wednesday was of high caliber, nothing short of what the legendary cricketer deserves.
The launch was divided into four distinct sections:
The Co-author’s Corner
Journalist Boria Majumdar talked about a few incidents from Sachin’s life, which no one had ever heard of, not even him:
These anecdotes ranged from incidents at early morning excursions, to secret surgeries, to excerpts from his very own love story to a heart-warming interaction with a child.
The Bombay Legends
While Sunil Gavaskar talked about the first time he saw the little master play, and what it would have been playing alongside him, Ravi Shastri talked about how the sixteen year old came to comfort him after he had been dismissed.
Dilip Vengsarkar talked about an incident from the nets, and Tendulkar, with all his determination, missing his first three days of practice. Vasu Paranjape talked about bringing his father to see him play, and his dream of becoming a fast bowler!
The Class of ‘96
Next to walk onto stage were Rahul Dravid, Saurav Ganguly and VVS Laxman and of course, Sachin Tendulkar. They too, had their own episodes to recite. Ganguly talked about their early days together, and practice camps. Dravid and VVS had various gimmicks from the team dressing room to share.
The Best Partnership of his Life
His elder brother Ajit Tendulkar, and his wife Anjali Tendulkar, took the stage now. Anjali talked about her crush on the seventeen-year old Sachin, and the early seeds of romance. Ajit, who has played the biggest role in what his younger brother is today, talked about taking him to his first cricket coach, Ramakant Achrekar.
Coming to the book, there are a lot of revelations, to say the least,
Here are the top 3 excerpts:
Tendulkar talks about his dislike for Greg Chappell as a coach and goes on to expose an incident from 2007, “Just months before the World Cup, (then India coach) Greg Chappell had come to see me at home and, to my dismay, suggested that I should take over the captaincy from Rahul Dravid.” This was news to Rahul Dravid, who was not aware that any such thing had happened. Greg Chappell denies the incident altogether.
Tendulkar writes, “Kapil Dev’s method (as India’s coach) of involvement and his thought process was limited to leaving the running of the team to the captain, and hence he did not involve himself in strategic discussions that would help us on the field.”
Tendulkar as Captain
The unprofessional way in which he was informed of an extremely important decision, probably takes the cake. “No one from the BCCI managed to call me or inform me of my removal as captain before someone from the media called to say I was no longer captain. I felt extremely humiliated to hear this. I told myself that the BCCI mandarins might be able to take the captaincy away from me, but no one could do the same as far as my own cricket was concerned.”
Tendulkar has always maintained a low profile, so why this sudden controversial shift?
“I knew that if I agreed to write my story, I would have to be completely honest, as that’s the way I have always played the game and that would mean talking about a number of things I have not addressed in public before. So here I am, at the end of my final innings, having taken that last walk back to the pavilion, ready to recount as many incidents as I can remember since first picking up a cricket bat as a child in Mumbai thirty-five years ago.” – Sachin Tendulkar.
The first copies of the book went to his mother, Rajni Tendulkar, and to his coach, Ramakant Achrekar. Grab yours soon and let him steal your heart, one more time!