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Sight Screen

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Tendulkar interview

Been browsing, and the most substantive article out there to read has been the Tendulkar interview. Ruchir has already linked to it, but here it is again, with those bits I found especially interesting. From Part 1, this bit, on how close he was to not playing at all:
Post injury, many things must have crossed your mind. Will I will be able to play again and will I be able to play in the same manner. Did that also create pressure?
Yes, I mean I was a little worried. Actually, worried quite a bit. The elbow is such an important factor when it comes to batting. If you can't hold a bat, you have got to look at some other profession. It had reached a stage where the doctors told me this operation was the last option, that we had exhausted all others.
If they had not succeeded, you wouldn't have been able to play?
They said if it did not work, your injury would stay just the same and you would have to bear with this pain. And the pain was a lot. A few of my friends have had tennis elbow and now they realise what it means. Even lifting a cup of tea becomes difficult. Here, you have to take the impact of the ball.
For you, cricket is everything, It must have been terrible?
It was bad. There were some very, very difficult patches in between. But my family stood behind me all the while. My brother, my mother, my wife. My wife played a bigger role because she spent more time than anyone else with me. She always kept telling me 'think positive, don't worry, it is going to get better'. Thinking also helps you heal better. And I did all these things.
You know I did yoga and visualisation. You visualise good things are happening. I mean, they say that if you visualise that your elbow is getting better and stronger, it works. I tried that and felt better. I continued to do that. And then there was physiotherapy. Strengthening sessions.

And this bit, that reveals how his thinking has changed as a person -- and perhaps inter alia sheds some light on why he is no longer the destructive Tendulkar of old:
Suppose that different role was not assigned to you. Are you forcing this role on yourself?
Yeah, I think again here, it is not that I have chosen to do this forcibly. I mean these subtle changes take place. You know, you realise your style has probably changed a little bit here and there and there have been so many subtle changes over a period of 16 years.
Subtle in what way?

I mean sometimes you feel 'okay, if the bowlers want me to hit the ball in the air, why should I'? But earlier, as an 18-year-old, you say 'okay, you are challenging me, I will take you on'.
You still do that but now you take them on at the right time, when you feel the success percentage is higher and is in your favour. When you are a teenager , you feel fine even if 20 per cent is in your favour. Say, I will take you on come what may.

From Part 2, this bit tells you why he has consistently refused to put himself back in the captaincy frame:
So you blamed yourself and quit?
I don’t know. It is just that it had started to affect me a lot as a person. Not only as a cricketer but as a person as well, because I could never switch off. Even when I went back home, I would be thinking about it. It started affecting my life. I told myself it’s important to enjoy the game and I was not enjoying it.
You have never thought of becoming captain again?

No.

This bit goes contrary to urban legend, which holds that Wright was the softer, calmer of the two foreign coaches India has had thus far:
What difference do you see between, say, Chappell and John Wright?
Each coach has a different style and Greg is much calmer. Wright was sometimes…
Short-tempered?
Uneasy, and obviously short-tempered, but not all five fingers on your hand are the same. They are both very, very hard-working guys. There’s no doubt about that. John was also extremely hard-working and focussed. Greg is extremely calm and composed. Even if we have a bad day, Greg is fine.
John would get hassled?
You could see, I mean from the body language you could see. He would be uneasy in his seat. But Greg is not like that. Like the second morning of the Delhi Test, we lost seven wickets within no time but you know, Greg never said anything. John would have been restless and you couldn’t have missed that.

And this, an understated recollection of a day, a match, he was not supposed to even play; a game he played with a back brace and painkilling injections, and produced one of his best innings; a (link to our report) game that is remembered not for the fact of his innings but of the manner and timing of his dismissal:
What is your biggest disappointment?
I think that Test against Pakistan in Chennai that we lost. I was extremely disappointed.
You had a back problem and despite that, you scored a hundred and took India near a win.
We got so close. It was one of the most disappointing moments of my career.

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