Hero worship: praise from the best

Sportspersons from across the spectrum pay tribute to the man behind the legend.

Published:November 19, 2013 12:50 am

‘Learnt virtues like concentration,dedication and discipline from him’

Saina Nehwal

Olympic bronze medallist,badminton

The first thing that comes to mind whenever I hear the name Sachin Tendulkar is that of a great cricketer but also a true gentleman. He’s someone who’s been never involved in any controversy and rather been always concerned about his game,bringing endless laurels to our country.

I have learnt a lot from watching him,particularly about how to dedicate yourself to the sport you play. Not to forget the virtues of concentration,discipline and hard-work,which I’ve tried to inculcate on the court myself.

Though I saw him regularly on TV and read newspaper reports about him while growing up,the first time I saw him in person was in September 2012. It was during an event where he presented me with a sports utility vehicle and congratulated me on my bronze medal at the London Olympics.

While meeting him itself was a huge honour,I was really touched by his words of praise for me and my family. I also remember the time he praised me in front of a large number of sports enthusiasts in Hyderabad very fondly. He had called me a role model for the younger generation of sportspersons. I will never forget those words. I just want to thank Sachin Tendulkar for all that he has given to this country and I wish him a happy and a fruitful life ahead.

As told to Chinmay Brahme

Loved his battles with Shane Warne

Gaganjeet Bhullar

Golfer

Most of the times,I remain on tour and travel for almost 36-40 weeks in a year. I have not seen cricket for a while but Sachin Tendulkar is somebody who makes not just me but all of us watch cricket on the move and catch the highlights. He is worshiped in India and it’s every player’s dream to become like him.

While I’ve never quite managed to catch an entire knock of Sachin’s owing to my schedule,I always loved his battles with Shane Warne and the manner in which he kept hitting him for sixes.

One thing which inspires me is that Sachin started his career at the age of 16 and the way he has excelled at the world level for 24 years is something to cherish. I turned professional at the age of 18 and these are still early years for me at the international stage. But I do aspire for the type of consistency he has shown for such a long time. In golf,one can play till the age of 60 and I would be happy if I could manage the two-dozen years that Sachin entertained us for.

Sachin became a phenomenon in world cricket but we have to realise that he worked upon his talent. Sometimes,players are talented but they do not know how to carry themselves or they simply get excited about instant success. Sachin never let success hinder his plans and this is a motivation for youngsters like us.

Yes,his retirement has come as a surprise to players across all sports but then everybody retires someday. Greats like Pele,Michael Jordan and Maradona retired and new players came and took their place. But to maintain the composure and success like them is what inspires youngsters like me to create our own identity.

As told to Nitin Sharma

‘He represents aspirations of a few generations of Indians’

Gagan Narang

Olympic bronze medallist,shooting

I am from a generation that has grown up watching Sachin Tendulkar play cricket. I was born six years before Sachin debuted for India and since then,I have always loved to watch him play. When I hear Tendulkar’s name,the first thing that comes to my mind is the numerous records that he has created and which are hard to break. His longevity at the top is hard to emulate and his adaptability to various situations is something I have always admired. Sachin has re-invented the game,changed the game and the man represents the aspirations of a few generations of Indians.

I have met Sachin on quite a few occasions. However,one meeting stands out for me. I met him at the 2010 Sahara Awards and we had a very nice interaction. He greeted me and also complimented me on my performances.

The one Tendulkar inning that stands out for me is the semi-final in 1998 against Australia at Sharjah. Along with that,his ODI double hundred against South Africa is also one of my favourites.

One of the most important lessons that I have learnt from Sachin Tendulkar,is the way he takes care of his body for over 24 years. Besides that,the integrity and the honesty with which he has played the game is another thing that inspires me.

As told to Chinmay Brahme

‘He has been motivation while I recovered from injury’

Akhil Kumar

Boxing Olympian

Even though I have not met Sachin Tendulkar personally,I have many memories associated with his batting during my childhood days in Rohtak,Haryana. I was 10 years old when he made his debut and I took up boxing at the age of 14 years. But before that me and my friends in Rohtak would watch the 1992 World Cup early morning on television and would often shadow-practice Sachin’s batting stance. Later in the day,we would play gully cricket and the person remained unbeaten till the end would be named Sachin. It has happened many times that we switched off the television after Sachin Tendulkar got out. And I guess most Indians associate themselves with this.

I have been plagued with injuries for the last few years but I am still going on in the sport and Sachin has been a motivation. The way he put behind his injuries and maintained consistency is a motivational boost for anybody. One thing which I believe sets him apart is that his qualities are self-made. One cannot give someone qualities like patience and composure,because this comes from within. People were asking about his retirement,but I believe when he chose cricket on his own then he should have the right to choose about his exit from the sport.

As told to Nitin Sharma

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