For well over two decades,enthusiastic parents have attempted to thrust their children into the same photo frame as Sachin Tendulkar,hoping to collect a memory for life. Punjab pacer Siddharth Kaul grew up clutching one such memory. Twenty years on,the memory came to life and left Kaul no less starstruck.
Tendulkar met his unusual fan in his hotel room Tuesday afternoon. He had seen him once at the Indian team nets during which the boy Kauls precious piece of black-and-white memory was clicked but neither cricketer could have known then that they would one day be part of competing teams in the same tournament.
Kaul wasnt in the Delhi Daredevils eleven that took the field against Mumbai Indians at the Wankhede Stadium on Tuesday,but just having his name in the squad was the young mans wildest dream come true.
In March 1993,Mohammed Azharuddins India were playing England in an ODI in Gwalior. Tendulkar,then 20,was already a household name,and Kauls father Tej Kaul then a trainer with the Indian team took his three-year-old son to Indias nets and got him to sit next to the young star for a picture.
On Tuesday,Tendulkar took one look at the old picture and announced,I know Tej and this photo is of 1993,maybe during the England series. Because I remember the logo in that picture!
Kaul said he remembered sitting next to Tendulkar,and that someone had given his father the picture later. As soon as I started playing cricket at the age of 6,I knew who Tendulkar was… Now he is God. You will find his photographs everywhere,in my bedroom,kitbag,wallet.
Kaul,who was the second highest wicket taker this Ranji season,was in the India U-19 team that won the junior World Cup in 2008 under Virat Kohlis captaincy. Last week,he was named in the 30 probables for the Champions Trophy in England.
When the Delhi team flew to Mumbai,Kaul had hoped that he could meet his idol. But he was shy,almost scared of approaching Tendulkar. He spent the eve of the game just looking at Tendulkar hitting in the nets. When he could ultimately muster the courage to call on Tendulkar,the meeting passed in a daze,with Kaul being able to mumble only a few words to him.
I wanted to touch his feet. Despite being so famous,hes so grounded, he said after the meeting.
Tendulkar advised Kaul to continue doing what he had been doing and to not think too much about the future. It was important to keep working hard,he stressed.
He told me that working hard was the only thing I could do. Outcome is not in your hand,he said. Some people play for long and some people dont. Its better to leave things to destiny and do what one can do,which is work hard, Kaul recalled.
He asked Tendulkar the formula for doing well in all formats. He was told,Kaul said: There will be days when you will bowl well and there will be days when your preparation will be right but still you wont get the same result. Its important to prepare well and try to do what you want to. It is not important what others do or what your opponents are doing. You cant control what others do but what is important is what you are doing. When your preparation is right,and with hard work,you will succeed.
It is advice that Tendulkar must be giving to many youngsters who revere him. But to young Kaul it sounded like a talisman one that came along with a new 20-year picture.