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Hero worship: Sporting fraternity pays tribute to Sachin Tendulkar

The sporting fraternity pays tribute to the player and the man behind the legend.

Written by Express News Service | Published: November 17, 2013 5:03:29 am

The sporting fraternity pays tribute to the player and the man behind the legend.

‘It will never be the same ’

Sania Mirza,tennis player

It has been a matter of great pride for me to have played for my country during the Sachin Tendulkar era. Over the years,I have been fortunate enough to meet him several times,but the incident I cherish the most happened a decade ago,after I won the junior Wimbledon title in 2003. He arranged for an autographed Fiat Palio to be presented to me and called me up at the time of the presentation even though he didn’t even know me then. It was a very kind gesture.

Sachin Tendulkar Cricket

That Sachin has managed to maintain such a high level of excellence for more than 20 years is an endorsement of his passion,talent and fitness. His ability to perform under daunting pressure and live up to the expectations of a billion people is something that I admire greatly. Will there be another Sachin? The likes of Virat Kohli are showing some spark,but he’s the original. To imagine an India team without him is difficult. We’ll manage,but it will never be the same.

As told to Mihir Vasavda

‘Our love for Sachin joins us’

Sushil Kumar,wrestler

I got a call from Sachin Tendulkar just moments after I won my silver medal at the London Olympics.

Sachin Tendulkar Cricket

He was the first from India to congratulate me that day. It was already an incredible moment and it just got better with Sachin’s call. We have stayed in touch through texts ever since. In India,you can be anyone but the common thread that joins us all is our love for Tendulkar. He is a god among sportsmen and I get motivated by the fact that I know him personally. Without him,sports will be incomplete.

As told to Vinayakbhushan Padmadeo

‘Such players come once in a century’

Dhanraj Pillay,former hockey captain

I played in Malaysia for about eight years and the goalkeeper of my club was a huge fan of Sachin. He even named his son after him. When the Indian cricket team came to Malaysia,my friend wanted his son to meet Sachin Tendulkar but couldn’t get past security. So he called me up. I asked him to pass the phone on to the nearest cricketer. It was Yuvraj Singh and he connected me to Sachin. I told him about my friend’s son and asked if he could help with a photograph and an autograph. Sachin readily obliged. I wasn’t there,but I felt touched by his humbleness.

Sachin Tendulkar Cricket

He’s one of those players who come once in a century. Sometimes,when I go for a party with other sportsmen,we end up talking about Sachin at least once. Staying in the game for that long takes a lot of dedication. He showed us it isn’t impossible.

As told to Shahid Judge

‘Sachin raised the bar’

Geet Sethi,former cueist

During the mid-’80s,when I was playing a billiards tournament at the Islam Gymkhana in Mumbai,everyone was talking about this talented 15-year-old batting in a local match at the Gymkhana’s cricket ground. I went out to see him bat. It was obvious he was vastly talented.

Sachin Tendulkar Cricket

In the mid-2000s,I was invited to give a talk on concentration to the Indian cricket team before a tour to Australia. Sachin came up afterwards to discuss the nuances of focus. He is someone who always raised the bar. He showed sportspersons what it takes to focus on your primary objective when you have popularity,fame and money.

As told to Shahid Judge

‘I learnt virtues like concentration,dedication and discipline from him’

Saina Nehwal,badminton player

The first thing that comes to mind whenever I hear Sachin Tendulkar’s name is that of a great cricketer and a true gentleman. He’s someone who’s never been involved in any controversy and has always been concerned about his game,bringing endless laurels to our country. I have learned a lot from watching him,particularly about dedication,concentration,discipline and hard work,which I’ve tried to inculcate on the badminton court.

Sachin Tendulkar Cricket

The first time I met him in person was recently,in September 2012,at an event where he presented me with a sports utility vehicle and congratulated me on my bronze medal at the London Olympics. Meeting him was a huge honour in itself,but I was really touched by his words of praise. I also remember very fondly the time he praised me in front of a large number of sports enthusiasts in Hyderabad. He called me a role model for the younger generation. I will never forget those words.

As told to Chinmay Brahme

‘He’s the benchmark for every player in this country’

Akhil Kumar,boxer

Even though I have not met Sachin Tendulkar personally,I have many memories associated with him from my childhood in Rohtak,Haryana.

Sachin Tendulkar Cricket

I was 10 when he made his debut and my friends and I would watch him on television during the 1992 World Cup and try and shadow-bat like him. When we played gully cricket,the person who remained unbeaten till the end would be called Sachin. I loved to watch him play against Australia. He is the benchmark for every player in this country. His qualities of patience and composure also set him apart. I have been suffering from injuries of late,but I continue to play because I draw on people like him as motivation. People were asking about his retirement,but I believe when he chose cricket on his own,he had the right to choose his exit.

As told to Nitin Sharma

‘He represents the aspirations of a few generations of Indians’

Gagan Narang,shooter

My generation grew up watching Sachin Tendulkar play. When I hear his name,the first thing that comes to my mind is his numerous records and how difficult it will be to better them.

Sachin Tendulkar Cricket

Sachin has reinvented and changed cricket,and represents the aspirations of a few generations of Indians. I have met Sachin on quite a few occasions,but I always remember the 2010 Sahara Awards where he complimented me on my performances. It was a huge honour.

As told to Chinmay Brahme

‘He showed us a sportsman is never too old to try new things’

Vijay Kumar,shooter

Coming from a sport where mental toughness and patience are key,I will remember Sachin Tendulkar for one quality: patience on and off the field. The way he managed his career shows his persistence. He bowled with the same energy with which he batted. This is motivating for players like me who are trying their hand at new events in shooting. Sachin Tendulkar showed us that a sportsman is never too old to try out new things.

Sachin Tendulkar Cricket

For many people of my age,Sachin’s career has been an integral part of their memories. I belong to a small village,Harsour in Himachal Pradesh,where youngsters would go crazy over his knocks. I have not watched much cricket,but I remember how he silenced critics with his 200 in the one-day international against South Africa in Gwalior in 2010. I am happy his last match is on his home ground. He deserves the honour.

As told to Nitin Sharma

‘He was a phenomenon,but he worked on his talent’

Gaganjeet Bhullar,golfer

I remain on tour for almost 36-40 weeks in a year. I have not followed cricket for a while but Sachin Tendulkar is somebody who makes all of us watch cricket,even if it is only snatches of match highlights. That’s how I have enjoyed his duels with Shane Warne.

Sachin Tendulkar Cricket

One thing which inspires me is that Sachin started his career at the age of 16 and carried on for 24 years. I turned professional at the age of 18 and these are still early years for me at the international stage. In golf,one can play till the age of 60 and I would be happy if I could manage to perform as consistently as him.

Sachin became a phenomenon in world cricket,but we have to realise that he worked on his talent. Sometimes,players are talented but they do not know how to carry themselves or they get carried away by success. Sachin never let success hinder his focus. Everybody retires some day. Greats like Pele,Michael Jordan and Maradona retired and new players came and took their place. But to maintain their level of composure and success is what inspires youngsters like me.

As told to Nitin Sharma

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