Gary Kirsten, India’s World Cup-winning coach, recently opened up on how Sachin Tendulkar had expressed his desire to retire from international cricket in 2007.
The former South Africa opener revealed that Tendulkar did not feel comfortable batting out of position before he took over as the head coach of the national team. The ‘Master Blaster’ had batted at No. 3 and No. 4 in 2007 before eventually reverting to his natural opening spot later that year.
Upon Kirsten’s appointment in March 2008, Tendulkar found within himself a late flourish and went on to score 2149 runs in ODIs between 2008 and 2011 with seven centuries. In 2010, he became the first batsman ever to hit a double century in an ODI for which he went on to be named as the Wisden Cricketer of the Year.
“I ended up having a great coaching journey with him. If I think of Sachin at the time, where he was when I arrived in India… he wanted to give up the game,” Kirsten said on ‘The Cricket Collective, a talkSPORT podcast.
“According to him, he was batting out of position. He wasn’t enjoying his cricket at all. And then he scores 19 international hundreds in three years… goes back to batting where he wants to bat and we won the World Cup.”
Kirsten indicated that during his time as head coach, he just focussed on ensuring Tendulkar found the right kind of atmosphere.
“For me, all I did was facilitate the environment for him to thrive. I didn’t have to tell him anything… he knew the game. What he did need was an environment… not only him but everyone… an environment where they can be the best versions of themselves,” said the 52-year-old.
Tendulkar finished his ODI career with a record 18,426 runs, including 49 hundreds and 96 fifties. In Test cricket, he scored 15,921 runs, including 51 hundreds and 68 fifties.