Sports
In my heart I will always play for India: Sachin

20 Nov 2013

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Mumbai, Nov 18: A day after retiring from cricket, the God of the Gentleman's game, Sachin Tendulkar, on Sunday batted bouncers and googlies from journalists one after another in a press conference here, journeying back the cricketing lane of an illustrious 24-year-long career in the 22 yards, sharing his desire to help youngsters, always play for India in heart and dedicating his Bharat Ratna to his mother and millions of other Indian mothers who sacrifice for their children.

 The cricket legend also shared his first morning after retirement- of having breakfast with wife waking up at 6-50 in the morning and not worrying to rush for a shower and a game. 

 
He also congratulated scientist CNR Rao for the Bharat Ratna and said he is himself humbled by the honour. 

Excepts from his media interaction on Sunday in Mumbai:


On the journey:

It has been a dream journey for me. I have no regrets. This was the right time to stop. It was an enjoyable journey. Even though I am not physically playing for India, my heart will always pray for India.

On his mother, family:

I think this award [Bharat Ratna] is for my mother and I would go a step forward and say like my mother there are millions and millions of mothers of India who sacrifice many things for their children.

My mother was extremely happy [to see my last match and scoring 74]. I was not sure if she could come. I thought she could come, she might not come. I was worried that she may not be able to sit for long [had got arranged a room requesting BCCI for safety]. But my mother preferred being there watching each and every ball that was played. I could see in her eyes what it meant. We are not someone who are just carried away. It was always controlled and balanced reaction. Whatever she spoke to me with her eyes, I picked that. 

The beauty about my family is they never lost balances. They always had encouraging words for me. I was able to do well since school since balance was maintained at home. Like any other Indian family we would buy sweets and offer to almighty [for good performances] and the process continues. Even yesterday, my mother said I kept sweet in front of God. Their reaction to me whenever I got back from any tour was never related to how I performed, it was always about parents and child. 

On son playing cricket: 

As a father of Arjun Tendulkar I would request you to spare him. Let him enjoy cricket. My father was a professor of literature and had pen in hand and you never asked me why I did not wield the pen. He is passionate about cricket. He is madly in love with cricket and that is what matters. I do not want to put pressure on him, neither should you. Let him do his own and let him enjoy cricket. That is what I expect. Whatever the script is for future is decided by the God.

On youngsters: 

Even before I retired I interacted with young players. I was nice to understand and know their problems also. I enjoyed everyone\'s success. It is about a team sport and in a team sport it does not matter who performed best. It is about two or three exceptional performances and it really does not matter who performs.Talking about new generation and all the guys, I thoroughly enjoyed being part of the team. Someone like Bhuvneshwar  was not even born when I started playing for India. Jokingly I told many guys when I come to dressing room, wish me as Good Morning, Sir. 

If you are prepared to understand what they are also telling you (youngsters), you become a better student of the sport. I think the process will continue. If you are prepared to learn, then you learn. It fun to share my observations on their batting. It was about talking cricket, breathing cricket and it does not matter at what stage of life you are in. I have enjoyed talking cricket with all players and it has been fun. 

First morning after retirement:

 I woke up at 650 in the morning according to my body clock and made myself tea. I suddenly realised that I don\'t need to quickly have a shower and go for a match. I had breakfast with my wife. I responded to the SMSes I got thanking them for all the support and good wishes for last 24 years. The morning was very much relaxed.
 
Cricket in Olympics?

Asked on whether lead a campaign to include cricket in Olympics, he said: As I said that it has been 24 hours I retired and you are already engaging me into various other things. Give me some time to breathe. We will talk about it.

On many in 40s feeling childhood ended with Tendulkar retiring: 

I heard that they say that the 40s is new 20s. So don\'t think you are 40. We need to enjoy cricket to its fullest. Cricket has always brought out that childlike exuberance. You should have that energy. 

On foreign coach: 

I don\'t think it is about foreign coach, but it is about who is coaching. I don\'t think there has to be a foreign coach or an Indian coach. To me he has to be a coach who understands the player. It is who you can sit with and sort it out. Eventually I mean coach is a coach. It really does not matter where does he come from. As long as it is a healthy relationship that they are more friends it is fine. To have confidence in your coach is so, so much important.

Special moments in career: 
 
I think the first moment they said earlier that when I went on the wicket and I stood before 22 yards I realised that this is the last time I am standing in front of a packed stadium actually being part of Indian team, this will never again. And that was really emotional and I could not control tears. Knowing that the fact that I would never have a cricket bat in hand playing for India. It was really, really emotional. While I was shaking guys with most of the guys, including the West Indian guys, I was in tears and did not look up as I did not want anyone to see my face that way. It is hard to express how I feel but the decision was correct. 
 
When two years back we won World Cup it was the best moment. God showed me that day and that has to be a special moment. Yesterday was a special day for me too. I do not know how to react. I think it was really, really special.

The disappointing moment is 2003 World Cup when we reached final and playing so well and yet we failed to overcome the final hurdle.



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