By Aditya Tare
I was two years and a few days old when Sachin Tendulkar first played for India. Our generation has grown up watching the legend from the time we knew what cricket was all about. It’s every Indian’s dream to shake hands with Sachin Sir or get his autograph or a photo clicked with him. He is one of the biggest icons the world has known. That’s why I consider it my good fortune that I have been very blessed to share the same dressing room with Sachin — be it for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy or Mumbai Indians.
Sachin Sir is amazingly quiet for someone of his stature. But he is not aloof; he will never remain silent if he feels there is something important or necessary to share. He always guides us youngsters and tells us what we need to do to improve our game. He is always helpful and looks out for his teammates. You can talk to him anytime and he is very approachable. He has always made us youngsters feel at ease to discuss cricket and share opinions.
Honestly, he is one of the most amazing human beings I have come across in my life. The way he carries himself, on and off the field, is exemplary — truly exceptional. Mere words cannot do justice to describe his greatness — not merely as a cricketer, but also an amazing human being devoid of ego. It’s staggering to see how grounded he has been, despite being in the spotlight for the last 24 years and handling all the fame and accolades that come his way.
Merely watching him play and how he goes about his game is a huge education in itself. Seeing him in the practice sessions, the nets or just sharing the dressing room with him, you can learn a lot. Sachin Sir has his own routine and his own ways of doing things. He is the most hardworking member of the team. The stories of him being the first to practice and the last to leave are not made up; they are absolutely true. When we arrive for training, he is already there. What is impressive is that he does all this even today, after two and half decades at the top!
I got selected to play in the Mumbai Indians team after Sachin Sir got injured during the sixth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL). There was some amount of pressure on me as I was coming in for him. My first match was against Rajasthan Royals and Sachin Sir came up to me and advised me to enjoy the occasion, play my natural game and not think too much. I scored 59 [off 37 balls] and we won the game.
I feel very sad that soon he will no longer play the game. His retirement will definitely leave a huge hole in any team that he represents. His importance to the team goes beyond the value he gets as a batsman.
Winning the IPL this season and then the Champions League Twenty20 as well with Sachin Tendulkar alongside have been wonderful moments for our team in general and for me in particular. Winning the 2013 Ranji Trophy for Mumbai with Sachin Sir in the team has been the biggest highlight of my career so far.
Sachin Sir also has a very big heart and gifts bat to players he likes. I have been twice fortunate in that respect. I got my first bat just before the 2010 IPL season. I got the other during the 2013 IPL season. Both the bats are autographed by him and I cherish them most.
— As told to Shrikant Shankar
(Aditya Tare is a wicketkeeper-batsman who plays alongside Sachin Tendulkar for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy and for Mumbai Indians)
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