By Mike Horn
Sachin Tendulkar has had the most wonderful career. However, the reality of life is that sporting days have to come to an end. The game changes, the format changes. The life of the cricketer has become a little shorter because of the way the youngsters play the game today.
Yet, Sachin has been a true master of cricket, who has performed enormous service for India. In the Indian team, as well as in the Indian Premier League (IPL) side Mumbai Indians, I have seen every team member respect him and look up to him. This is mainly because of his incredible achievements as a cricketer. He contributed immensely when the game was evolving, to the development of cricket as a sport. Now, he has come to a point of realisation that he has achieved everything the game has to offer him and in that respect he is very wise to make the decision.
I am sure the decision has been taken because Sachin feels that he cannot add value as a player anymore and can move to some other capacity, coaching or mentoring. Sachin has worked with the younger players, guided them into taking up leadership roles as well, and he has coached them into becoming replacements for himself. He can now contribute tremendously by helping the young to think in the way he himself thought about the game.
In many senses Sachin is unique, especially when you consider his commitment to the game. The way he prepared, trained and stayed committed for every game was far beyond anything I have seen among other sportsmen. His commitment was not just for his personal achievements. He is by no means a selfish cricketer. He wants his success to count for the team, and if he succeeds and the team loses, he is most unhappy. It is the participation of players like him and MS Dhoni that made India such a superb team in the 2011 World Cup when I worked with them.
Modern players get paid a lot of money because IPL, which shift the focus on individual performance. But that’s not the case with Sachin. He has always put team above self; he always wants the team to perform and win.
The thing with cricketer is that they get everything done for them. Their bags are picked up, tickets are purchased, food is handed out, rooms are made ready. They never have to think for themselves. Everything happens so smoothly because of the team management, and it helps performance. It is quite difficult to step out of this way of life all of a sudden.
However, retirement actually opens up a lot of opportunities for Sachin. He has an amazing attitude, a zest for life. He has never lacked initiative, although everything has always been done for him, as for other cricketers. He is not a guy who will sit back and reap the fruits of his achievements. During the team events, whether it was racing go-karts or playing soccer or even paintball guns, he always wanted to perform well. He is very competitive and always wants to go to bed a better man than the one he woke up as. That is indeed an asset.
Now, with his retirement he will be granted another most valuable asset — time. All the sponsorship deals, public commitments will of course vie for his time. Everyone wants a piece of Sachin. But he knows how to control his time, how to manage it.
And now, after all these years of playing cricket, he will start his real life.
– As told to Arunabha Sengupta
(Mike Horn is largely considered to be the greatest modern explorer. He has completed journeys around the equator as well as the Arctic Circle — both without motorised transport. He has walked across Siberia for one and a half years — alone. And when he teamed up with Norwegian explorer Borge Ousland, they became the first men to travel without dogs or motor to the North Pole during the permanent darkness of Arctic winter. These are just some of his feats. His greatest achievement is perhaps pushing beyond the boundaries of human ability and imagination, and managing to stay alive. Horn was engaged as a motivational speaker for the Indian cricket team during their 2011 World Cup campaign. He has also worked with the Mumbai Indians.)
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