Sachin Tendulkar and the exemplary tales of his gratitude to those who helped him along the way to the peak of excellence

The 2011 World Cup triumph was the biggest cricketing moment in Sachin Tendulkar’s life. While the Indian team celebrated an incredible high, Sachin Tendulkar didn’t forget a poor fan who has been there for him at every venue in India. He summoned Sudhir Kumar (right) to the dressing room to be a part of the triumph and lift the trophy! © Getty Images

Sachin Tendulkar has achieved almost everything there is to achieve on the field of play, yet he remains grounded and humble. Thursday, October 10, 2013, would have been one of the saddest days in his life — a day when he had to part away with what he cherished most in his life for the greater part of his life, playing cricket for the country. Despite the pain his heart, he took time out to thank the people who help him in his journey to greatness. Milind Rege, the former Mumbai captain, was one such angel in Tendulkar’s life whom the maestro called on Thursday to personally thank him for his support during his formative years. Rege tells Nishad Pai Vaidya about Tendulkar’s gratitude.

“The essence of all beautiful art, all great art, is gratitude.” — Friedrich Nietzsche

Sachin Tendulkar’s journey to the top, like all champions, has been about hard work, diligence, perseverance and the burning desire to succeed. But he couldn’t have achieved what he did without the blessings of many along the way. It’s common for people to forget those who helped them to the pinnacle of success, but Tendulkar is one of the rare exceptions, remaining eternally grateful to those helpful souls in his much celebrated life — many unsung and in the background.

When Tendulkar announced his retirement on October 10, it was arguably the saddest day of his cricketing life. Cricket has been a part of his soul. As he said, “It’s hard for me to imagine a life without playing cricket because it’s all I have ever done since I was 11 years old.”

Walking away would have been the toughest decision of his life, for he was giving up a source of unbridled joy. Yet, in such a time, the ever gracious Tendulkar did not forget the people who have helped him.

Hours after announcing his retirement, Tendulkar called up Milind Rege, the former Mumbai cricketer to express his gratitude and thank him for all his support. Rege was a selector during Tendulkar’s age group days and was one of the key figures in helping him play for the Cricket Club of India (CCI) as a 14-year-old.

Rege told CricketCountry, “Yesterday (October 10), I was about to go on air around 7.00 pm when I received a call at 6.54. It was Sachin. He said, “I’ve called you to thank you for all that you’ve done for me in my formative years, the under-15 days, taking me to the CCI and showing me the way, talking about me for the Mumbai team. I am ever so grateful to you and will always remain indebted to you.” It is amazing, isn’t it?”

This epitomises Tendulkar’s greatness as a human being. To overcome numbing personal sorrow and remember to express his gratitude to a man who did him some good more than 25 years ago. The lines that move you the most are, “I am ever so grateful to you and will always remain indebted to you.” Imagine that coming from someone who has achieved greatness on the world stage. To show that gratitude on one of the saddest days of your life reflects great character and humility.

Rege said, “Sachin’s greatest virtue is that he has high regard for elderly people, seniors and those who have helped him. And, all this is very natural for him.”

You would also go back to the night of the 2011 World Cup final at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai. It was the moment Tendulkar had achieved his life-long dream, emotions were flowing and yet he maintained his composure when Sanjay Manjrekar interviewed him. Unfailingly, Tendulkar thanked the heroes behind the scenes — the support staff. Gary Kirsten, Paddy Upton and Mike Horn had worked tirelessly in the dressing room and at the training sessions. Tendulkar knew it was his day, but did not fail to thank Kirsten’s army. Whether it is joy or sorrow, he has remained the same man.

We often hear that an attitude of gratitude is important and those who believe in karma would vouch for it. Sachin Tendulkar’s life epitomises that value. What a champion! What a human being!

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)