'Sachin Tendulkar's telephone call helped me a lot after the 2003 accident'

Sachin Tendulkar’s (above) heart beats for Indian sports, says Jugraj Singh © IANS

By Jugraj Singh

As a cricketer, Sachin Tendulkar is God. Everyone in the hockey fraternity has the utmost respect and love for him.

What I like most about him is that he is an absolute team man and has always been there to help them. I have also noted that he unfailing credits his family for whatever he has achieved. Despite his stature, he has remained very rooted.

Sachin’s heart beats for Indian sports. When I was in the hospital after my accident in 2003, I received a telephone call from him. It was a very difficult moment in my life and his words encouraged me a lot. He talked about his trouble with injuries and especially the tennis elbow. He told me not to lose hope and said a lot of things that helped me mentally recover. He also told me to practice hard once I have recovered. I have not met him in person, but just to talk to him and get words of encouragement was an awesome feeling. He is indeed a kind soul, a very helpful person.

Sachin is a rare legend. Even after his retirement, he will remain in the memories of people for a long, long time to come.

His contribution to Indian and world cricket is so huge that one cannot imagine how much effort he would have put to get where is today. I’m sure he will contribute to the game with his towering stature even post retirement. His influence will help other sports in the country to prosper.

I hope he lives for 1,000 years, because he is one of a kind. The world needs more people like him.

— As told to Shrikant Shankar.

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(Jugraj Singh is a former India hockey player. He was part of India’s 2001 Junior World Cup-winning team. He also helped India win the silver medal at the 2002 Busan Asian Games)