Sachin Tendulkar interview with Boria Majumdar

Indian cricket legend and Member of Parliament Sachin Tendulkar presented Cricket historian Boria Majumdar co-authored Tendulkar's autobiography - Playing it my way

Indian cricket legend and Member of Parliament Sachin Tendulkar presented Cricket historian Boria Majumdar co-authored Tendulkar’s autobiography – Playing it my way

Indian cricket legend and Member of Parliament Sachin Tendulkar presented Cricket historian Boria Majumdar co-authored Tendulkar’s autobiography – Playing it my way, that took over three years to complete. Here is the full text of the interview to Majumdar:

Boria Majumdar: Hello and welcome of this very special interview, I have interviewed Sachin many times and perhaps hundred and more hours as his co-author. For the first time having written he book, I don’t know should I ask you the questions or should I say when we wrote it together it was different one. Finally the book is a reality.

Sachin Tendulkar: Thank you Boria Majumdar for having me here and thanks for those wonderful moments, you know when we spend three years trying to put everything together in this book. Thanks for all the hardwork, all the efforts that you have taken. It was only possible because of all that for me to recall everything to tell you how I want everything written and then to be able to make sure and convey the people that we have done an honest effort to put things across to them. Thank you very much and I have thoroughly enjoyed it and I am really excited that book is done, it is completed and people are going to have the opportunity to go through what we have be able to put together and above all it is our honest efforts so people will enjoy hope so.

Boria Majumdar: Pleasure is entirely mine; we will wait for our reader to tell us whether they like it. I will start the interview with 2 questions. One your highest point, the world cup win of 2011 second your lowest point the world cup defeat of 2007. We have talked at length about the 2011 in several of your public interviews you talked about your highest point. But in the book you say three of your team mates did something very special to you, why don’t you tell my viewers what you did and what they did for you.

Sachin: See the highest point is defiantly the world cup but once we got back to the room, I remember the whole hotel was celebrating, not just the hotel but the nation. But once we got back on our floor all the room doors was open because that particular room was for players. All the doors were open they were champagne flowing everywhere and loud music going on. Anjali was with me both of us went to my room and the doors were open and we both have flowers stuck in here (referring to ears) and having champagne and we both started dancing you know because such a massive moment in my life, something which I waited for 22 years and then from there the party continued we went on the higher floors, I don’t remember, somewhere 17th or 18th floor where one room was booked for us and that is where.

Boria Majumdar: 3 of your team mates did something special for then, Harbhajan…

Sachin: Harbhajan, Yuvraj and Virat Kohli sang a song for me “ Tujh mein rab dikhta hai” and basically I was embarrassed, I got very shy obviously, I said “What are you guys doing” Kya kar rahe ho yaar. They said “Bhai aaj gaane do, aaj mauka hai gaane ka, hum teeno ko ye gaana hai tumhare liye” They are sang and it was a special moment for me, I have mentioned in my book, Nobody knows about it. This moment is something that I cannot forget in my life.

Boria Majumdar: And when you went back home after that and you have written about that as well, you me your mother and it was very special.

Sachin: Ya, when I went back home my mother was here to receive me and  for the first time I felt actually that I have done something really big and I have come back home. There have been number of occasion you know records were broken and new records were created and all that, I was happy but I never had this feeling, winning world cup was really special and then mother Aarti to me and put tika and gave me sweet to eat. I never had that feeling, I was proud of myself, entering the house I felt I have achieved something and I have come back home.

Boria Majumdar: From this high you know if I take you back to 2007, already the world is talking about it since the publication of excerpts few days back. The world is talking about your statement on Greg Chapel, I mean obviously it must have hurt you the way you opened up to me when we were doing the book together. The Greg Chapel period was once of the darkest in your career and in Indian cricket. Isn’t it?

Sachin: It did hurt because you know I personally felt that Greg wasn’t the right person to do the job and put it in short he took Indian cricket behind, we were in a very good position when John ended his thing and gradually the downfall started and the atmosphere in dressing room was something that I had never experienced in my career, cricket was not enjoyable anymore, I didn’t particularly enjoyed and if you ask my team mates barring may one or two the rest thirteen, fourteen would speak the same language as I am speaking that environment was absolutely something that we didn’t want.

Boria Majumdar: But Sachin what was most shocking to me was those statements the a coach few months before the world cup comes to the best player’s house or arguably the best player’s house and says you become captain, we will take it from Rahul and you I will rule Indian cricket, that’s unreal to believe.

Sachin: Many people will find difficult to believe but actually happened, where I was captaincy and I said this is last thing I wanted to and everyone is prepared for a particular captain and Rahul is one who should be leading and I don’t want to take over just before the world cup. It was not just before the world cup, it was few months before the world cup and I declined and possibly that didn’t go well with him.

Boria Majumdar: When we are on Rahul, the other thing that everything is going to talk about is Multan, the 194. Will you want to sort of tell my viewers what happened, does that still rankle you?

Sachin: See, I mean there are disagreements and there are quite a few disagreements in the team, in the dressing room, in the team meetings whatever, but there are always behind the door. But there was one disagreement which happened, the declaration, which happened out in the middle and whatever I felt I spoke to Rahul and I got it off my chest and for us we had, we both had moved on. I gave him my word and he was he captain at that time and you will have 100% commitment on the field, I just need little more time off the field to settle down and things will be normal, I am so glad that after that we had some amazing partnerships, some match winning partnerships together and above all we have continued to be good friends and you know for us we had closed the chapter then and there, once the match was over, you know we forgot about it and we moved one and we ended up winning the series. So I don’t think so you know yes there was a disagreement and it ended then and there.

Boria Majumdar: Let me take you away from cricket, the book is about Sachin Tendulkar, the cricketer but about your life as well. The world waits for you for your interviews, where you go your fans, but at one point in time you waited for Anjali for 40 minutes, kept driving up and down Bandra. Why don’t you tell out viewers about it?

Sachin: Well I mean when we were not married at that time, none of my family didn’t know about Anjali and Anjali’s family didn’t know about me so we had to sort to time exactly how to meet and those were the days when mobile was not there so you know from Bandra to Warden road was a reasonable drive, someone like Arjun, my son, will not understand because he’s grown up, when sea link is there within 5 minutes you are in Worli from Bandra but before that to get to Worli you would take about good half an hour or so, from there another 15 minutes to Anjali’s house so she wasn’t there so I couldn’t even go to public booth to call her, what happened, why aren’t you here to meet me. So I had to drive back all the way to Bandra to make a phone call to her tell I that I am going to see you in another 40 minutes and go back again to meet her, just to spend some time with her and come back home. But those were the days when mobiles were not there so now thank god mobiles are there.

Boria Majumdar: Is it true that she was the one who actually spoke you your parents about the wedding?

Sachin: Yes because, I was not prepared to be so upright and be so open with my family and tell them that I want to marry now. So I said If you want to marry me, I am more than happy to go to my parents and ask them I am ready to marry you right now, if you tell me let’s get married tomorrow I am ready. You do it but I don’t know whether I will be able to tell my parents, face my brothers and sister, I am ready for that yet.

Boria Majumdar: You know from there, your family, now that you have mentioned your family, your family has always played a very pivotal role, I mean while keep talking about your parents, your  aunt, your uncle how instrumental they were in cropping you up. There’s this incredible story about your aunt, tell our viewers about it.

Sachin: You know, I use to, I had so much so much energy, that inspite of practicing for hours on field I still continued to play at home..

Boria Majumdar: And this was how old, must be 10 or 11 years…

Sachin: 11 actually..

Boria Majumdar: Correct.

Sachin: And I had one golf ball with me and it was slightly out of shape and I got this idea, taking a blade and shaving it from one side, I made the ball out of shape, It was almost oval shape ball so that I would change directions and I would get my aunt to sit on a chair near the balcony and I would be on the other side of the living room which wasn’t really big, but I would be on the other side of the living room and tell her now chuck balls with me and wherever the ball went, I would pick up the ball, give it to her, go back and play the next ball. But the whole idea about that was you know I sort of learned to play with soft hands and go on my toes because being vertically challenged that was another challenge which was going to be there for me to face for the rest of my career and that’s where I sort of learned to back foot defence with soft hands because the golf ball would fly off to bat and I didn’t want the cupboards to be broken and those kind of things so also you know it put less stress on my aunt because chucking 100 balls a day was not an easy job, all she had to was to find right direction and the ball did rest thing as ball was out of shape and it will change direction. It was some form of entertainment, later when I realised so this may have some part, my technique to play with soft hands.

Boria Majumdar: One chapter in the book has raised controversy, what you said about captaincy, there was the quota system, you never had a chance to select team of your choice and selectors did not given you players. Can you please tell us why you weren’t successful? One thing you mentioned about South Africa and West Indies tour you did not get team of your choice, what happened?

Sachin: Yes during that time I did not get the team of my choice, certain players which I wanted as part of the team I could not get. I was very upset because I had only one intention of taking to the ground and win the match and come back. So for that I think the team of captain’s choice becomes critical. If I am the captain, I will take those players on the ground, so that has to be some understanding between captain and selectors, desired understanding and transparency was not there, which I did not like because my intention to make my country win and no other goal in life. So I was not satisfied at that time and the direction I wanted to take the team could not happen.

Boria Majumdar: So this whole captaincy thing, do you think this is something that actually, because you have written about the Barbados that continues to rankle you, getting out for 81. Was that actually the darkest day in your captaincy career?

Sachin: Yes, it was because I was really really hurt, I felt we were in a position in a win that game and we had played good cricket and to chase 120 in the last innings was not going to be easy because the wicket was uneven and it was a challenge, I have to accept that. Bur chasing 120 for sure we should have done that without any trouble. It was darkest day of my life because we had not won in Barbados and it was, we had fantastic opportunity to close that game and be one up in the series because we had drawn the first 2 test matches and if we went one up in the series it would have put lot of pressure on West Indians to stage a comeback in the series and we knew that if we went one up then more or less if we really really played badly then we would losing the test match otherwise the series was with us.

Boria Majumdar: Sachin, few final questions, I have to ask you this. You are generally not outspoken, there is this section you and Chappell. Will you tell our viewers what happened?

Sachin: I have normally not spoken that language to anyone but I was really upset when in 2007 somebody who had nothing to do with Indian cricket. I need to look at myself in the mirror, my commitment, Endulkar, and those sorts of things. And on the other hand my batting hero Vivan Richards calls from West Indies and saying “there is plenty of cricket left in you, don’t even think of retiring, you will thank me in time to come for this advice”. You know these were contrasting things after that good seasons and in 2009 or 2010 I ended up becoming ICC cricketer of the year. At that time I bumped into Ian Chappell in Durban in South Africa. We were actually in gym, we were working out and Nitin Patel my physio was there and there Ian says “this is the secret of your success” and I looked and said you conveniently switch sides you know where you had nothing to do with Indian cricket, you made statements I should look into myself in the mirror and now you are praising me and what are you guys up to, why do you all these things when you are not part of what is actually happening, what ground reality is. I am doing same old things, what I am doing for last 19 years, you are the guys you keep changing and from there we moved on to Greg Chappell and I told I am sorry to say those were the worst cricketing days of my life, most unenjoyable cricket of my life that I have played and he took Indian cricket good 4-5 years behind. I mean which was huge disappointment; you know he shouldn’t have been there.

Boria Majumdar: Final 2 questions, 1. You got some very nice words about 3 people who are not the batting mainstay of these current Indian team, Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, because they have all little little parts in the book which people don’t know. Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane and Rohit Sharma, tell my viewers about it.

Sachin: Virat, after my last test match, Virat came to me in the dressing room, I sitting in the corner and I was, you know still somewhat trying to control myself, not shedding tears and those kind of things. Virat was also emotional and he gave me a box and I asked him was is this so he said when my father passed away just before that he has given me these kind of threads which we tie, god’s thread, this will give you good luck, I didn’t find anyone worthy enough to keep this and I feel you are the person I should give this to and touched my feet. I said why are you touching my feet, don’t do this you are like my younger brother, he said “I respect you and we will miss you” so I kept that for a day and because you know at that time I told I was very emotional and said Virat just go and leave me alone and I again started crying because I was emotional and that made me even more emotional. The very next day I was having my retirement for dinner and that’s when I returned it to him and said this is your father’s memory and you should never part with it, it will be bring you all the luck in future. With Ajinkya it again happened in the dressing room where I took him aside after everything was over and the whole team was waiting for me in the bus, I took him aside and I told him I have observing you closely you may have realised your work ethics as really good. It must have been so disappointing that he played the fourth test match in Delhi against Australia and the next test match you play before West Indies and before that there were few one day matched we have played and Rohit had done very well and you know naturally the whole world had to start talking about Rohit and how Rohit is going to make his test debut and those kind of things and those kind of things and it is little hard on Ajinkya also to accept that and continue to work hard like that and I thought he was focused there he did get, he must have disappointed and he didn’t lose heart and I told him you please continue to do that, you have worshipped the game, the game will look after you, you know by no means I am telling you that you should be in the team and Rohit should be out. But the game will look after in future; you continue to go this direction, the right direction you are heading in and all the very best.

Boria Majumdar: And coming to Rohit.

Sachin: Rohit is an extremely talented individual and a disciplined individual, now he is focus I feel and he is doing everything possible to get back in the team and do something special for the nation. Before the game I had designed special stickers on my bat and also the grip and I didn’t want anyone to see that and I went to Rohit and said “Rohit I want you to do me a favour” I want borrow that sack from him which most of the players do carry in the kit bags, I don’t so I said I don’t want anyone to see my bat and change all the stickers and tomorrow morning I will come to the ground and when I on the field that is when everyone gets to see the stickers, till then nobody knows what I am doing and these are special stickers, I am quite sentimental about all these things, I don’t want anyone to see so I want to borrow your kit bag. SO that’s when I borrowed his kit bag and I carried to my room and Rohit helped in all that.

Boria Majumdar: Final question, the book basically is the story of first innings of Sachin Tendulkar, 40 years of incredible international cricket, 200 test matches, every record in the book. You are now as if on the canter at the start of your second innings as well because I speak to you, you are now in India and then in England now in this village with your social commitments, what can the second innings be like? What should you fans except, people except, this country expect from Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar.

Sachin: Expectations from me continue till the time I had cricket bats in my hands and beyond that now I have started my second innings expectations continue and rightly so. The first innings about my personal enjoyment on the field and those kind of things and the second innings is about giving as much as I can to the people who have supported me for such a long time and it’s all about satisfaction, my satisfaction about giving things. In this have planned two verticals, one is that I have been associated with an NGO called Apnale for last 20 years now.

Boria Majumdar: And we donating parts of the books.

Sachin: Yes I mean we have promised 25 lakhs minimum, hopefully I should be able to give much more than that and I would be so happy if I am able to give more than that and it is for women empowerment, it is about allowing the disadvantage communities to have a fair platform to build their careers to realise their dreams and giving them a better life. So that is one vertical and the second vertical I am going to support which we have already started is spreading happiness India foundation which is about lighting up villages as many houses as possible because there is no electricity and it hard to believe in 2014 life sort of comes to stand still after sunset and till the sunrise. There is no much happening in those houses, it something that disturbs me. So we have already been able to light up 6500 houses. The vision and the dream is to light up the entire nation and I will try my level best to bring happiness to all the less privileged people and it’s about giving happiness, it about sharing happiness and that is something I want to do which is going to give me immense satisfaction so the second innings is all about satisfaction.

Boria Majumdar: As I close the interview it’s about the book, sum it up in one line and I will close it. One line.

Sachin: Played it my way so I would stick to Playing it My way.

Boria Majumdar: He’s given happiness; he will give happiness and continue to do so. It been an absolute pleasure doing this interview more importantly been able to write the book with Sachin Tendulkar, India’s great cricketer, with Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar and most importantly a very dear friend who have come to admire, come to respect come to revere. Thank you Sachin Tendulkar.

Sachin: Thank You.

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