Sachin Tendulkar’s credentials need no introduction. With more than 30,000 international runs over a storied 24-year career, Tendulkar owns almost all the batting records.
His fielding wasn’t too shabby either. Numbers show that Tendulkar is India’s second-most successful fielder in ODIs with 115 catches and third-most in Tests with 140. But while Tendulkar notes that the success with the bat was because of his passion for batting, fielding was always “a little torturing” for him.
“I wasn’t physically unfit, but fielding was sort of torturing for me,” said the 43-year-old at an interaction for the New Delhi marathon. Tendulkar, the brand ambassador for the event, reiterated the need to focus on running between the wickets.
“The art of running between the wickets was like a shuttle relay. The skill to accelerate, decelerate and quickly take a turn for another run was accomplished due to better physical fitness,” said Tendulkar.
Tendulkar said that even in a team sport like cricket, individual training is the key to success, adding that “there is more awareness today with different training methods.”
“The Indian team is one of the best in the world. Without good physical fitness it would be difficult to secure place in the team. Access to better infrastructure and playing facilities has enabled the players to improve themselves,” he added.
While he noted that the modern facilities are helping the current crop, Tendulkar, who made his debut as a 16-year-old in 1989, attributes his longevity to a crucial, and often overlooked, trait — perseverance.
“I always learned to smile in the face of adversity,” Tendulkar said, adding that he never exposed any weakness to his opponents. Recounting an incident on the field, Tendulkar said that a bouncer hit him in the ribcage, and he couldn’t breathe for a while because of the pain. But he decided to tough it out.
“I didn’t reveal to the bowler that I was hurt. The bowler looked menacing and stared at me. I too looked back straight back into his eyes. Never gave up,” he added.
What of the injury, though?
“He had fractured my ribs,” said Tendulkar. “There was a clot, and I discovered that three months later during a routine medical check.”