My favourite Sachin innings
His 103* in the second innings in Chennai against England last December. It wasn’t just because the odds were stacked against us, chasing 380-odd for a win, but also because of the conditions — it was an emotionally charged Test (this was the first international after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks) and we really wanted to win. We got off to a flier but then wickets fell. At one stage we thought we needed a miracle and we got one in Sachin. He was determined to win this for India and did so.
His greatest strength
His mind. I have never met anyone quite like Sachin in terms of the way he thinks. He is a man with single-minded focus, and a determination to make things happen just the way he has figured they should. He obviously works very hard on his game, but also has an inborn talent that is supplemented by his immense mental capacity. He has an uncanny ability to analyse a situation and come up with how best to work out a solution.
I’m not really sure if he has a weakness at all, but only thing I can think of really are his down times — he sometimes gets very low when he doesn’t score in a game. I’m not sure if it’s a weakness, but it shows that sometimes he’s as human as the rest of us.
Sachin & me
There are so many ‘Sachin moments’ in my life that I can’t pick one. He has always been there, for me, for his other friends, for anyone who needed him. It’s rare for someone of his stature to be as humble and down to earth as he is — never too busy to help. With me, he has mentored, advised, ticked off when I’ve been in the wrong. I’m honoured to call him a friend.
My message to Sachin
Congratulations on these 20 years and you have to give us many, many more. May you stay on top of the world in the years ahead of you. You are immensely special, as a cricketer, a man and as a friend.
( As told to Kadambari Murali Wade )