Sachin Tendulkar's parents went out of their way to ensure that their cricket-aspiring son had a normal childhood despite his rigorous cricket routine. And the legend, 35 now, is trying to repay that debt by performing the role of a father to perfection in spite of his hectic schedule.
“It is not just me, all cricketers spend many hours and days away from the family. It is part and parcel of the game, we have got adjusted to it,” Tendulkar said during a promotional event here on Friday.
“We are used to it. In fact, the pressure levels are so high in international cricket that you forget your family. And it is not only difficult for us, it is tough on the family also.
“As for my parents, it was difficult for them to be with me during the afternoons but they made it a point that they spent time with me during the evenings,” said the star batsman.
Tendulkar made his international debut at the age of 16 and has been a permanent member of the Indian team over the last two decades, although injuries have forced him to miss a few series in recent years.
Tendulkar’s passion for the sport is well documented. As a junior cricketer, he once played 55 matches in a row.
That passion has not dimmed a bit but Tendulkar, now a father of two (11-year-old daughter Sara and son Arjun who will turn 10 later this month), is learning to divide the time between cricket and family.
“My son loves cricket,” he said. “And WWE,” he added after a pause.
Like all sporting fathers, Tendulkar too would leave it to his son to decide on his career option. But in case Arjun chooses cricket, “I will support but not push him,” he said.
For the time being at least, the emphasis is not on cricket.
“Yes, occasionally we do practise WWE. We watch WWE on the TV together and we practise the moves,” Tendulkar said. “I must say you cannot under-estimate his strength.”
Meanwhile, Tendulkar made an attempt to dispel the belief that “Brand Sachin” had depreciated in recent years. “It is important for me to strike a balance between cricket and commercial activities. I have always managed to do it right from the start of my career,” the 35-year-old said.
“For me, the focus has always been on the game. Quality, and not quantity, is more important to me.”
The batsman’s response prompted the question as to whether he believed that he still had many years of cricket left in him.
“Yes, I do,” pat came the reply.
Ready for Irani Cup
Sachin Tendulkar has declared himself fit and available for the upcoming Irani Cup cricket tie between Ranji Trophy winners Delhi and the Rest of India in Vadodara from September 24 to 28.
“I am feeling fine. Yes, I will be playing in the Irani Cup,” Tendulkar told reporters on Saturday.
The star batsman missed out on the five-match ODI series against Sri Lanka after suffering an elbow injury during the preceding Test series.
Besides Tendulkar, other senior players are also expected to feature in the Rest squad with the five-day match, the traditional season opener, likely to serve as a barometer for the selectors ahead of the home series against Australia.