Already on the wrong side of the 30, Sachin Tendulkar is not getting younger anymore but he dispatches any retirement talks with the same disdain which is generally reserved for a rank half volley.
In a free-wheeling interview in CNN's Talk Asia programme, the 35-year-old batting great bares his soul and talks at length about his life and career. As he delves into the highs and lows, Tendulkar recalls the disappointment after India's first round exit from the 2007 World Cup. But for someone who possesses virtually every significant batting record, Tendulkar is just in no mood to walk into the sunset.
"There's definitely cricket left in me," he asserted.
He admits the 2007 World Cup debacle was particularly disappointing but Tendulkar said he managed to retain his hunger.
"It was a disappointing moment...A huge disappointing moment. But I came back and I started working...On my game. I trained harder and I wanted to perform better," he said.
Over the years, Tendulkar achieved what remained dreams for lesser mortals and the best compliment probably came from Don Bradman who saw his own shadow in the Mumbaikar. Asked about his personal choice, Tendulkar reveals the special place he has in his heart for a certain West Indian.
"I think that someone that I would like to watch is Brian Lara. I think he's special," Tendulkar said.
Asked about on-field skirmishes, like the Sydney racism row involving teammate Harbhajan Singh, and whether cricket remains anymore a gentleman's game, Tendulkar said, "Now that there's a lot of media attention on the players, and everything is put under a microscope so sometimes it's blown out of proportion, sometimes the player is at fault." More
Tendulkar has seen many an innovation since his 1989 debut and the ongoing Indian Premier League is perhaps the most radical of them. Tendulkar reckons IPL is not just cricket, but the Twenty20 extravaganza has probably evolved into a social phenomenon.
"It's a lot to do with the families, you know the outings in the evenings. It used to be the cinema, watching a movie or a play...But now it's the evenings...In the form of a cricket match where the whole family goes out together," he explained.
On personal front, Tendulkar tries to play the role of a responsible father who helps his children stay grounded. Recalling an interesting incident, the cricketer said once his daughter's teacher was telling the class about the restaurant named after him. And his daughter, ignorant about his father's star status, raised her hand and told the class, "Even my father's name is Sachin Tendulkar."