Sachin's passion sets him apart: Javagal Srinath | cricket | Hindustan Times
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Sachin's passion sets him apart: Javagal Srinath

I was in Dhaka as the ICC match referee during the first Test between Bangladesh and New Zealand when, one afternoon (October 10), I got a call from Sachin. It was a surprise and as we exchanged pleasantries, I wondered why he had called.

cricket Updated: Nov 06, 2013 01:56 IST

I was in Dhaka as the ICC match referee during the first Test between Bangladesh and New Zealand when, one afternoon (October 10), I got a call from Sachin. It was a surprise and as we exchanged pleasantries, I wondered why he had called. Then, he told me that he was retiring from Test cricket and therefore from all forms of the game, and before going public, he wanted to call up a few people and inform them personally.

He told me, "It was a pleasure and honour to play with all of you guys." I was almost frozen in time. All I could say was your decision has to be the best decision, but even if you play for two more years, no harm done. One of the things I remember about every meeting with Sachin is that he always said there still was a burning desire in him to keep playing. He didn't want to quit and then be overcome with regret that he had left some unfinished business behind.

This time, he was emphatic that he had done everything he had thought of doing and wanted to do, and because he was satisfied, he was quitting all forms of the game. 'I have completely played my game,' he told me.

Total commitment
The uniqueness in Sachin lies in the way he connects to the game. There are two aspects to it. One is the passion. When it comes to a practice session, he bats on and on. Then, when he is satisfied with batting, he takes off his pads and comes on to bowl, and then bowls and bowls. If the wicket is doing a bit, he comes on as a seamer. If the wicket is spinning, he will come as a spinner, an off-spinner or leg-spinner. The fact is that in each style of bowling, he is Test quality. This is how his heart connects to the game.

The sustenance of that connection comes from the mind, and that is the second aspect. The attrition that we go through playing cricket at the highest level only comes from the mind, and Sachin has had absolute control over what is going on in his mind.

Key to success
To me, his passion and mind are the two huge reasons for his longevity in the sport. I don't know if there is anyone else who can match him in those two aspects.

When you are young, it is the mind which controls your actions. As you grow older, you have to put in the extra effort when it comes to fitness. You work harder on the body to keep the mind fit, because with a fit body you can drive the mind. It helps that he is a naturally fit person. In Sachin's case, the relationship between body and mind has been perfect, the balance has been beautiful.

Hawkeye/Chivach Sports

The writer is a former India pacer