The drizzle on a laid back Sunday morning failed to wet Sachin Tendulkar’s relaxed mood. Having proved a day earlier that T20 isn’t necessarily a young man’s game and that smarta and age are not synonyms, the master of many seasons reiterated what players of his generation have been saying for a while.
“Rahul (Dravid) and I don’t have to prove anything anymore. Whatever we had to prove, we have done over the years,” he said at the launch of a cricket gaming website. “A lot of people say that we seniors are out to prove a point, but it’s not that way.” So why doesn’t he make himself available for T20 fulltime? “I withdrew from the last T20 World Cup (in 2007) because I felt I wasn’t 100 per cent. Now that our team has settled down, I don’t want to disturb the combination,” said the man who at 36 looks as chirpy on the field as any youngster and performs better than most of them.
There was a reference to his and Dravid’s stellar shows a day earlier and a question whether their superior technique stood them in better stead in this format. Tendulkar reverse-swept the quer: “T20 is not about technique. The bowler isn’t trying to get you out and is happy conceding five per over. So, innovation matters more than technique.”
The owner of the most enviable statistical landmarks was also asked about the importance of numbers and this time he came up with a straight drive. “Statistics reflect your contribution to the game and I’m aware of mine. But more than that, statistics don’t bother me and I don’t look at the statistics of other players.” Tendulkar signed off with oft-heard words: “My team’s success matters to me more than my personal achievements”. Coming from the father of two, whose joy after Saturday’s victory was unmistakably genuine, it suggested that he meant what he was saying.