Having weathered 23 seasons of international grind, the body has taken a toll. It's not just the weight of expectations that weighed down Sachin Tendulkar in the run-up to his 100th century. He was discomforted by the aggravation of an old toe problem (the right big toe).
As a precautionary measure, he flew to London on Tuesday afternoon to consult a specialist. He is expected to be back in a couple of days and join the Mumbai Indians' preparatory camp for the IPL starting on April 4.
It's the same problem that flared up before the start of the limited-overs series in England last year, forcing him to miss it. The Mumbai maestro had opted for other forms of treatment like acupressure and avoided surgery. It is learnt he is feeling better and it would be just a routine check-up and that he will play in the IPL. However, it remains to be seen if he will play all the games or pick and choose.
Tendulkar feels playing in pain is part of the game. During his media interaction on Sunday, he said: "To deal with injuries is not easy and at my age it becomes even more difficult. I have played a lot of innings like that. Specific innings that come to my mind is when I got that double century (against South Africa) at Gwalior. I remember before that game I was lying on the physio's table, getting various treatments and my whole body was in trouble and all we were discussing was that 'let us win the series and then I am going to request the BCCI for a break from the third match'. I was completely exhausted. I couldn't even stand on the field.
"But I went to the ground and forgot all about that. When you are focused, you are willing to find a path and reach the destination of winning the match.
Then after the game I was asked 'do you remember what you had said before the match?' It happens to everyone and sometimes you go through that more than others."