Everything else in the world of sports will take a back seat for the next fortnight as all eyes will be focused on the London Olympics. While Australia have roped in inspirational former skipper Steve Waugh to motivate their squad, Sachin Tendulkar lent his weight to India's campaign.
"I would want to let our entire Indian squad know that we all are behind them. As a sportsman, I would like them to go out and do something they have been practicing for years. Now's the time, it's the best platform to express themselves, and show their talent to the whole world," Tendulkar told HT on the sidelines of an event where he unveiled the BMW 3 Series car in India.
"Whether you are successful or not, your effort will matter to us and for that you will always be heroes. It is the commitment that matters, as long as the heart says ‘we have given our best’ we will be proud of you," he said in his message. "It is about the hard work they have put in, the sacrifices they have made.
The expectations of the Indian fans are higher this time with medals expected in shooting, boxing, badminton, tennis and archery. With high expectations come extra pressure, something Tendulkar is only too familiar with. "There is no doubt pressure will be your continuous companion. If you fight that, it gets difficult. You have to just understand your body and mind and embrace it. (Tell yourself) It's fine… certain things are always going to be around you, it doesn't matter. If you can understand this truth, then the entire attitude will change.
"It is easier said than done, but I think, once they enter the playing area, they will all forget about the pressure. They would just want to focus on the good performances." Like Waugh, Tendulkar won't be present to cheer the Indian contingent, but he will keenly follow their progress. "Once I am through with my training, I would be following and supporting all the Indians and willing them to do well."
Asked about his medal predictions, Tendulkar said it would depend on the start. "I am not the kind of person who sets targets like that. The entire world is there to win and there is going to be only one winner. It's not going to be easy but yes, we have winners in our contingent. If we get off to a good start, with the whole contingent sharing in the success, it is going to rub off; it will encourage the other sportspersons to do something special. I hope that happens."