The man, the legend
Blood, sweat & bowlers’ tears
He cried when he narrowly missed out on becoming the youngest Test centurion at 17. But since then, he’s continued to make bowlers weep. In Shane Warne’s words, describing his nightmares: “I see Sachin coming, dancing down the track and lofting me over for yet another six!"
Sachin is a believer and, in fact, is god-fearing. He is devoted to Sai Baba and Ganpati and is said to frequent temples in the quiet of the night. His parents inculcated religious values in him. Tendulkar himself believes in the concepts of reincarnation, heaven and hell. He loves celebrating Ganesh Chaturthi with family, whenever his schedule permits and feels this firms up his ties with his loved ones.
He’s among the highest paid sportspersons in the world and has earned several awards and accolades. Among his prized possessions are the 13 one-rupee coins he received from his coach Ramakant Achrekar, who used to put them on the stump when his protege would start tiring during practice. “Whoever gets him out gets the coin,” he would tell the bowlers, “or else Sachin takes it.” Sachin rates these coins above any other of his awards.
The hero’s heroes
He’s a hero for millions but even Sachin has his heroes. As a child, he rooted for Gavaskar and McEnroe with equal gusto. His other cricketing heroes were Viv Richards, Imran Khan and Sandeep Patil. Among his peers, he admires Brian Lara, Jonty Rhodes, Wasim Akram, Shane Warne and Sanath Jayasuriya. He regrets not having played against the fearsome West Indian pace battery of Garner, Roberts, Marshall and Holding.
Loves his food
Sachin’s love for sea food is famous. He loves his bombil and is known to make a mean fish fry himself. He also has two restaurants bearing his name — Tendulkar’s and Sachin’s — both in Mumbai. And like a typical Mumbaikar, he loves vada-paav. On his 33rd birthday, old pal Vinod Kambli gifted him 33 vada-paavs. Legend has it that once, as a kid, he badgered his maid Laxmibai into cooking a fried frog for him. This could not be confirmed!