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   It is a good thing that Sachin Tendulkar is a sober and level-headed person. (April 27, 1998)

Such fulsome praise from all quarters could go to a young man's head

A significant aspect of Sachin's make-up is that even now he does not talk of runs and records. What comes out most, in many unrehearsed interviews given, is his pleasure at an India victory. No wonder then that he took his captaincy so seriously and exhibited his disappointment so openly when the selectors repeatedly did not cooperate with him and give him the team he wanted. That part of the selectors' behaviour requires to be investigated, whether they did it out of sheer ignorance or cussedness.

Also what requires to be studied is the determination and energy that has made Sachin Tendulkar what he is. Most of my information on this comes from the book on Sachin written by his brother. Only the brother could have written the book, there is no doubt about that.It was the brother who noticed Sachin's talents as a cricketer and took the boy (child) to Achrekar (Sir) for special coaching at his Shivaji Park nets. Sir thought he was a little too young but he would try him out. Also, that Sachin should come for the coaching wearing long pants.

The Tendulkars were a close family, but cricket must have meant something to them because they decided to board their little boy with a relation who had a flat at Shivaji Park, so that it would be near his coaching place. The mother used to go in the evenings to see her son, and the father came once a week.Achrekar must have had a lot to do with Sachin's development. He had a low grip on the bat, any other coach would have corrected it, Achrekar tried, then let it go. He also believed that the best way for a cricketer to develop was to play in actual matches. He ran a couple of cricket teams, and Sachin, soon becoming his star player, not only played for both the teams, but played for them simultaneously.

He would bat for one team. Then, on being out, Sir would put him on his scooter and take him to the game being played by the second team somewhere in South Bombay. He would bat there, then come back to the first team for the fielding. The English talk of the playing fields of Eton and Harrow, we have our Shivaji Parks and Azad Maidans. How many cricketers these badly kept maidans have produced!

I remember the early Sachin Tendulkar, a schoolboy going to Pakistan, a head full of hair like a young Einstein. The entire team looked after him, and Kapil Dev, the seniormost player, shared the room with the juiormost, Tendulkar.

It seems he was so immersed in cricket, that in his sleep he used to talk about cricket, calling out in his dream to the batsman at the other end to take a run.

I also remember a reporter going to meet him at his Bandra house on the day he returned from the Pakistan tour. The family had to call Sachin from the compound, where he was playing cricket with the colony boys.

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