Revealing it my way
‘Playing it my way’ , the autobiography of the great man Sachin Tendulkar has many revelations of his career spanning 24 years. It is not an obscure fact that Tendulkar did not enjoy the captaincy handed over to him when Indian Cricket team was struggling for authenticity after claims of fixing marred the sanctity of the game in India.
Tendulkar recalls in his autobiography about the dark days he has been through in his career which spanned for over two decades, “I hated losing and as captain of the team I felt responsible for the string of miserable performances. More worryingly, I did not know how I could turn it around, as I was already trying my absolute best.” Helplessness was palpable in his words and that he was desperate to bring the team back on the winning ways. Losing a string of very close matches had left me badly scarred. I had given it everything and was not sure that I could give even 0.1 per cent more…. It was hurting me badly and it took me a long time to come to terms with these failures. I even contemplated moving away from the sport completely, as it seemed nothing was going my way,” revealed the master blaster.
The period Tendulkar was talking about dates back to 1997 when the Indian team was on tour to West Indies. After drawing the opening two Tests, the Indians seemed to be heading for a victory in the third, chasing a mere 120.
“Monday 31 March 1997 was a dark day in the history of Indian cricket and definitely the worst of my captaincy career. And yet it had promised so much. In fact, over dinner at a restaurant in St Lawrence Gap in Barbados the night before, I remember having a joke with the waiter, who was predicting a West Indian win. He was confident that Ambrose would bounce India out the next morning,” Tendulkar writes.
“Now, in the first innings of this match, Franklyn Rose had bowled me a bouncer and I had pulled him into the stands for six. So I reminded the waiter of the shot and jokingly said to him that if Ambrose tried to bowl me a bouncer, I would hit him all the way to Antigua.
“I was so confident of our chances that I pointed to the fridge and said he should immediately chill a bottle of champagne and I would come and open it the next day and pour him a glass to celebrate winning the match,” Tendulkar says in the book. But somehow in a strange turn of events Indian team bundled out for a paltry score of 81.
Dwelling further on that tour the ODI series which trailed the Test series was in the favour of the Windies team which won by a margin of 4-1, which left him reeling and was an insult to injury after losing couple of matches which were in the grasp of Indian team. The frustration that built up during these losses ultimately gave vent to his anger in the team meeting.
“After eventually losing the five-Test series 0?1, we went on to lose the ODI series as well. The good start to the tour had given way to a complete lack of application and that proved catastrophic in the end. The best example of this ineptitude was the third one-day game, at St Vincent, where we needed 47 runs to win off the last ten overs with six wickets in hand. Rahul and Sourav had set up the platform and we should have strolled to victory,”
“Again and again I instructed the batsmen not to go for big shots and to play along the ground, saying there was no need for any risk-taking with the asking rate under five runs an over. However, all our middle- and lower-order batsmen kept playing the ball in the air. The loss of a few wickets resulted in panic, which in turn led to a number of suicidal run-outs. It was infuriating to see the team lose from a winning situation,” he said.
“At the end of the match I called a team meeting and lost my cool with the boys in the dressing room. I spoke from my heart and said the performance was unacceptable. I said that losing matches in which the opposition play better cricket is one thing ? I had no problem with such defeats ? but losing a match that we had completely under control suggested there was something seriously wrong with the team.” Ultimately it was Anjali who helped Tendulkar deal with his predicament.
Tendulkar also divulged that Greg Chapel, coach of the Indian team in the catastrophic 2007 world cup, asked Tendulkar to take over the captaincy from Dravid which he refused.
Tendulkar was brutal in his criticism for Chapel and described him as, “ringmaster who imposed his ideas on the players without showing any signs of being concerned about whether they felt comfortable or not”.
“I suggested to the BCCI that the best option would be to keep Greg back in India and not send him with the team to the World Cup. That is not what happened, of course, and the 2007 campaign ended in disaster.”
India was eliminated in the first round of the 2007 world cup after losing to Bangladesh and Srilanka in the initial stages of the tournament.
“We had failed to fulfill the expectations of the fans, but that did not mean we should be labeled traitors. At times the reaction was surprisingly hostile and some of the players were worried about their safety. Headlines like ‘Endulkar’ hurt deeply. After eighteen years in international cricket, it was tough to see things come to this and retirement crossed my mind.”
The much awaited book is set to release on 06th of Nov 2014 and you can pre order the book on Flipkart.