Image courtesy of: The Guardian
“When we won the World Cup, the way his family, fans and the whole of Mumbai rejoiced, it was a touching moment for every player”
India batsman Suresh Raina has revealed that veteran batsman Sachin Tendulkar’s “intensity” used to reach “200 per cent” whenever the national team played against arch-rivals Pakistan.
Raina added that Tendulkar used to be extremely determined to perform well against Pakistan, but also helped calm nerves in the dressing room before the “high-voltage” encounter.
Raina’s comments come ahead of Tendulkar’s 200th and final Test match against the West Indies in his hometown of Mumbai.
“Sachin’s intensity reaches 200 per cent against Pakistan,” Raina recalled. “I remember when we were playing our World Cup semi-final against Pakistan in Mohali, we all were tense.
“It was a high-voltage match for us with the Prime Ministers of both sides present. The body language of players on both the sides was aggressive.
“After the toss, Sachin had told every player to remain focused on the job. He said ‘the wicket is good and our record against Pakistan in World Cups is perfect’. He had a meeting with the batsmen and fielders as our fielding unit was very strong. Paaji told us ‘let’s trouble them, they don’t perform when put under pressure’. This showed his intensity.”
Raina also reminisced about how Tendulkar told the entire team to “be seated and watch the match” when some of the players decided to eat snacks and drink tea after India lost two quick wickets in the 2011 World Cup final against Sri Lanka.
“Sachin was keen to win the World Cup,” Raina said. “When we were playing the final, we did not get a good start and players started roaming around for tea and snacks. At that time, paaji told everyone to be seated and watch the match. That shows his involvement.
“When we won the World Cup, the way his family, fans and the whole of Mumbai rejoiced, it was a touching moment for every player. Paaji became so emotional after winning it. It showed how much desperate he was to win the Cup.”
Former India pace bowler Javagal Srinath also paid tribute to the ‘Little Master’, stating that he became very “tightfisted with his compliments”.
“One thing which I liked about Sachin, he was so tightfisted with his compliments,” Srinath said. “He would never compliment you so easily. It’s quite tough to get a compliment from him. If at all you want to know what he has said about you, it could be from others.
“They would come to you and say ‘look Sachin was telling us you batted well or you bowled well’. That’s the compliment which you look up to.
“That was a good part about his captaincy also. It really raised the level in many of us. Bottom line is you got to impress your captain, you got to get that confidence from your captain. He was tough in those matters. That’s something which I really admired.”