BCCI vice president Rajeev Shukla on Wednesday lauded Sachin Tendulkar for helping defuse some ugly situations in the Indian cricket team’s dressing room.
According to Shukla, the team had risen in revolt against their then coach and former New Zealand captain John Wright during India’s tour of England in 2002.
Tendulkar helped end an ugly situation in the dressing room after Wright had slapped Virender Sehwag for the manner in which he had been dismissed during the ODI match at the Oval.
Shukla revealed that it was Tendulkar who saved Wright from embarrassment as the then captain Sourav Ganguly wanted the New Zealander to apologise to Sehwag for slapping him.
“I saw Sehwag in a bad mood. When I asked him he said that John had slapped him. It became an issue and Ganguly insisted that they will not leave (dressing room) unless Wright apologises to Sehwag.
“Then I found Wright and asked him if he did it. John said that he wanted Sehwag to score a century but ‘Sehwag repeated his mistake of lifting the ball and got out, so I was angry. And he is like a disciple to me so I just pushed him out of anger’,” Shukla recalled.
As the tension built up in the dressing room, Tendulkar requested Shukla to ensure that Wright’s dignity as coach is kept intact.
“Sachin came to me and said that ‘you must ensure that John does not apologise, otherwise the coach will lose his respect’ I got back to Sehwag and explained that it was just like a father chides his son, John did it. He understood and let it go,” Shukla said.
Shukla said had it not been for Tendulkar, most of the players would have taken off their shirts and waved after the magnificent victory in the Natwest Trophy against England.
“Sourav wanted that all the players do it. Maybe he wanted to pay back Andrew Flintoff in the same coin. But Sachin came and whispered in my ears that ‘this should not be done. It’s a gentleman’s game and if Sourav wants to do it let him do’,” Shukla said.
A clamour has grown in favour of Tendulkar getting the Bharat Ratna award — India’s highest civilian honour.
Shukla hinted that the government may consider conferring the prestigious award on the iconic cricketer after his retirement.
“This demand is there for last 2-3 years. But it cannot be done when someone is playing, there maybe some controversy. Now that he is retiring, we will try that he gets it. Hopefully, the committee (that decides) and the government will consider,” he said.