Over 21 years Sachin Tendulkar has given away his cricket kit — shirts, caps, pads, trousers, bat, gloves etc — for charity. But there are certain things he has decided to keep for life after winning his first World Cup; most of it is the cricket kit he carried for the final to the Wankhede Stadium on April 2.
“I will keep the shirts that I had worn during the final. I will definitely retain them. I am also going to keep the champagne bottle we opened immediately after we held the World Cup.
“The bottle I opened has been signed by the entire team. I am definitely going to retain that bottle. Then the bat and other things; they are special,'' Tendulkar told The Hindu.
What was he contemplating on his way back to the dressing room dismissed by Lasith Malinga? “Nothing. I was not contemplating anything. We had decided that we would try our best and not worry about the outcome; the result would come at the end of the game.
“So why worry about it at the beginning of the innings. Our intention was to focus on the process. We wanted to take small steps at a time.”
Play your game
What did he tell Virat Kohli? “While crossing Virat (Kohli) I just told him to play for 50 overs and we will win and also that he need not try anything extra.”
Comparing the 2003 final at Johannesburg and this one, he said, “The target then was 359 and this time 275. Here we knew that if we played for 50 overs we were going to win. I felt that the kind of batting order we had would take us through.”
Responding to the four changes made by Sri Lanka he said: “Honestly, I am not aware of what made them to make changes and I would not like to comment on their team selection. For us we were playing Sri Lanka.
“The changes made by Sri Lanka were not on our minds, we were just keen on doing our job. Of course there was some discussion on what could be their playing XI. We were not thinking whether they had picked the right combination.”
Did he dream of playing and winning the World Cup final at the Wankhede Stadium?
“That was my dream after we lost in 2007. I took up that challenge saying that the next World Cup final is in Mumbai and this is where I would want the trophy. So it was a challenge and I started working towards that.”
Of the six captains he has played under in a career spanning 21 years Tendulkar rated Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the best for his sharp mind and calm demeanour.
“He (Dhoni) is the best captain I have played under. He is very sharp and always alert. He reads the situation well and is open to sharing ideas. He always has discussions with bowlers, batsmen and senior players separately,” said Tendulkar.
“Another good thing is he is always calm and never shows his frustration. These are some of the qualities that have made him such a good captain. He is a fantastic captain,” he added.
Wanted Gary to stay...
Asked about outgoing India coach Gary Kirsten, Tendulkar said he wanted the South African to continue. “Personally I want Gary to continue, but I understand he has got commitments and he must have thought about this before the tournament. I respect his decision,” he said.
“It has been a pleasure to work with him, he worked as hard as the players, he is like a bowling machine, bowling 200-300 balls to the batsmen. It has always been a fabulous experience to rub shoulders with him, we will miss him,” he added.
Tendulkar feels the team peaked at the right time in the knockout stage after playing some close matches in the league stages of the tournament.
“In the knockout stage we peaked at the right time, it was most important, we knew either the batting was clicking or bowling or fielding but everything was not clicking together. But in the last three games, everybody contributed, right from seniors to juniors in the team. Results no one can guarantee, but efforts can be,” he said.
Asked about the lap on the shoulders of his teammates after winning the World Cup, Tendulkar said it was a pleasant surprise and thanked his colleagues for the gesture. “I became extremely emotional and those were tears of joy.
“It has never happened in my life. It was truly an amazing experience to do the lap. I was not expecting that and I was taken by surprise.
Thank you, teammates
“I want to thank all my teammates for that gesture. What a way to end the World Cup. It was an overwhelming experience,” he said.
To a question as to how the team prepared for the World Cup, Tendulkar said the real preparation started after the South Africa series and the Bangalore camp helped the team to gel well.
“Preparation started some time ago but the real preparation was after the South Africa series when we spent 50-55 days together in the Bangalore camp, that really helped us,” he said.