He spent 24 glorious years between the 22 yards of the stumps on a cricket pitch. Now retired, 41-year-old cricket legend and sporting icon Sachin Tendulkar has engagements of a different sort on his calendar.
The former India team captain was at the Singapore Cricket Club on Tuesday 3 June at the invitation of Royal Bank of Scotland, to conduct a coaching session with young cricketers aged between eight and 17.
Thirty players got the chance to have one-on-one time with the man who has been dubbed the ‘God of cricket’.
Tendulkar spent over an hour with his students for the day, who were coached on batting techniques on Padang’s cricket pitch. He also shared insights on bowling and fielding techniques with them.
Tendulkar helps to adjust the batting stance of a young cricketer at his master class at the Singapore Cricket Club (Photo: Fulford PR)
It was second-time lucky for 17-year-old Simar Miglani from United World College South East Asia, who was one of the few who got in the nets with the cricket legend. This was his second time at the master class, having attended it before in 2009.
“(Tendulkar) looked at my stance and the way that I hold the bat, the grip, which is the same thing he corrected in 2009 as well, so obviously I haven’t really learnt from that,” he quipped. “So that’s something I have to look at when I train next.”
Archita Gattani, 15, and her little brother Dhruv, four, were part of the master class with Sachin Tendulkar (Photo: Anjali Raguraman)
Tendulkar also gave Miglani, a leg-spin bowler, some sound advice on his pre-bowling ritual. “I asked him how he handles anxiety before a game and he basically told me to detach from the negative things, and keep thinking of the positive, which is something I’ll remember for a long time,” the teen said.
Among the young ones was a lone female cricketer, Archita Gattani, who said that “the girls can do it too”.
The 15-year-old who plays on the girls’ cricket team of NPS International School, has been watching cricket since she was a child and is a big fan of the Mumbai Indians, the Indian Premier League (IPL) team with which Tendulkar used to play.
Her grip and stance were personally corrected by Tendulkar as well. “He taught me how it was meant to be and I’ve learnt a lot. It was an honour to meet him and I hope to meet him again,” she said.
STILL ON THE FIELD
While he might have retired from cricket more than six months ago, Tendulkar is due to captain the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) XI against the Rest of the World XI, helmed by Australian great Shane Warne, at an all-star match at Lord's in London on 5 July.
To celebrate the iconic cricket ground's 200th anniversary, the match will see Tendulkar joining fellow Indian Rahul Dravid and Australian Brett Lee, while Warne has Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralitharan, Pakistani Shahid Afridi and Englishman Kevin Pietersen on his side.
He said playing against Warne has “been a fantastic challenge which I’ve always looked forward to”.
“We are good friends. We will compete hard on the field but we’re good friends off the field. We share a good laugh together every now and then,” Tendulkar said with a fond chuckle.
It was recently announced that Tendulkar will also be playing alongside West Indies legend and all-time batting great Brian Lara at the exhibition match.
Having last played together at the Skydome in Toronto in 1994, Tendulkar recalled that it was a “wonderful partnership”.
“So I’m hoping for another one this time,” he said.
“I loved watching Brian when he was scoring runs against other nations, not India. And I would always tell him, 'I admire whatever you’ve done. It’s a joy to watch you, but not against India',” he told reporters.
Since hanging up his bat, Tendulkar has mostly been taking things slow. “I’ve just been able to do normal things without thinking about having to practise, and my gym sessions and all those kinds of things,” he said.
Other than his advisory role on his former IPL team Mumbai Indians, he seems to be settling into retirement nicely. He added: “The last two-and-a-half months, it has been IPL, so I have to say time flies quickly.”