When actor Salman Khan asked him “Do you see your record will ever be emulated” The great man stood up, looked behind and said “I can see those youngsters. Virat and Rohit are the ones. As long as an Indian breaks it, I don’t mind.” To his surprise Salman wittily dismissed the answer and said “Just say no one can do it” and everyone broke into laughter. Well, this is an anecdote from the star-studded felicitation function hosted by the ace industrialist Mukesh Ambani at his swanky residence Antilia for Sachin’s incredible feat of 100 International centuries.
To what Sachin said many people will say it was just great man’s humility to inspire next generation of Indian cricket but for few who knows Sachin very closely were taken aback because it wasn’t an impromptu reply from him and the way he stood up and looked behind, one actually felt that he believed in what he said.
Well, that certainly raised few eyebrows and suddenly the focus shifted to both the youngsters. Let’s just quickly sort out what are we talking here and keep Sachin’s numbers out of this because they are just mere reflection of the significance this ace sportsman accedes for his love to this great game. Sachin’s coveted 100th international ton didn’t come in one day, it came during 23rd year of his international cricketing career. It took over two decades of sheer passion, incredible dedication, commitment and unimaginable love for the game to achieve such a feat. Several frustrating injuries, umpteenth failures, backbreaking stress, shouldering expectations from millions of his fans, incessant media attention and relentless grinding in the middle. So taking the above into consideration we should readily accept that the “Making of Sachin Tendulkar” is a phenomenon and not something which happened in one day and by chance.
Coming back to what Sachin said about Rohit and Virat, who are already considered as future of Indian cricket, will also have to go through the same method, some process which some of the greats in the game have gone through. It is often said cricket is a cruel game and it will keep testing your patience and temperament. Virat has definitely shown great character and temperament with his recent staggering knocks in Australia and Asia cup but still has long way to go.
Rohit, on the other hand, is believed to be immensely talented but has squandered many opportunities. Mere talent won’t help you to sail smoothly because as it is said hard work beats talent if talent doesn’t work hard. Rohit needs to take note of this and start working on his temperament too.
Where Sachin is today is because of his incredible consistency as more often than not he has converted his good starts and this is something young generation should emulate from him. Merely chasing numbers will not take you anywhere. If you have a good technique, skills, right attitude towards the game and great work ethic you are headed for greatness and it could be in any field or any game for that matter.
Another iconic cricketer that comes to my mind is dashing Yuvraj Singh, who recently won the battle against cancer. Again unquestionably he is an immensely talented ODI all rounder but has always struggled at Test arena. He too has squandered away numerous opportunities and didn’t work on his temperament to play at the highest format. Personally for me, there is absolutely no better sight in the game than watching Yuvi in full flow. Yet another individual who could have learnt the basics of playing at the test levels by watching the trio (Sachin, Rahul & VVS) in the dressing room.
Today, every young player will readily accept the fact that he started cricket watching Sachin Tendulkar and he is an idol for them. Some of them even try to emulate his technique, his stance, his posture while playing the strokes which is not always right thing to do because one can lose his original style and might not be very successful in completely adopting Sachin’s style. Till date if someone could come an inch closer to the master is the Nawab of Nazafgarh, Virender Sehwag. But he too only emulated Sachin’s stance, never compromised with his original style and that is probably the one reason why he is regarded as the most destructive batsman today in the game along with the Jamaican Christopher Henry Gayle. Hence it is imperative for any youngster to understand that mere emulation will not take him ahead in cricket but developing your own style, skills along with your natural talent surely will. Veeru could partially do it because he is an extraordinary talent and his hand-eye coordination is beyond our understanding.
The cardinal point here is if you want to be someone great follow their work ethics, processes and methods but do not mere chase their achievements or numbers and more often than not you will sail through and achieve what you desire. Likewise if any youngster wanting to be Sachin Tendulkar must religiously emulate his work ethics, his methods of preparations, his demeanor in the field and off the field, stay grounded and humble, stay scholar of the game but not try to chase his numbers. Because what he has achieved in this game is through his sheer brilliance and moment you feel you are closing on him he will astonish you with another incredible feat. Do ask from some of the greats of the game they will tell you their experience. “Hence one must religiously follow the phenomenon of being Sachin Tendulkar but not Sachin Tendulkar.”