From making astounding records to mesmerising the global audience with his stupendous batting, the legendary Sachin Tendulkar has graced the Indian cricket team for 24 years. The only batsman to have ever scored a hundred international centuries, Sachin’s contribution to the sport is indubitable. But did you know, the iconic run machine once wanted to hang up his boots and leave the pitch way before his retirement? Gary Kristen opens up on Sachin’s contemplation of leaving cricket, and how the former Indian coach helped prolong the Little Master’s career.
Gary Kristen took the helm of Team India in 2008, and enjoyed a spectacular three year stint with the squad, which ended auspiciously at the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup, when India secured their second world cup trophy.
However, it was the world cup of 2007, where India’s lacklustre performance and followed by a group stage exit made Sachin to walk out of the gentleman’s game, as he had revealed in his autobiography ‘Playing It My Way’.
However, the Master Blaster still had years of marvellous cricket left in him, and it was possible after the entry of Kirsten in the Men in Blue dressing room in March 2008. Recalling his days with the Indian squad and his memories with Sachin in talkSPORT’s ‘The Cricket Collective’ podcast, Kirsten revealed how the new aura in the Indian team after his arrival helped Sachin to keep on playing.
“If I think of Sachin at that time,” the former Proteas batsman said in the podcast, “Where he was when I arrived in India… he wanted to give up the game. According to him he was batting out of position, he wasn’t enjoying his cricket at all.”
However, the Master Blaster decided to keep on playing for six years more until his retirement in 2013, during which he achieved his dream of lifting the prestigious World Cup trophy.
Kirsten continued, “Three years later, he scores 18 international hundreds in three years, goes back to batting where he wants to bat, and we win the World Cup.”
“For me, all I did was facilitate an environment for him to thrive. I didn’t tell him anything. He knew the game, but what he did need was an environment – not only him, all of them – an environment set up where they could be the best version of themselves,” the 52 year old added.