Calcutta, (The Telegraph): Sachin Tendulkar’s explosive batting in the 1998 Coca-Cola Cup, in Sharjah, gave Shane Warne nightmares. It also made Virat Kohli, then a nine-year old, dream big.
In five matches, Sachin totalled 435 runs, at an average of 87.00, a performance widely regarded as one of the most impact-making in any limited overs tournament. India, of course, won the Coca-Cola Cup, with Sachin being the Player of the Final and the Player of the Tournament.
It’s no secret that Sachin is Virat’s hero, but the current India vice-captain talked about The Master, at some length, only for the first time in a one-on-one with The Telegraph.
Interview: Sachin Tendulkar
Virat is himself firmly on the way to being the next big thing in Indian cricket and has been having a tremendous run after his maiden Test hundred, in Adelaide, two months ago. Thankfully, Virat’s feet are on the ground and he’s aware that nothing matters more than delivering over the 22 yards.
The following are the Sachin-specific excerpts:
You’ve wowed the cricketing world with stellar knocks in Hobart (133 not out, against Sri Lanka) and in Dhaka (183, versus Pakistan). Which is your favourite innings in ODIs?
Two, actually... Both from Sachin’s bat in Sharjah... He scored 143 in a league match and 134 in the final, both times against Australia... It was unbelievable, really... The knocks were mind-blowing and had such a massive impact on me. I began to dream.
Began dreaming about playing for India and began dreaming about winning matches for India... Imagined I’d one day do a Sachin Tendulkar... I was a kid then... Just thinking about what he must have gone through in Sharjah, during and after those innings, used to give me such a thrill... I felt a strange connect... It’s difficult to adequately express those feelings... Sachin would single-handedly dismantle the opposition, blow the opposition away.
When did you first meet Sachin?
In early 2007, during an U-19 preparatory camp at the Wankhede (in Mumbai), before a tour of New Zealand under Piyush Chawla. Our coach Lalchand Rajput invited Sachin to speak to us, about the conditions in New Zealand and so on... We hardly heard what he said, for we’d only been looking at him... Totally overawed and overwhelmed by his presence... We were happy to be with our idol at such close quarters and it didn’t matter that we couldn’t concentrate on what he was saying... We got ourselves photographed with Sachin before he went for his nets session.
Sachin and you featured in an excellent partnership versus Pakistan, in Dhaka... What did he tell you during the course of that 133-run stand for the second wicket?
To calm myself... The way Sachin was batting, I could take my time, could actually calm myself... Once, I told him that I was trying to hit fours and he again advised that I respect the bowler if he’s bowling well and wait for the loose balls... Having Sachin at the other end was like being presented with gold. Indeed, his presence helped me in a big way.
Finally, Sachin in one word...
Sachin hand in dreaming big
Indian vice-captain Virat Kohli is aware that nothing matters more than delivering over the 22 yards.By Lokendra Pratap Sahi | Yahoo! Cricket – Sun 25 Mar, 2012 12:28 PM IST
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