‘You just come in and swing your bat,’ said Sachin Tendulkar, making short work of his approach to Twenty20 cricket.
The batting legend was speaking at a platinum jubilee bonanza organized on Saturday night by the Karnataka State Cricket Association, during which he shared the stage with three other greats – GR Vishwanath, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly – in a moderated and agonizingly short session that covered but a minor arc of their combined experience.
“The basics are important for Tests, even for ODIs…but in Twenty20, it doesn’t matter. This is the only format in which in three or four deliveries you can become a hero," Tendulkar added.
Ganguly was easier on the often-maligned pajama variety.
‘You see more shots played these days, more results in Tests. Twenty20 has brought innovations into the game,’ said the former India captain.
Speaking of innovations, Tendulkar revealed how marveled he had been at seeing a laptop in the Indian dressing room in 2003.
“We were wondering how this would help us to play, but over a period of time we figured out its importance. It helped us plan our innings,” he said.
The laptop, among other electronic paraphernalia, is now ubiquitous in the dressing room and Tendulkar went on to disclose another change that had come about recently.
“I remember on my first tour to Pakistan in 1989, I attended my first practice session…some of the senior players had fantastic kits, but we youngster had less fancy clothes. Those days all this was not very well organized like it is now,” he twinkled, dressed to the nines in a dark suit and shimmering tie.
The great batsman even admitted to the role of Twenty20 in helping a player to broaden his understanding of the sport.
“Cricket is (probably) the only sport that has three different formats. Along with being good for spectators, this is also good for us to understand the game. I’ve been passionate about cricket ever since I held a bat for the first time at the age of five.”
The ever-youthful Dravid, a meticulous Test bat who discovered new facets in his game in the IPL, emphasized the importance of adapting to situations.
“You have to learn to play a few shots. You just can't block the way I did in Test cricket," he said.
"Good players learn to adapt and if we look at Chris Gayle, Michael Hussey or an AB de Villiers in the last IPL, these guys who sort of dominated are all really good Test players. So, we need to have our basics right."
As Ganguly beside him nodded vigorously in agreement, Dravid said that his second innings, as broadcaster, was infinitely easier on the body and mind than his first innings, as player.
“It’s easy to say he shouldn’t have chased that one outside off-stump; easier to forget I was doing exactly the same six months back,” he laughed.
The question whether Tendulkar (and his universally recognized falsetto) would like to join his former colleagues in the commentary box, when the time comes, was once again gracefully avoided.