Mischievous Legend

Irfan says Sachin was just as much a prankster as he was focused on his cricket.

Sachin Tendulkar gave Irfan Pathan the 'sushi' treatment. (AFP)

New Delhi: The discussion on Sachin Tendulkar’s qualities as a batsman made headlines right through his international career. And when he announced that he would retire at the end of the two-Test series against the West Indies, all his contemporaries and teammates took the opportunity to thank him for the wonderful entertainment that he has provided over the years.

But it isn’t possible that a man can be all about hard work and no fun. However dedicated someone may be, there has to be something he does to relax and switch off from the intensity of playing cricket at the highest level for 24 years.

All-rounder Irfan Pathan said Tendulkar was as much a prankster as he was a perfectionist when it came to cricket. The Baroda left-armer recalls how playing pranks was the legend’s way of making people around him comfortable, as most youngsters coming into the squad were in awe of the master batsman.

Irfan, who came into the Indian side at the age of 19, didn’t escape it either.

He was the victim of one of Tendulkar’s pranks during his debut series in Australia in 2003.

“Those who have seen him from close quarters would tell you that Tendulkar is very mischievous. In fact, he can play a prank on you with the straightest of faces and I faced it myself when I went to Australia in 2003,” Irfan told MAIL TODAY.

721-RUN PARTNERSHIP: Think of big partnerships in school cricket and our thoughts automatically turn to Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli’s 664 runs in the 1980s. That record was broken in 2006 when... more 
721-RUN PARTNERSHIP: Think of big partnerships in school cricket and our thoughts automatically turn to Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli’s 664 runs in the 1980s. That record was broken in 2006 when another set of thirteen-year-olds from Hyderabad added 721 runs—in just 40 overs! B Manoj Kumar (320, 127 balls, with 46 fours) and Mohamed Shaibaaz Tumbi (327, 116 balls, with 67 fours) of St. Peter's High School destroyed St. Phillip's High School in this school game in Hyderabad. As if that wasn’t enough, St. Phillips folded for 21 runs, losing by 700 runs. "The umpires were also telling us that you just declare and go because the opponents cannot outscore you. But we said we want to at least complete 300 runs and then more," Shaibaaz said. less 
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Sun 17 Nov, 2013 5:30 PM IST

“I had gone for a meal with a few seniors and obviously wasn’t too aware of how exactly sushi tasted and taking advantage of the situation, Tendulkar explained to me that it was sweet in taste."

"But the sauce was so spicy that the moment it reached my tongue, I almost had hot air blowing out of my ears and was all red. Tendulkar and the others burst into laughter and I realised that it was all a prank.”

Irfan said everything was done with an aim to make the newcomer relax in the new surroundings.

“For Tendulkar, it was as important to lighten the mood within the team as it was to focus on his game. And it was indeed amazing how he would make us crack up whenever the situation would get a bit tense. Setting the mood was his forte.”

Irfan says that another little known contribution that almost the entire team credits him with is introducing new gadgets in the team.

“Basically, he is a gadget freak. He was the first in the Indian team to have a mini CD player. Then again, he had the first iPod and iPad in the Indian team. Also, the concept of noise cancellation speakers was introduced by him. He is an encyclopedia in these matters,” Irfan signed off.

Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.



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