Sachin Tendulkar and Michael Schumacher (HO/AFP/Getty Images)
Sachin Tendulkar is the God of cricket, millions of loyal fans follow him on Facebook and Twitter . But the Master is also mortal — and a big fan of F1 legend Michael Schumacher.
During India’s England visit in 2004, Sachin was invited to Silverstone for a race, and the F1 organisers arranged for the two to meet over dinner.
Sachin, excited by the opportunity, sought permission to leave Birmingham a little ahead of the Indian team to make it in time for the appointment.
This request was duly granted, but Sachin had issues to sort out before the meeting with the racing legend.
The question bothering Sachin was how to strike the right conversation with Schumacher, decide what to talk, and select questions to ask.
After a general discussion, as he left for the meeting, dressed appropriately in Ferrari colours (a bright red T shirt and matching jacket) the topics to be brought up during dinner were finalised: conversation was to focus on performance, preparation, handling pressure, and keeping nerves in control.
The dinner meeting was a major success and Sachin thought the entire experience was ‘unbelievable’. Schumacher told Sachin the best way to manage pressure was to ignore it, build a wall to block it so that it does not get to you.
Sachin said the race itself was so thrilling that he kept the mobile phone on so that wife Anjali (back in Mumbai) could hear the extraordinary whoosh of the engines.
The sound is such, he said, that one’s ear drums are in danger, even with earplugs on. It is louder than the noise of a MIG aircraft.
When I, a non-believer, doubted the appeal of motor racing, Sachin launched into an impressive defence.
One has to just experience it once, he said persuasively, an incredible amount of strategy goes into the race.
Sachin went on to explain the intricacies of the pit stops, tyre changes, and the distinct sounds created by different engines.
Quite obviously, for Sachin Tendulkar, F1 is the ultimate thrill, with cars zipping at speeds close to 300 kmph and drivers jostling for control, looking for opportunities to sneak ahead.
His final word: motor racing is dangerous and exciting.
That Sachin can support a sport other than cricket so strongly is perhaps a surprise.
But another way to look at it is: if motor racing can get him going to this extent, imagine the deep passion he has for cricket, his chosen Khel.
(The writer is a former Indian team manager)
Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.
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