How Sachin Tendulkar played the book cricket

Boria Majumdar
Boria MajumdarFeb 20, 2016 | 22:04

How Sachin Tendulkar played the book cricket

Two very different conversations with two close friends, both of whom are much revered national icons. 

The first with Sachin Tendulkar a few days after India had won the World Cup in April 2011. We were taking stock of a career unrivalled and Sachin was recounting some of his highest points. 

Inevitably, the 1992 Australia tour featured in it. This is what he had to say, “Dada (Sourav) and I were roommates in Sydney and a little past midnight on the eve of the SCG Test I was doing a bit of shadow practice, trying to plan how to play the Australian bowlers the next day. Dada got up and was taken aback to see me up that late at night. He asked me to go to sleep for I had to bat the next day.”


And here’s Sourav on the same incident. “I wasn’t playing the match and was startled to see Sachin shadow batting at 1am in the morning. It was crazy. I couldn’t sleep either and remember telling him that he should go to bed for he needed all the energy in the middle the next day against an Australian bowling attack which included Craig McDermott, Bruce Reid and Mike Whitney.”

The story doesn’t end here. With little sleep the night before, Sachin was understandably tired the next day. And to catch up on some sleep while India was batting, he did something that only he can. “I said to Dada that I was taking a nap on the dining table in the SCG dressing room and he should wake me up in some time. I managed a good 45-minute nap. It wasn’t the only time I did so in my career.”

Sourav said: “He actually slept on the dining table for some time and when the next wicket fell I woke him up. When it was his turn to bat, he scored a majestic 148, his first hundred against Australia in Australia. Clearly, we were seeing a genius in our midst.”


There is a book here isn’t it? How can these stories not be written up for millions for fans to savour? How can Sachin, a treasure trove of such stories, not open up to tell us his story in his own words?

Sachin Tendulkar talks about Playing It My Way

Playing it My Way was waiting to be written. 

After many hours of trying to emphasise the seriousness of the project, Sachin, the obsessive perfectionist, was ready. He agreed that the book would be his legacy a 100 years down the line and also realised that we couldn’t wait to start after he had called it a day. 

Doing so would mean we would lose valuable time and it wasn’t the best idea. Documenting a two-and-a-half decade long cricketing life was a mammoth project and to do it well we needed substantial time. 

An immediate start was a necessity.

Many a mock session was conducted in his 19A Perry Cross Road Bungalow in West Bandra discussing the structure and work flow before we were both convinced that we were ready to get off the blocks. 

Anjali and Ajit joined in some of these sessions and that helped a great deal. Each of them helped Sachin on the way and in no time confidentiality agreements were signed and it was decided that we’d select themes and record a particular incident or episode in one particular session. 


I had to tell him a day or two in advance what the theme was for the next session to get him up to speed with his thoughts. His ability to remember things in real detail helped and it was mutually agreed that we’d not do anything in a hurry. 

It had to be a Test match innings and not a T-20 slog. 

The first session lasted a little more than three hours. As with many more in the future, it started with Sachin ordering some delicious pasta for us both and going over the structure one more time. 

On day one, we talked about the 2011 World Cup, the highest point in his career and something that was still very fresh in his mind. It was important for Sachin to get used to the routine. He hadn’t batted on a literary pitch before and it was natural he’d take some time to warm up. 

The World Cup was an easy start and something he loves to talk about. As it happened, in the very first session itself I learnt things which I had no knowledge off despite having covered the World Cup to the best of my ability. Here’s a sample:

On returning to the hotel at the end of the world cup final, Sachin and Anjali had put flowers in their ear and danced to loud Bollywood music in the confines of their room at the Taj Mahal Palace Hotel in Mumbai, something they had never done in their lives. All inhibitions had been shed for it was a night like no other. 

Thereafter, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and Harbhajan Singh had sung Tujme Rab Dikta Hain Yaara Main Kya Karoon, a very popular number at the time, much to the embarrassment of the master. 

The book had started with a beautiful cover drive for four. 

Last updated: March 25, 2016 | 20:37
Please log in
I agree with DailyO's privacy policy