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'Tendulkar has given everyone so much happiness over the years'

October 22, 2013 09:01 IST

'Tendulkar has given everyone so much happiness over the years'

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Like many Indian players, Manoj Tiwary too was inspired to take up cricket by Sachin Tendulkar. The Bengal batsman says the batting icon "was like a father figure", helping him several times, particularly when he suffered a serious shoulder injury in 2007.

The 27-year-old vividly remembers how nervous he was during his first meeting with Tendulkar in 2007 and how the veteran batsman helped him ease his fears after he failed in his debut match, an ODI against Australia in Brisbane in 2008.

In our special series to salute Tendulkar, who will retire at the end of his 200th Test, Tiwary, 27, while acknowledging the legend's contribution in shaping his career, tells Harish Kotian he was always a class act, and that's why he "will not miss his last two Tests for anything in the world".

"It is a big loss to cricket. So many kids in India have taken up cricket after getting inspired by Paaji's batting; youngsters love to watch him bat. Anywhere you go in India, people stop doing everything just to watch him bat on television. He has given everyone so much happiness over the years.

I also grew up watching Paaji batting and decided to take up cricket seriously. His decision to quit the game is a big loss, but the way he has played so many Tests and ODIs over the years is just unbelievable. To play even a hundred Tests today is huge; so, to complete the feat of playing 200 Tests is something special. I don't think any player can even dream of reaching the landmark of 200 Test matches plus 450-plus ODIs, and so many other matches, like IPL and Champions League T20! You can say it is a super-human effort.

I met Sachin for the first time during the Ranji Trophy final between Mumbai and Bengal at the Wankhede stadium, in Mumbai, in 2007. I was excited, because Paaji was playing in the opposition and it was a dream to play in front of him. Luckily, I did well in that match. I clicked a few pictures with him in the dressing room. In that photograph you can see how nervous I was standing next to him. That was my first interaction with him and I still remember it so clearly.


Image: Manoj Tiwary (left) with Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Parth Sanyal/Reuters

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'Tendulkar has given everyone so much happiness over the years'

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There are three personal experiences that prove what a great human being Tendulkar is.

The first was when I got injured in Bangladesh, in 2007, and had to come back mid-way through the tour. Paaji was in the team for the Tests, which was played after the ODIs. He was on his way to Dhaka when he called me from Kolkata airport through a local manager. He straightaway asked the details of my injury. I told him that I was told to visit Dr. Anant Joshi in Mumbai for surgery. He said don't go there, but see Dr. Andrew Wallace, who is a shoulder specialist, in London. I said I have no idea how to go there or whom to contact for the same. But he told me to wait and he would arrange everything. And, you won't believe, he organised everything, including fixing an appointment with Dr Wallace and also asking officials in the BCCI to send me there at the earliest so that a specialist takes care of my injury.

That particular incident will always be special to me, because he was so caring when I was just a new player in the team and had only met him a few times. It also shows what a big-hearted person he is. Thanks to him, my shoulder is fine. I am always indebted to him for his timely help.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Hamish Blair/Getty Images

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The second incident was in Brisbane in 2008, when I made my debut. I got out early in that match. I was nearly in tears because I failed on my debut. I was feeling low in the dressing room and sat in one corner. Paaji noticed and came up to me. He told me not to worry and think too much about the dismissal. He said I should make sure that whenever I get the next opportunity I should not let it go waste. He gave his own example about getting his first hundred in ODIs after 79 matches, saying I should not get disheartened as things will be alright soon. He said work hard in the nets and when you get another opportunity make sure you grab it with both hands. He could see I was tense and made me feel confident and relaxed. He also helped me in the nets a few times during that tour.

The third incident I want to share is when Paaji got his 100th hundred. I was lucky to be part of that team in Bangladesh. It is one memory I will cherish forever. There was so much pressure on him from everywhere to get that 100th century, but he was so calm and composed despite all the hype. Finally, when he got it we were all so happy in the dressing room and celebrated by cutting a cake after the game. I was standing next to Paaji and felt so happy when he offered me the first piece of cake.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Tom Shaw/Getty Images

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There are many instances of him helping and motivating me, but I will never forget these three. I learnt a lot by just talking to him, watching him bat or the way he prepares for a match.

He suffered a few injuries during the latter part of his career, but each time he came back stronger. That was also an inspiration for me.

I will definitely watch his last two Tests, in Kolkata and Mumbai. I will not miss them for anything in the world!


Image: Sachin Tendulkar


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