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Rediff.com  » Cricket » The records make Sachin a millionaire, not the money: Ajit Tendulkar

The records make Sachin a millionaire, not the money: Ajit Tendulkar

Last updated on: November 12, 2013 16:51 IST

'Sachin has fulfilled the dreams of Indian fans'

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Retiring India batting great Sachin Tendulkar has always lived under pressure to fulfill the dreams of a billion Indians and his 24-year long international career is ending on a happy note, Ajit Tendulkar, elder brother of the legendary batsman, said on Tuesday.

Sachin will retire after playing his 200th Test, starting on Thursday at the Wankhede in Mumbai.

"On the afternoon of November 18, it will be a different feeling. All of us in the family, we dream about his cricket...one we have shared. That will end, but it is finishing on a happy note. Most of his dreams have come true. I believe he has fulfilled the dreams of the Indian fans," said Ajit during 'Salaam Sachin', an event organised by the India Today Group in honour of the iconic batsman.

"After November 18, Sachin won't wear his India cap. It will be a big change because he has been wearing it with pride for 24 years. Throughout his career, everyone expected him to score 100s and he was under tremendous stress and pressure, but all that has been worth it. After retirement, there won't be the bowlers to face or those work-outs. Perhaps he can eat as much butter chicken as he wants," he added.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: BCCI

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'After all these records, I can say, he is a millionaire forever'

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Ajit took a walk down memory lane and remembered Sachin’s early playing days, his millionaire status, their father's demise, his best innings in international cricket and life after retiring.

Sachin had become a millionaire at a very young age but for Ajit he was a millionaire only when he scored runs.

"For me he was a millionaire only when he got hundreds. He wasn't one if he did not score. There was a charm in travelling in an auto-rickshaw after he scored runs. But, travelling in a BMW after he didn't score wasn't all that good. At home, we spoke about his runs and not his money. After all these records, I can say, he is a millionaire forever," said Ajit.

Sachin's family has always tried to stay away from watching him live in action but Ajit said the family is looking forward to witness the Mumbai legend’s last match.

"I will certainly watch this time. This is the last time and last opportunity for me. Our mother will watch him live for the first time. Lots of friends would laugh at us as we stayed away all these years. We didn't mind. But now all of us are looking forward to go," he said.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

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'Our mother would pray and sister would keep a fast when he'd go in to bat'

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Asked why the family never watched him live all these years, Ajit said: "There were few things which scared us when he was scoring heavily. One was his tendency to throw away his wicket. Raj Singh Dungarpur called our father once and told him, 'Tell Sachin to start the car from 1st gear and not 5th'.

"My mother would pray and sister would fast. Nitin (another brother) would also do something. I would try to create positive vibes before he would go to bat. Once a batsman goes to bat, nobody is in control, but it was an attempt from us to be with him in spirit."

Sachin is the youngest of four siblings.

Talking about the time when they lost their father in 1999, Ajit said: "If our dad would have come back to life for even five minutes, he would have told Sachin to go and play the 1999 World Cup.

"Our father had suffered a heart-attack in May when the Indian team was in Sri Lanka. At night, I told our father that 'Sachin will bat tomorrow and I will not tell him that you are not fine'. Then I went back to our father and told him that Sachin got a ton and he was thrilled.”

"We all felt he should go and play for India at the World Cup".


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: Philip Brown/Reuters

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'Chennai Test against Pakistan was a test of his nerve and skill'

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Reflecting on Sachin's innings of 136 against Pakistan in Chennai, Ajit said: "I think, Sachin would have won the game for India. I am not saying it was the most important innings (of his career), but my favourite innings.

"When he came from the New Zealand tour, I spoke to him. He said he was really tired and may not play against Pakistan.

I was disheartened as he had a chance to play against Wasim and Waqar. In the first innings at Chennai, he was out for zero. The match reached an interesting stage on Day Four and he was batting on 20-odd. The wicket was tough and he went out to bat when India were six for two.

"I felt he had to help India win and perform for himself. That was a test of his nerve and skill."

Of all the accolades that Sachin has received in his career, Ajit remembers one compliment he received from a friend during the Sharjah innings.

"After his Sharjah innings, my friend called and said, 'My mother watched the match and cried as Sachin was batting so beautifully'. That is the best compliment."

It was Ajit, who had taken Sachin to coach Ramakant Achrekar when he was just 11 and had no experience of playing with hard ball.


Image: Sachin Tendulkar
Photographs: BCCI

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Ajit recalls Sachin's amusing taxi ride to the airport

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Recalling the time, Ajit said: "There were three things I noticed in Sachin as a child. His easy bat lift, the lovely swing of his bat, his judgement of the length of the ball and ball striking. So I took him to Achrekar.

"The first day he did not have the proper clothing, he was in shorts, so Achrekar asked him to wear full trousers. The first day he was made to take a few catches and I was surprised to see him do well. Once he got the kit, Achrekar sir picked the No. 4 spot for him in the line-up."

Asked if he ever had any arguments with Sachin, Ajit said: "Other than cricket, we do not talk anything else too much.

“He has faced toughest bowlers in difficult conditions. I watched him bat on the television and gave him suggestions. He took them in his stride. Not having gone to the ground and experienced, may be wrong on my part."

He also narrated an incident when Sachin had taken a taxi ride to the airport.

"I was in his BMW and there was a lot of luggage. As we drove, he said that there is something wrong in the car and we saw the tyre punctured. We parked the car, but we did not have a security guard with us," Ajit said.

"It was early morning, so there wasn't much rush. We couldn't ask for another car as he had to reach the airport. I called for an auto and a taxi, and the drivers couldn't believe what they saw. We put the luggage. Sachin was in the taxi. Once we reached the airport, everyone was surprised to see him in a taxi. It was quite funny."


Image: Ajit Tendulkar
Photographs: Hitesh Harisinghani/Rediff.com

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