A day before the launch of his autobiography, Playing It My Way, Sachin Tendulkar interacted with a select gathering of Indian cricket journalists in Mumbai. Harish Kotian was one of them.
Sachin Tendulkar's autobiography, Playing It My Way, may have generated controversy over an incident involving former India coach Greg Chappell, but the batting legend insists that his only main aim was to bring out the truth.
"All I have said is the truth," he declared in Mumbai on Tuesday, during an interaction with a select gathering of senior Indian cricket journalists.
Tendulkar has made a shocking claim in his autobiography that Chappell asked him to take over the captaincy of the Indian cricket team from Rahul Dravid before the 2007 World Cup. Though the Australian was quick to dismiss it, cricket’s highest run-getter in both Tests and ODIs affirmed that the book only contains what he is absolutely sure of and has evidence to back it up.
"If you see in my book, in whatever [issues] which people believe I should stand for, the only things which I am 100 percent sure of I stood for, that is in my book. If you have read some of the articles, I have expressed myself wholeheartedly. But the things which were not first hand information, it is unwise to do that; it is a loose statement and I didn't want to fire loose statements.
"I think whatever things I am 100 percent sure of I revealed it all, because I back up those things. But the things I am not aware of fully… it would be unwise to comment on those. I should have some evidence, I should know something in detail to talk about it, because then it makes sense and it will be appreciated by people. But if I just start talking then it will not have any value," he said.
'Most difficult part to reveal was the relationship between Anjali and me'
Tendulkar revealed that the toughest part to write about was the relationship with his wife, Anjali, something he has never openly spoken about.
"I think to recall everything took me sometime to gather my thoughts. I think the most difficult part to reveal was the relationship between Anjali and me. I have always kept that close to my heart and very few guys know about it, including my family and her family; they didn't know. In a few months they got to know. So that was something that was close to my heart," he said.
His father, Ramesh, was a well-known Marathi writer, and his elder brothers, Nitin and Ajit, have also written books in Marathi. So it was but natural that he would also come up with his own story.
"I come from a literary family background. My father wrote, my brothers wrote, my eldest brother wrote and then Ajit also wrote. I thought this is a good opportunity, and for whatever I have been through in my life I wouldn't settle for anything else. I thoroughly enjoyed whatever has come in my life and I thank God for it. I just wanted to share that with everyone.
"It is impossible to share each and everything that has happened in my life, but whatever has happened, as long as there has been an honest and sincere effort in sharing my thoughts, that is what matters. So I just wanted to play it my way," said Tendulkar.
'Staying quiet was difficult because there were times I felt like talking'
The 41-year-old enjoyed a glorious 24-year career in international cricket during which he broke nearly all batting records. But along the way he also faced his own set of problems which made him angry enough to speak out but was advised against doing it by his family members.
"Staying quiet was difficult because there were times I felt like talking. I felt like I should still focus on my game, because one article would be followed by another article… and I don't want to get into that tangle. It was always wiser I felt that I followed it up with bigger scores rather than better articles.
"And before this I had an important job on hand to play well for India and focus on what I am supposed to do. I felt that by engaging myself into other things which are not going to contribute to me playing better cricket should not take up any energy. All my energy should be focused on the direction that it is meant to be and that was playing cricket and getting better at that.
"It was a conscious effort not just by me but also my family members to stay focused on cricket and nothing else. I said, once my cricket is done then maybe I would speak my mind and if I disagreed with something I could opine myself," he said.
The batting icon pointed out he has tried to address everything possible about his career in the book and covered almost every important occurrence.
"Everything I have addressed. There are some funny incidents. There are some so-called controversial things also. There are also number of areas where I have expressed what was going through my mind, what was my preparation, what was the idea behind doing that, so I have sort of covered everything, including my personal life, which I thought was the difficult thing for me to write. But I have covered most of the areas," he said.