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  • Dear Sachin

    Sachin was a big-time bully!

    Atul Ranade

    Sachin Tendulkar and I used to go to the same nursery. And there is only one word that describes him completely: bully! A big-time bully!

    Sachin Tendulkar (r) with Atul Ranade We were five or six years old and in the break we used to always keep fighting. He once bullied a guy who was much older than him and really hammered the fellow. At the end of the day, the guy was waiting at the school gate with all his friends, hoping to return the favour. But Sachin just disappeared. He somehow managed to escape; even I don't know where he went.

    Sachin moved to Shardashram in the fifth standard and I moved there in the eighth. But in all those years he didn't change at all. He still loves to dominate on the field. Always the bully; always on top. Whether it is Glenn McGrath bowling to him or in any field in life, he needs to, rather has to, dominate.

    In his career so far, he has done great deeds. His 30th hundred and 100th Test is just a small step in his quest to dominate. He loves the challenge, but more than the challenge he loves to win.

    I have been fortunate to know him for so long and even now, when we meet, he bullies me. Always up to some prank or the other.

    One incident I recall form the under-15 Shatkar Trophy [Shatkar was a cricket magazine published by former India Test player Sandeep Patil]. This was a match against me. He had scored around 30-40 runs. He hit Sairaj Bahutule [Mumbai and India leg-spinner] for a really high skier and everyone expected it to go for six, but I kept chasing it and took a brilliant catch; a catch that got me into the Mumbai under-15 team.

    Later he said, "Rascal, you made it look good so that you could get into the team!" And then he got back at me. He had hit a superb cover drive during that innings and he asked me, "Did you even see the ball when I hit that shot?"

    Sachin is a great judge of character and that extends on to the cricket field as well. He keeps his thoughts to himself and never discloses his goals. Even when he was going through that bad patch in England, he never disclosed what his goals were. I was sure he would come back with a vengeance. He was unlucky to not get his double hundred.

    There are times when he knows exactly what the bowler is going to bowl. When we watch matches together -- Pakistan versus South Africa or any other nation -- he goes on: 'See now Shoaib will bowl an outswinger.' It's almost like he can read their minds. I still get amazed how does he manage to do it?

    There was this one time he got a golf ball to school and we played cricket with that. We were playing on a concrete surface and the ball used to really bounce. He hit a shot which struck a guy on the forehead. It must have hurt a lot. We still laugh about it every time we remember the incident. Give him a tennis ball and suddenly we will all be playing a game of cricket. He lives for cricket and the game is his life.

    I just pray he goes on to set records that no one will even think about breaking.

    Atul Ranade, Tendulkar's childhood friend, spoke to Ashish Magotra


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