He cheered every wicket when the Chennai Super Kings were batting. When Mumbai Indians’ win was a ball away, he was the first one to jump off his seat in the dugout and jump onto the field to celebrate with his victorious team-mates. (Also Read: CSK vs MI - Final Report & Stats: IPL 2013)
Even while talking to IPLT20.com after the match, he kept looking at the trophy. Finally, pointing towards it, he said, “I can’t wait to get my hands on that trophy”! (Also See: IPL 2013 Winner Mumbai Indians Celebrations - Pics)
After spending 23 years playing cricket at the highest level, accumulating almost every individual batting record in the sport, being part of world’s No.1 Test team and winning the ODI World Cup, Sachin Tendulkar remains a wide-eyed cricket lover.
The enthusiasm of the 40-year-old is so genuine, it can make some of his awestruck teenage fans look jaded.
Excerpts from our chat with him:
What does this moment mean to you?
I have waited for this for six years and six years is a long time. But it’s never too late. This has been an outstanding season for us; we have thoroughly enjoyed every moment with each other. It’s been really solid. The goal for this season was to win the trophy and I am glad that we have been able to do that.
You were the captain when MI last reached the IPL final in 2010. Was this like déjà vu for you?
It was good to reach the final but this year we made it till the end. Whoever is the captain, it doesn’t matter as long as we lift the trophy. That is what you play for and Sunday was that moment. It’s a different feeling to get your hands on that trophy and I can’t wait to celebrate with the team. We’ve really worked hard for it. After two and a half months of sheer hard work we have been able to win this trophy ours. It’s a wonderful feeling.
With the likes of John Wright, Anil Kumble and Ricky Ponting coming in, did it take a bit of pressure off you as far as mentoring was concerned?
Yes, it helps having such great former players working with the team and guiding them. Even earlier we had some good leaders and this year has been fantastic. As far as my pressure goes, it is always there (smiles). I’m always under pressure to go out and deliver, irrespective of whether I am a captain or just another player. You have your expectations and you want to do your best. You want to deliver at every occasion.
What do two greatest batsmen of their era talk to each other when they play for the same team?
(Laughs). Unfortunately, we didn’t spend much time together batting in the middle and I would have loved to do that. I knew Ricky a bit before the IPL, sitting in the opposition tent. Here we sat in the same tent. We have spent some quality time with each other in the evenings, having casual dinners and during the pre and post-match discussions. It’s really worked well and he is a fantastic guy.
Has he brought that Australian-ness with him in the team?
He has. We have got guys from West Indies, New Zealand and all over the world. Even from India we have guys from all parts of the country. We have been lucky to have developed a strong bonding between different cultures and that brings the best in us.