Pune: Sachin Tendulkar didn't duck this "bouncer" - he is headed to the Rajya Sabha and says it is an honour to be nominated.
"This is a bouncer. It's an honour when the President nominates you (to the Rajya Sabha) which also has other greats like Lata didi, Prithviraj Kapoor. When you get nominated because of your contribution in your field, it's an honour. I was excited to be nominated," Sachin Tendulkar said today, hastening to add that he is no politician. "I am not a politician, I am a sportsman. Now I have many responsibilities," he said. (Also Read: Why this Kolaveri Di if Sachin becomes an MP?)
Sachin was nominated to the House of Elders last week. There has been intense debate ever since, and Sachin assured his worried fans that, "Cricket is my life...I will not leave cricket...I will contribute in whatever way I can and I will need your help."
Sachin was being felicitated in Pune on Maharashtra Day by one of his sponsors for having scored 100 international hundreds. His nomination to the Rajya Sabha was quite the buzz, but his new look was even more so. Sachin winsomely said he thought the new look might make him look younger. He celebrated his 39th birthday last week.
Even the world's most prolific batsman has had to face his share of criticism, not least in the year between his making his 99th international hundred and his 100th ton. Sachin said he learnt how to take the good with the bad from his family. "It was an unwritten rule in the house. You can't bring back what has happened, the formula was just move ahead in life. Nobody would get carried away with good performances," he said.
He offered an example. The 2003 World Cup match against Pakistan, he said, was the biggest match of his life. "Pakistan was the best attack that time. Our goal was not to let a wicket fall. I told Viru (Sehwag) I will face Wasim (Akram) more. Our approach was very positive. I was having cramps and I never take a runner. It was for the first time that I had asked for a runner, but lost my wicket at 98." India won the match.
So when under pressure, Sachin's mantra is, "I don't think about the past or future, just the present. I look at the problems as opportunities and approach them positively." And some keep-calm tips from the man who has carried the aspirations of an entire cricket-crazy nation on his shoulders for two decades: "I try to keep the pulse rate slow. It's important to concentrate and keep your mind blank during batting."
For the records, Sachin said his mindboggling feat of scoring a 100 hundreds was not the biggest moment of his life - winning the World Cup last year was.