Mumbai: The entire Indian team said as a man that it had won that biggest prize of all – the World Cup – for Sachin Tendulkar. Well, Sachin Tendulkar would have his teammates know that they are “the best team I've played with in my entire career.”
Sachin also told NDTV that MS Dhoni was the best captain he had played for. Possibly the biggest words of praise yet to the much-feted Indian captain.
At a press conference earlier, Sachin said about the man now universally known as Captain Cool, “He (Dhoni) stayed calm, very alert. Situational awareness has been his biggest strength. He reads the situation well, is open to ideas, and above all he stays calm doesn't show frustration…To know the likes and dislikes of every individual is very important. And he’s been at it throughout the tournament.”
And for all those alarmed by wide-spread speculation that India’s top batsman is contemplating hanging up his boots, here are words of comfort from the man himself, who dismisses it as untrue. “I am enjoying cricket too much to retire from any form of the game,” Sachin said.
Sachin, who has said that winning the World Cup is his biggest cricketing moment yet, wishes he could have shared it with his father: “I miss my father…He would be proud.” But the family man is glad his children were there with him. “My kids being there for the victory lap made it even more special.”
The master blaster told NDTV that Saturday’s glorious victory was “still sinking in.” “Can't believe we're the world champions,” he said.
He had earlier talked about the pressure of expectations – his own more than any other. And said the team went into the final not thinking about lifting the Cup, but thinking “of the process. Were thinking of limiting them to the smallest total possible. In the knockout stage, we peaked at the right time…clicked together at right time. We batted, fielded and bowled well. You see effort from all players. From senior-most to junior-most. Performance no one can guarantee, but effort you can guarantee,” he said.
The victory was sweeter for Sachin as it came at Wankhede stadium, where, in 1987, Sunil Gavaskar took ball boy Sachin Tendulkar to the dressing room and introduced him to other players. “That was a big day but this was a bigger day,” Sachin reminisced at the Press conference.
And more memories. When India won the World Cup last, in 1983, Sachin was 10 years old. He remembers the semi-final knock that Sandeep Patil played against England.
He had a word for Guru Gary – Gary Kirsten who has announced that he will not be continuing as the Indian cricket team’s coach. “Personally, I would say Gary (Kirsten) should continue but he has family commitments. I respect his decision. We will miss him a lot. It’s been a pleasure to work with him. He’s probably worked harder than anyone else. He worked like a machine.”