Multan: Try telling Sachin Tendulkar that he is superstitious. “Not really,” he will say. “I put on my left pad first, but that is more out of habit.”
What he did after getting dismissed for 95 at the Gaddafi on Monday, however, should throw that ‘claim’ out of the window. “Mohammed Kaif was out almost immediately after me. I went for the ice bath and shower a little later' Once I was in the shower, I could hear my teammates screaming, ‘great shot’ and ‘well played’.
“I realised (Mahendra Singh) Dhoni was going great guns' I decided not to come out of the shower thinking the momentum might just get lost. I asked Harbhajan (Singh) to keep me updated on the score from outside.
“I must have had the longest shower of my life' It almost stretched to 40 minutes. I came out only when I knew that we were some seven/eight runs short of the target,” Sachin remarked on Tuesday morning.
How did he assess his innings after India’s five-wicket victory' Is it the best on this tour' “I wouldn’t like to rank it, but it certainly was very important since it happened under difficult conditions. The ball was doing a bit and it wasn’t very easy to bat in the first 15 overs. There was a lot of carry and bounce on the wicket. Afterwards, as the seam went soft, it became easier,” Sachin told The Telegraph.
“I was batting well in the second innings of the Karachi Test, too. Unfortunately, I fell to a ball that suddenly kept low,” he added.
The flight from Lahore was delayed by over a couple of hours and the visibly relaxed Little Master couldn’t stop recounting memories old and new.
His school days and the years under ‘Sir’ Ramakant Achrekar. “He was strict with everybody' No one was ever spared' Even I got a spanking with a stump on a couple of occasions.” His friendship with Vinod Kambli, the experiences of playing at various stadiums around the world, his love for baseball and squash, et al.
A known Muhammad Ali admirer, he also revealed his liking for the unputdownable Rocky Marshal.
“I have an autographed copy of Ali’s GOAT (Greatest of All Time). The book weighs 35 kg. A friend from London gifted it to me. It’s terrific' You have to read it to know the mental aspects of a champion,” he quipped.
If the Test series had put Sachin under close scrutiny, he has bounced back with a vengeance. With scores of 100, 42 and 95 in the ODI series so far, he surely is on fire.