The Telegraph
Saturday , March 15 , 2014
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Sachin backs Team India

Sachin Tendulkar, in Mumbai, on Friday

Mumbai: Sachin Tendulkar is optimistic about Team India defending their World Cup title next year. “I have no hesitation in saying we are a talented side and there are some special players in the team. I know that they have not been able to produce the kind of results or rather live up to the expectation of the people, but things can change,” he said.

“This is the time that I feel the team requires support. When you are winning, you are in a good frame of mind, but when you and you a billion people are behind you, with you, the mindset changes immediately. That is the need of the hour,” he said, at the launch of the special edition silver coin in his honour.

Sachin was a part of the Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led squad that emerged triumphant in the 2011 World Cup. He recalled how they had struggled before finishing runners-up to Australia in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.

“I remember in 2003, the New Zealand tour before we got to the finals (of World Cup) wasn’t a great one for us. We went to South Africa and there were some side matches that we lost. And then we all started thinking that we need to plan differently, play differently and it worked for us,” said Tendulkar.

According to the 40-year-old, more than scoring centuries, contributing to the team’s success was far more important.

“Scoring hundreds was something that I never thought of, I just wanted to go and bat for India and win matches. I remember one game against Sri Lanka at Cuttack and I was batting on 97. Dinesh Karthik was on strike and asked me what he should do. I told him just hit the ball and finish the game.”

Tendulkar said his intense practise sessions was for his own satisfaction. “It was about my own satisfaction and not the number of hours or minutes or the number of balls that I faced,” he explained. He admitted that he admired Viv Richards but did not try to emulate him after a failed attempt.

Asked about the innovative shots, he said: “Like any other sport, cricket is also changing. The shots (being) played today, I don't think anyone was playing those shots in 1980 or 1990 or even 2005.

Tendulkar had a fair share of being at the wrong end of dubious umpiring decisions during his career, but did not hold any grudge against the erring officials, some of who had later even apologised.

“I did vent my anger. I am a normal person and I have ways to take my frustration out. There were times when I got angry and doing that on the field was not the right way to handle things. I didn’t get carried away with anything if somebody has made a mistake,” he said.