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Shirin Sadikot in Delhi

All my dreams have come true: Tendulkar

Test No.1, World Cup, IPL and CLT20 titles – the legend has lived it all

"Enjoy the game and chase your dreams because dreams do come true.” These words, spoken on March 16, 2012, have been etched in the memories of Indian cricket fans. They were uttered by Sachin Tendulkar after he scored his 100th international century.

The man dreamed of playing cricket for India as a toddler. When he fulfilled it, as a 15-year-old, he got greedy and kept on adding dream after dream. Today, 25 years later, that man can finally say that he has lived all his cricketing dreams.

For a legend like him, who, at 40, is nearing the twilight of his playing career, every moment spent in the field and the dressing room, is a still frame of photograph that he takes in his mind to prepare for the life after.

For Tendulkar, Mumbai Indians’ 2013 IPL victory was one such cherry on the decorated cake. Four months later he has another one – the Champions League Twenty20 2013 title. The celebrations in the MI change room, after they defeated the Rajasthan Royals by 33 runs to take the trophy, were the very depiction of Tendulkar’s longevity and his ability to mould himself according to the various dressing rooms he’s been a part of. It won’t be wrong to say that the 40-year-old Tendulkar was the most enthusiastic kid in that room.

After the brouhaha subdued a bit, the master batsman took time out to talk to clt20.com. He spoke about his time with the Mumbai-based franchise, his mountain of 50,000 runs in all recognised cricket and his old ally, Rahul Dravid, who hung his boots from cricket after the CLT20 2013 Final.

Here’s what the legend had to say:

Double delight for you this year

Wonderful! To win the IPL and then the CLT20 in the same year is a special thing. When the IPL season started, we wanted to win it so bad. The team has done beautifully since then and the end result has been fantastic.

What’s the new dream now?

The dream was to be part of the No.1 Test team in the world, then win the World Cup, the IPL and the CLT20. All those dreams have been accomplished now.

50,000 runs! What does that figure mean to you?

I didn’t actually know about that landmark. I only realised it when the big screen flashed that I was two runs away from scoring 50,000 runs. That came as a surprise to me. It’s a wonderful feeling. I have enjoyed various challenges along the way. There have been ups and downs and it’s been a wonderful journey of which I have no complaints whatsoever.

Justin Langer told me a few days back that he watched you practice in the nets for two hours and said that he could watch you the whole day. Do you, sometimes, have to make an effort to get up for cricket?

First of all, it was very kind of Justin to say that and many thanks to him. As long as I enjoy going out there to bat in a match, it makes sense to practice hard for it. There are days when I feel I’m not up for it and on those days I stay away from the nets; I don’t force myself. I have played for a number of years and I am 40 now. I know I don’t have much time is left on my hand and so I want to enjoy every moment of whatever time I have left in cricket.

Langer also spoke about this one time when he was fielding at short-leg to you and how he felt there was a bubble, an aura, surrounding you, as if you were meditating. Is batting meditation to you?

I don’t know. It must have been one of those days when I’d have been in that zone. At that time you don’t realize who is standing next to you and you don’t notice the guy fielding at short-leg, the wicketkeeper or the slip fielders. You’re in that mind frame where all you want to do is watch the ball as closely as possible and respond.

A word on your old mate, Rahul Dravid, who bid adieu to cricket today

The least I can say about Rahul is that he is a true champion. He has been a terrific and world-class player – one of the best I have played with and against. The first time I met him was when I captained him in the Wills Trophy. Since then it has been a privilege for not only me but the entire world to watch Rahul perform so brilliantly on a consistent basis. I just want to congratulate Rahul for a wonderful career that he’s had and I wish his family all the very best. I am sure there are many more wonderful things that will happen in his life.

Now that you won’t be playing for MI, will we see you sitting in the MI dugout in some other role?

As of now, I don’t know. We’ve just won this tournament and I want to enjoy this moment. There are still good six months and I am sure something will come along till then. I am actually looking forward to the next season because I have been part of MI for six years now and it has been an experience I have really enjoyed.

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