Mumbai: Batting icon Sachin Tendulkar always yearned for a compliment from his beloved coach Ramakant Achrekar and it came on the day when he put an end to his 24-year-old illustrious career.
Tendulkar said he received a call from his childhood coach Saturday, congratulating him for the Bharat Ratna award. "Sir till now had never told me well played. The reason was that sir didn't want me to get complacent. Sir told me that this game is bigger than any cricketer and always respect it. I always respected it. Whenever we scored a lot of runs, we used to hope that now sir will tell us well played. But it never happened," Tendulkar told reporters here.
"That is why yesterday in my speech I said jokingly that you can say it now. After this I am not going to play any serious competitive match, so you can take the chance now and tell me well played. Because I wouldn't get complacent now. "I got his call yesterday after receiving the Bharat Ratna. Sir told me well done. Sir was very happy and hearing this, I was very happy. When such things happen and you can share it with special people and that happiness increases," he added.
The 40-year-old, who retired from cricket yesterday after India comprehensively defeated West Indies, said his brother Ajit and coach formed a strong team. "Sir and my brother Ajit were a solid team. One used to tell me on-field and one used to tell me off the field at home, my brother. Discussions are on for the last 30 years.
Like I said in my speech, day before night also we discussed on how I should have played that shot (that dismissed me). This is the beauty of our relationship. I can't express it in words on what kind of relationship we share," he said. The batting legend said his brother became emotional yesterday but was also relieved.
"This was a dream that we lived together. I was representing the nation and along with that even Ajitda was also representing. It is difficult to express in words what he has done for me. Yesterday when I met him, I felt he was a little emotional but was not showing it. But at the same time he appeared to be relieved and relaxed," he said.
"The way my retirement happened and the way people showed their love, you can never plan it. God only decides it. I pray to God that you have shown me this day and I cannot ask you for anything more. The same feeling even Ajit had. We didn't talk much but whatever we spoke, I understood that he is relieved that everything good happened," Tendulkar said.
Tendulkar became the first sportsman to be conferred with the Bharat Ratna yesterday and he said the door is open for other sportspersons now. "If I have to talk about other sportsmen, first of all I am accepting this award on behalf of everyone. We have had many great sportsmen and sportswoman in our country and we have been hearing about them since our childhood. We have grown up in that culture. Their contribution can never be forgotten," the highest run scorer in international cricket said.
"The door is open now as a sportsman has got Bharat Ratna. In future also I pray that all our great sportsmen and women for their contribution for the country is appreciated. This award is a special award and if it is given to a special person then we feel extremely happy. I pray to God that everybody's contribution is appreciated," he added.
The master blaster said that winning the highest civilian award was the ultimate award. "I am receiving this award on behalf of all the Indians. I respect this award. Because after getting this award, what next? This is the ultimate," he said. Tendulkar said that he never paid heed to what critics were writing about him and interacted with only those people who provided him with constructive criticism.
"Till a stage I see what is written and what is not. Who has written. It is not that in this world that you won't get opinions. You will get opinions everywhere. I think there comes a stage where you exactly understand, from which person you need to take advice and people who are giving you constructive criticism and what is the intention behind that," he said.
"I don't think I have paid too much attention (to critics) because the people who used to guide me were with me. And none of them had pen for a long time. They had either a cricket bat or cricket thoughts. Who used to encourage me on a better performance and not how it won't happen. I used to normally interact with such people, whose interest was how to score more runs," added Tendulkar.