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    I wanted to be a combination of Richards and Gavaskar: Tendulkar

    File photo of former India opener Sunil Gavaskar giving Sachin Tendulkar some advice.

    File photo of former India opener Sunil Gavaskar giving Sachin Tendulkar some advice. (AFP)

    Mumbai: Sachin Tendulkar, one of the greatest batsman the game has ever seen, on Friday said it was important to have heroes in life and he himself wanted to be a combination of his childhood idols Vivian Richards and Sunil Gavaskar.

    "Every person likes his own identity and that is important. It is good to have heroes. When I was growing up, I had a couple of heroes. I wanted to be a combination, a mixture of Vivian Richards and Sunil Gavaskar," said Tendulkar during an interaction with his fans at gaming and experience centre 'Smaaash' here on Friday.

    "So it is important for this generation to have heroes and try and get closer to anywhere you can to your heroes. Heroes will always be heroes, so that is how it should be."

    The senior cricketer, who celebrated his 40th birthday a couple of days ago, also cut a cake to mark the occasion and said, "This was the 40th cake that I have cut, so we should stop now."

    As a batsman he has had problems with the sightscreen and the scorer of 100 international hundreds admitted this. "You know I keep complaining about sightscreens. That is what I go through. When I am batting, there are more than 50,000 people around and you can't spot the ball because of the release point sometimes as the sightscreens are not high enough.

    "But there is not much choice. It makes you focus harder. You get a fraction of a second less to react and those are the things that you can't change much. You just have to adjust and try and find ways to prepare yourself early when the bowler is delivering," the master blaster said.

    "Because you get a fraction second less, the adjustment to make up for that lost time is in your hands, to get ready a fraction earlier to that spot. That is what I try to do on various occasions when I find it difficult to spot the ball."

    Asked whether he and Mumbai Indians team-mate and skipper Ricky Ponting, a former captain of Australia, are sharing tips during the ongoing Indian Premier League, Tendulkar replied in the affirmative. "Yes we do. We play for the same team. We want to achieve the same goal. When you become part of the same team, you do share whatever your thoughts are and that is how any team should be," he said.

    Tendulkar said he has been sharing his knowledge about domestic cricketers with Ponting. "Here I have been sharing little more in detail, because I know little bit about our cricketers. Ricky hasn't had the opportunity to watch them much. Also a lot of things are planned in team meetings. But there are things that spontaneously come to your mind and you share your thoughts. So it is basically about sharing our knowledge and giving some background about the bowler."

    Tendulkar said having a strong passion for the game and willingness to put in hard work to improve the skills should be the top priorities for budding cricketers. "First and foremost, to be madly in love with cricket is important. You can't count the number of hours, the number of balls you have practised, the number of balls that you have bowled. You can't be counting. You cant look at your watch. You have to just practice and practice.

    "When I was your age, I practised quite long hours. I would start by 7:30 in the morning and finish by 7:30 in the evening. Eventually my coach had to sort of pack my kit bag and send me off saying 'It is too dark to play cricket and we all want to go home'."

    "My passion was such and still alive. Boys like you or even girls now, whoever wants to become a cricketer, should be passionate about the game. Cricket should be in your heart first and then as you mature and grow, slowly you will find how to score runs and how to bowl over, how to bowl spells. First, cricket has to be in your heart and the rest follows."

    Asked why he doesn't bowl as much as he used to in the past he said, "I think there are better bowlers than me. Yes, I did bowl earlier, but may be my turn to bowl never came or the other bowlers were performing well. They are doing well. Occasionally I prefer bowling but I don't think I was ever a regular bowler. More of a partnership-breaker kind of a thing, you know when there was a long partnership I would come on. Bowl a couple of overs, when I did.

    "If it worked it worked, if it didn't then no stress because you have got main bowlers to take the pressure and responsibility. In one day cricket, yes I did bowl but now I have retired from one day [cricket]."