India Today Conclave 2023: Sachin Tendulkar recalls first meeting with Harbhajan Singh, shares funny story
Speaking to India Today in New Delhi on Friday, legendary Sachin Tendulkar shared a funny story of how one of his many unique mannerisms left a young Harbhajan Singh confused during their first meeting on a cricket field. Legendary Sachin Tendulkar recalled a piece of early-career advice from his family and his coach, revealing why he respects playing the sport and picking up a cricket bat so much. Known for his discipline and adherence to his principles among other things, Tendulkar became a part of Indian sporting history, let alone cricket history.
Speaking at the India Today Conclave 2023 in New Delhi on Friday, Sachin Tendulkar said he is not into training so much these days, saying he picks up the bat only when it’s serious business, flaunting his respect for the sport.
Sachin Tendulkar retired from international and all forms of cricket in 2013. The batting great played his last season in the Indian Premier League (IPL) in 2013. However, Tendulkar made himself available for exhibition tournaments, including the Road Safety World Series over the last few years. “It (training and playing cricket) doesn’t happen so often. Earlier I used. Even after stopping to play cricket, I used to find some time to practice. Sometimes, with Mumbai Indians, I used to ask the bowlers to bowl to me. But, not really, not of late.
“Only when I played those couple of tournaments in the last two years, that’s when I practice. Because, whenever I have a cricket bat in my hand, it should be serious business. It should not be for fun. Some fun elements will be there for me. But nothing should be taken for granted when you are playing for India and that’s my formula. My coach, my family and my brother said, everyone told me that ‘when you have your bat in your hand, don’t fool around’,” he added.
SACHIN’S FIRST MEETING WITH HARBHAJAN
Sachin Tendulkar also recalled a funny interaction during his first meeting with Harbhajan Singh, throwing light on how difficult it was for his new teammates to get used to his mannerisms.
“I remember, I saw Harbhajan Singh for the first time in Mohali. This was in the mid-90s and somebody had told me that Harbhajan bowls Doosra very well,” Tendulkar said.
“I was like ‘okay, call him to the nets’.
“After bowling every delivery, instead of going back to the run-up, he would walk up to me and say ‘kya paaji’ and then go back. I would say, ‘nothing’.
“After he got into the team, he spoke about this.
“He said ‘Paaji, aapse ek baat karni hai’. He said remember the first time I bowled to you in Mohali. Now, I realised you would adjust your helmet and do this – so Bhajji would come and say kya chahiye paaji, I said nothing.. Then he would go back,” he added.
Sachin Tendulkar is the only cricketer to have played 200 Tests. Nearly a decade after his international retirement, Tendulkar still holds the record for most international runs and only Virat Kohli has a chance to join the Master Blaster in the 100 international hundreds club.
Tendulkar wowed the world with his rare gift for batting since his debut in 1989 as a 16-year-old. He went on to captain India at a very early age.
Tendulkar played 6 World Cups from 1992 to 2011 but he finally laid his hand on the coveted trophy in his last attempt in front of cheering home fans at the Wankhede Stadium. Tendulkar retired from ODI cricket at the end of 2012 and then bid goodbye to the game he loved after the West Indies Test series at home.
Incidentally, Sachin Tendulkar scored half-centuries in his final ODI and Test.