Mumbai: “I woke up at 6.50am. I generally get up according to my body clock. But then I realized that I don’t need to take an early shower. So I made some tea for myself and had a lovely breakfast with my wife.” That was Sachin Tendulkar’s first morning as a retired cricketer, something, he says, that hasn’t sunk in yet.
On Sunday, addressing his first press conference after retirement, Sachin dedicated his Bharat Ratna to his mother, and, all mothers in India. “Yesterday I said this award is for my mother, because of all the sacrifices she made for me. As a child, you don’t understand life… when you grow up, you realise all these things,” he said.
“It is not just for my mother. There are millions and millions of mothers in India who sacrifice many things for their children. I would like to share my award with them,” said the 40-year-old.
When he was a budding cricketer, Sachin’s family had moved him to his aunt’s place near Shivaji Park to cut down on travel time and focus more on playing cricket at Ramakant Achrekar’s clinic. For those four years, Sachin’s mother Rajni, who was employed with LIC, would brave the cumbersome Mumbai traffic every day to travel from her workplace at Santacruz to Shivaji Park to meet Sachin before heading back to Bandra.
Ahead of his final Test, Tendulkar had personally inspected the arrangements for his wheelchair-bound mother to watch the Test.
“My mother has never seen me play a single ball. So when I decided to retire, I had requested BCCI to let the match happen in Mumbai. I was also not sure that whether she would be able to come. I had requested MCA to keep a room in the Garware guest house next door, but my mother preferred staying in the box and watched every ball. When I went up to her, I could see her speak more with her eyes,” Tendulkar said.
The number of runs he scored never mattered to his parents, he said. “The beauty about my family was they never lost balance. They encouraged me a lot. Like any other normal family, whenever I did well, all they did was offer a packet of sweets to thank the Almighty.”
About the future, the 40-year-old said he would want to be associated with cricket. “Cricket...is oxygen to me. Of the 40 years, at least 30 years have been spent playing cricket. So, there will be some association with the game, maybe not in the immediate future. It’s only 24 hours since I’ve retired after playing for 24 years. I need a break for at least 24 days,” he said.
In an interview to Times Now, he said he wouldn’t have to look at the match calendar to have cheesecake. “I can do it everyday now.”