New Delhi: Retired batting legend Sachin Tendulkar today revealed that not getting a long tenure as India's cricket captain was one "big disappointment he found tough to overcome given the number of challenges he endured.
Tendulkar's two tenures as captain of India were not very successful and are considered the rare blips in what was otherwise a glittering 24 years in international cricket.
He first took over as skipper in 1996 but by 1997 the team was performing so poorly that he was dropped from the position.
And Tendulkar today said not getting a long rope as skipper was a huge disappointment for him.
Sachin Tendulkar during the 2007 World Cup match against SL at Port of Spain. Pic/AFP
"To me, cricket is team work and not about individuals. There are stages where captain come into play and captain will guide, take important decisions on the field but eventually the batsmen would have to go out and score runs and the bowlers have to land the ball in those areas," Tendulkar said here.
"I was also dropped from captaincy after only 12-13 months in my first stint. That was a disappointment because you select the captain thinking that he is going to take the team forward and then if that stint is not long enough, then the success rate becomes zero. If you play four matches, you lose two, then you are 50 per cent successful, so on and so forth.
"My tenure was not long enough and it was a big disappointment for me to overcome," he added.
Tendulkar, who bid adieu to the game in 2013, compared his own captaincy stint with India's disastrous Test tours of England and Australia in 2011.
"Cricket to me is a team sport and when I was a captain there were some tough tours. We went to the West Indies and they were a better side. We went to South Africa and Australia, there were number of challenges that I met with.
"One common thing that I experienced during my captaincy period and 2011 when India went to tour England and Australia, we lost Test matches because there were no runs on the board and we gave away far too many runs," the 41-year-old said.
"The same thing happened during tours under my captaincy when there were not many runs on the board and we could not pick those 20 wickets. We lost four Test matches in England and four in Australia," he recalled.
With the ICC Cricket World Cup currently underway in Australia and New Zealand, the question of who are favourites to lift the trophy was expected to pop up and Tendulkar had no qualms in saying that he foresees India defending the title.
"The way India is playing, they will win the World Cup. I am so impressed with the team. We bowled well, batted well and (have been) fielding well. There is not a single department which we didn't tick, we have done consistently well," he said.
"First there was this question mark whether we will be able to beat Pakistan, I think we don't give full credit to the team when they do well. I will give full credit to the team. We outclassed South Africa, they didn't play badly but we made them look like that.
"I think when Mohit Sharma got AB de Villiers through a run out that was the turning point. Every individual chipped in, that has helped us through," Tendulkar said.
Tendulkar also made his displeasure clear about the recent rule changes in ODIs, like five fielders inside the circle at all times during an innings, and said it has made life difficult for the bowlers, who are already at the receiving end.
"Cricket is changing and the last change has been a little harsh on the bowlers. With five fielders inside the circle, the par score, which was earlier 260 or 270 has become 310 or so. And even if you score 290, commentators say it is chaseable.
"But few years ago that was a big total so I am not so pleased with that change. Because on one hand we want to encourage bowlers and produce quality cricket but on the other hand, by these restriction you are tying their hands and it puts a lot pressure. If you are not a quality bowler, you cannot survive with these rules," he opined.
On whether he regrets his decision to quit the game nearly two years back, Tendulkar said: "Absolutely not. Cricket has always been fun for me. I thoroughly enjoyed those challenges. My body now won't be able to sustain that pressure, one or two games here and there you can manage.
"I played an exhibition game at Lord's last year after seven months of my retirement. I thoroughly enjoyed being there in the middle but then the next morning my body said that it was a wise decision to retire."
Tendulkar said he enjoyed watching his first game from the stands after retirement.
"It was sheer joy to watch our team play against South Africa in Melbourne. My first match after retirement from the stand. It was a new experience for me but a very pleasant one."
Tendulkar said even though he was "madly in love" with cricket, staying away from family and friends was the toughest thing of his career.
"The best thing about being Sachin Tendulkar is I was madly in love with cricket. I am still in love with cricket. How many people get to live their passion through their career and also make life and money from it," he said.
"But from the age of 14 I started travelling. I missed out on spending time with my family, friends. I have missed birthdays of my children Sara and Arjun, I missed a number of special occasions. The toughest thing for me was that my son was not so happy that I was playing cricket and leaving him at home. He was three and in the next six years of his life he didn't speak to me on phone when I was away. It was really difficult for me.
"Staying away from them was the toughest thing in my life," Tendulkar added.
Tendulkar's son Arjun seems to be following his father's footsteps as he has already started age group cricket for Mumbai, but the champion batsman said he will never impose his decisions on the junior Tendulkar's career.
"My father never pressurised me. He never told me I am a writer so you also have to start writing. He gave me complete freedom. Whatever I dreamt of he supported me.
"My father didn't want to live his dreams through my career and the same thing goes with me. The kind of freedom that I had I want Arjun to have the same. He chose to play cricket. If he wants to play for India then I will go all out to support him," he said.
Tendulkar recalled how he cried like a baby after failing to guide India home in a Test match against Pakistan way back in 1999 and considered that loss as a regret.
"One regret has to be when Pakistan toured India in 1998-99. We were playing in Chennai. We lost the Test by 12 runs. I scored a century and we are on course for an victory. We had four wickets and I scored a century but I got out and we lost the match.
"After the game I cried like a baby in the dressing room. I didn't go out to take the man of the match award. That is one regret, I feel I should have controlled my emotions and gone out to receive the award," he said.
Tendulkar, a role model for many youngsters all over the world, said there is no alternative for hard work and advised coming generation to avoid shortcuts. "I had to work hard, all successful people work hard. Nothing comes easily," he said.