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Sachin Tendulkar pays surprise visit to World Cup-bound hockey team

Ahead of the Indian hockey men's team's departure for the World Cup in The Hague, cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar Tuesday gave a pep talk, and asked them not to take too much pressure in the tournament that will be played from May 31-June 15.

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar today paid a surprise visit to the World Cup-bound Indian hockey team here and gave the players a pep talk ahead of the side's departure for the quadrennial event to be held at The Hague, Netherlands from May 31 to June 15.

Sachin Tendulkar

Tendulkar arrived at the Capital, specially on the request of Indian hockey team captain Sardar Singh and spent nearly two hours with the entire squad during which he shared his life-time experience with the players. "Sachin paaji (brother) came today to meet us. I requested him a few days back to come down to Delhi and meet us and share share his experiences with the players. He obliged my request and gave a surprise visit to the team," Sardar told PTI.

"I knew about his visit 10 days back and only told the chief coach (Terry Walsh) and High Performance Director (Roelant Oltmans). But we preferred to keep it a secret to give the team members a surprise," he said about Tendulkar's meeting with the hockey team at the Ashoka Hotel here. "He made my day," Sardar added.

Sardar said during his visit Tendulkar shared his on and off field experiences with the hockey players which will be a great motivating factor for the team during the World Cup.

"Sachin paaji shared his experiences with the players and wished the team good luck. He told the players about how to approach and prepare for a match," he said. "He emphasised on the fact that just like cricket hockey is a team game. He is the world's best cricketer and his visit will instill confidence and self belief in the players," Sardar said.

During his meeting with the Indian hockey team Tendulkar advised the players on how to approach a match. "Do not allow pressure to come to you irrespective how strong you feel the team is. Start each match with a positive attitude and do a thorough preparation on each team that you are meeting, understand their weaknesses and strengths and accordingly prepare yourself," Tendulkar said. "You have to keep your mind positive all through as hockey is a fast game hence you have to keep yourself free of pressure. Always remember no team is stronger than you.

Visualise this in your mind and you will realise that your body automatically starts responding positively." Sharing his own experience, the batting legend recollected how he had a sleep night after failing to score in his debut match. "The first match of my career was not that great as I could not score and because of which I had sleepless nights. I finally spoke to my seniors and they motivated me to not take pressure and be at ease and control my game which helped me score 58 in my next match.

I still follow this and share the same with every youngster that I meet," Tendulkar said. Speaking about Tendulkar's visit, India's chief coach Terry Walsh said: "It was a privilege to meet the legend of cricket. He is a great thinker and the time spent with the boys will have a resounding impact in the mind of the players. "He spoke about the importance of positive approach in life and how one can attain success with a powerful mind and a positive approach."

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