Chennai: Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar today gave an insight into the grind of international cricket to the MRF Pace Foundation trainees and said hard work and dedication is the way to succeed in this tough, competitive world.
"I got to interact with them. There were few questions fired at me. To get the opportunity to share my experience with youngsters gives me lot of satisfaction. I told them to understand what international cricket is all about. As time goes by the game really gets tougher and tougher and more competitive," Tendulkar said during a visit to the MRF Pace Foundation here.
Citing his own example, Tendulkar further told the trainees: "If you have to play for India, it is not easy. You stay there for a long time. The passion and desire to play for India was so much within me. I was madly in love with cricket and I am still madly in love with cricket. I was able to work for hours and hours and nothing could tire me out. My coach literally had to grab me out of the nets.
"On number of occasions it was really dark and we could barely see each other's face in the darkness. You cannot figure out where the ball is pitched. But, I will be batting at the nets. These kinds of things had to be backed by right guidance and right support team. I had terrific support from my family, my friends and my coaches and that became a formidable force," he said.
"Above all, I think if you are disciplined and visionary you can chase your dreams. For me, because everything happened at a young age perhaps I was not old enough to understand the importance of all those things. So, a big thank you to all the team that helped me in achieving my dreams and to those who helped me in reaching the position what it is today."
He also congratulated the MRF Pace Foundation for completing 27 years and said Glenn McGrath is a "fantastic choice" to lead the prestigious academy.
"I take this opportunity to congratulate MRF Pace foundation for having shown their commitment for 27 years. 27 years is a lot of time. Having a plan and vision is one thing, but to be committed to this cause in another aspect. I think it is remarkable," said Tendulkar.
"Lot of hours are spent on planning and execution to be able to find the right people. The first choice was terrific with Dennis Lillee at the helm. Glenn Mcgrath replacing him is simply fantastic. Both these bowlers have done incredible job for world cricket. They were heroes all across the world."
"Glenn is someone who I felt was extremely focused, aggressive, disciplined and stuck to his plans. I remember in Adelaide we played in 1999. I walked to bat on the second day after tea and I played six maiden overs of Glenn. He kept bowling on the off stump and I kept leaving them basically wanting to make him come back to me. He did not come back to me and I did not go to him. We both stuck to our plans," Tendulkar recalled.
"I think a good bowler makes the batsman play," said the batting maestro, who first visited the academy way back in 1987 with the intention to become a fast bowler.
Asked about his visit, Tendulkar said he still recollects how his brother's (Ajit Tendulkar) advice to carry his batting gear along turned his fortune.
"At that time I was really well in school and scoring runs. Vasu Paranjipe who regularly visited Chennai at that time came up with this idea as to why not we send Sachin to Chennai for trials.
"My brother always used to tell me that I should become an all-rounder. I love bowling quick. While packing my bags my brother told me to carry my batting gear for safety. I came with my batting gear also. Trials were announced and numbers were given. I do not remember the number I bowled on a couple of occasions and I was just standing there.
"Vasu Paranjpe, who was standing by asked me to bat against the same bowlers. I said great idea. So, I put the pads on and started batting and Dennis (Lillee) was watching me bat. Then, Dennis walked towards me and said -- my friend this is a better option why don't you stick to batting," Tendulkar recollected.
"I almost told him that I am a batsman wanting to become a fast bowler. But I can say my brother had better vision.
Before leaving for Chennai, he suggested to me to carry my batting gears. Fast bowling was something that I loved."
Lauding the contribution of MRF Pace Foundation to Indian cricket, Tendulkar said the academy gave the country some of the finest exponents of fast bowling.
"I think in 1989 when Vivek Razdan made his debut along with me in the fourth Test match at Sialkot it was a massive moment for MRF because he was the first MRF trainee to get India cap," he said.
"Those times were incredible. The fastest bowler from India was Javagal Srinath and there were many guys with different strengths. In Zaheer Khan I have found that he has the best reverse swing. Subrato Banerjee swung the new ball beautifully while Vivek Razdan had good outswinger.
There were so many bowlers from MRF who played for India and in 2007 and 2011 World Cups we had fast bowlers from MRF and even today we see fast bowlers from the MRF Academy playing for India."
He rated Srinath as a complete package and said he was the quickest bowler India has produced.