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April 26, 2013
Sachin Tendulkar stressed the importance of "situational awareness" as a key factor in succeeding in the closing stages of IPL games. Tendulkar was speaking at an event in Mumbai and was asked by an audience consisting of children, amateur and aspiring cricketers, how to score ten runs off the final over to win a T20 games. He said there could be no set formula.
"Basically you have got to see what the bowler is bowling and what his strengths are, weaknesses are," Tendulkar said. "What are the areas where you can score off that particular bowler. There are many factors like the kind of surface you are playing on, the kind of field setting." Tendulkar said what a cricketer needed at a time like that was "awareness." "You have got to have situational awareness. Once you have that, you respond to the situation according to the bowler and the opposition."
At a gathering of about 200 people, Tendulkar answered a range of questions: about how he related to the new Mumbai Indians' captain Ricky Ponting, the technique behind his trademark straight drive and the formula for his success.
Tendulkar said he didn't think twice before passing on a tip to Ponting. "Because I know little bit about our cricketers, which Ricky hasn't had the opportunity to watch them much. Also a lot of things are planned in team meetings. But there are things that spontaneously come to your mind and you share your thoughts. So it is basically about sharing our knowledge and giving some background about the bowler."
Excellence on the cricket field, he said, had to be priority for any cricketer who was trying to succeed. A young cricketer he said needed to be, "madly in love" with the sport and due to that to immerse himself in his training. "You can't count the number of hours, the number of balls you have practised, the number of balls that you have bowled. You can't be counting. You can't look at your watch. You have to just practise and practise."
He gave an example from his childhood to his audience, saying that his practice began at 7:30am and ended 12 hours later. "Eventually my coach had to sort of pack my kit bag and send me off saying 'it is too dark to play cricket and we all want to go home'. " Tendulkar said his passion for cricket was still alive, "Boys like you or even girls now, whoever wants to become a cricketer, should be passionate about the game. Cricket should be in your heart first and then as you mature and grow, slowly you will find how to score runs and how to bowl [an] over, how to bowl spells. First cricket has to be in your heart and the rest follows."
The straight drive, his signature shot, Tendulkar said started from a correct head position and balance. "If your balance is not good then you are not going to be able to play straight, you either drag it with bottom hand to midwicket or you slice it to cover or cover point." When the body was correctly aligned, "then you can hit bowlers straight. For batting or bowling, generally on a cricket field, you have got to have good body balance."
It was also Tendulkar also stressed on the importance of concentrating solely on the game when on the field. "I don't think about watching movies [when I bat]. You can't think of anything else. Your mind is full of ideas, how to score against a particular bowler." The focus he said has to be on the ball and the bowler. "The bowler is constantly asking you a question and you are responding to that question, whatever is delivered... So I have no other thoughts on [the] mind. I am just thinking of how many runs I can score and how we can win."
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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