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One man army!

The world's best batsman reveals the secret of his success ...


Whenever Sachin Tendulkar opens his huge kitbag you can see an Indian flag neatly pasted inside. His patriotism is obvious. It is repeatedly reaffirmed on the field. Like his back-to-back centuries at Sharjah. Snatching victory against all odds had set the country on cloud nine. "I was very happy because both the centuries came at a crucial time" said Tendulkar. "The first one took India to the finals and the second won us the trophy. There cannot be greater satisfaction then winning games for your country."

Indeed. One does feel proud to have such an immensely talented cricketer who is also humble. For the last decade this legendery batsman has been satisfying himself and cricket lovers with his amazing skills, talent amd power. He is the epitome of genial aggression, particularly when there is a challenge. he certainly is on a high for the last coule of months. Sachin agreed "I think it all started with Mumbai's game against Australia at the Brabourne stadium. The double hundred gave me a sort of guideline to follow. I decided to avoid predetermined and ambitious strokes and play my natural game. That innings, I think, was teh foundation of what followed thereafter".

This clearly indicates that the master-blaster thinks and analyses his performances. This self-examination helps him to be prepared against all types of rivals. He is all the time observing himself as well as other players, making notes on how to tackle a particular situation. he is very clear about his objectives. Small wonder, he is so successful that critics and experts have placed him secong to the greatest batsmam of the century -Sir Donald Bradman.

What inspires, motivates and sustains India's super-brat? How does the one-man army maintain consistency? Does he have any faults? Sachin Tendulkar reveals all here.

What inspires you?
Performers on the world scene do pep me up to a great extent. I am inspired by an innings played in search of victory. Sometimes I feel I should do better than that. I should be able to perform better than somebody else. After all, I or for that matter everybody, wants to win each and every game. And to win what one requires is to better the opposition ... take one wicket more, or score one run more than the opposition. Its as simple as this.

Well, you seemed so much inspired by Shane Warne that you bowled leg-spinners in the one-dayer against Australia at Kochi and even claimed 5 wickets.
I was initially bowling off-spin in that game. At some time I thought of trying leg-spin against Steve Waugh, hoping to make him play against the spin and trap him. The very first leggie that I bowled, he was caught and bowled! Then I decided to bowl leg-spin to the right-handers and off-spinners to the left. My move paid off. I agree, it was a gamble. But then, not being a regular bowler, I had to experiment. After all, my job is to take the odd wicket or bowl a crucial over or try and bring about a change in the situation. My captain expects this from me.

Many a time you seem to be sticking out your neck and taking risky decisions. For instance, on the New Zealand tour, a few years ago, you decided to open the innings and opted to bowl the last over of the Hero Cup against South Africa. Well, you succeeded most of the time, but aren't you worried of failure and criticism?
When I decided to open the innings in one-dayers, I was very confident about success. So I conveyed my feelings to Azharuddin and Ajit Wadeker. I was also confident of bowling the last over against South Africa and winning the game for India. I think, I have the required confidence in my ability and the will to perform. Why should I give it up? Why shouldn't I try? Why should I leave even a single stone unturned in the quest for victory? Fortunately, till the moves ahve paid off !

Do you think about cricket rankings? Theres just less than 10 points difference between Jayasuriya and you in the Ceat ratings. In such a situation, the rules say, the panel will decide who is No. 1. Does this number business realy matter to you?
I am not really worried about being No. 1 or No. 2 as long as I am considered among the top few batsmen. To tell you the truth, I have always dreamed of being in the top brass of batsmen. The real value of a batsman is determined when the opposition thinks his wicket is important ... when the opposition sweats that much extra for his wicket. I want the opposition to always be on its toes when they bowl or bat against me. I think, maintaining this reputation gives me enough drive to succeed.

But, sometimes you seem to be getting out to deliveries that don't deserve your wicket.
Probably, because of the kind of shots that I play. There is a fair bit of risk involved in my style. It is possible that I may have got out playing the same kind of shot twice, but eight out of ten times, I have got runs on the same shot. That could be a scoring shot. I am trying to improve. You see, I want India to win more often. for this it is necessary that I get runs and get them quickly. Basically, I am an aggressive batsman. You will never see a defensive batsman get out hooking or pulling. Waht is wrong is to play a bad or an ambitious shot and get out. remember, there is a very thin line between an aggressive and a bad or an ambitious shot.

A double century eludes you in Tests.
I am trying sincerely. I know a double century is a double century .....

Do you set goals for yourself?
I do, but its series by series.

What goals did you set when the Australians last toured India?
I wanted to score a couple of convincing and match-winning centuries.