“When you win something or score a century you say you are happy, but not satisfied. Satisfaction is like engaging the handbrake and hoping a car moves forward,” Tendulkar told the latest issue of ‘Sky Sports Magazine’.
“I am not satisfied yet with my career and what I have done, not at all. I feel the moment you start to feel satisfied, then it is only natural that you begin to cool down and lose it,” he explained.
Tendulkar reiterated that he is not even thinking of retirement despite completing more than two decades in international cricket.
“I still love cricket as much as ever. It is my job, but it is also my passion. Cricket remains in my heart, I don’t need anything else to motivate me. I dreamed of playing for my country when I was young and it is still my dream, it is still fun for me,” the 38-year-old right-hander said.
“Life without cricket is unthinkable,” he added. Tendulkar attributed his longevity and recent success to a stricter fitness regime, not playing Twenty20 Internationals and bowling only sparingly.
“I am still learning about the game. I figure something out about my batting all the time, you have to keep your mind open. I learn all the time, those small adjustments, with your footwork or bat swing can improve your game, I love doing that. You never know everything. Mentally that makes you feel so good. That is the best form of preparation,” Tendulkar said.
Recalling India’s recent World Cup triumph after a gap of 28 years, Tendulkar said when the defining moment of his career finally arrived, he wasn’t in the middle of the field wielding his bat, nor was he even on the balcony watching his teammates.
Instead, he was on his own in the dressing room, his hands clasped together, his eyes closed as he prayed in silence.
He only knew India had won the World Cup when he heard that cathartic roar reverberate around the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai as his captain, Mahendra Singh Dhoni hit the winning runs against Sri Lanka.
Tendulkar described the experience as “a different kind of feeling, a high, like living on a different planet, it felt as though I was flying.”
He had waited 22 years for this moment. For all his personal records – and he boasts the most Test runs and Test centuries, and the most One-Day runs and One-Day centuries – Tendulkar wanted something tangible, a trophy to lift, a medal to wear, and to win something as part of an Indian team.
Tendulkar had played in the previous five World Cups, but had fallen short each time. The experience left him feeling “shattered beyond words.”
His fellow players too laud the way Tendulkar has sustained himself at the top level.
“It has been fascinating watching the changes in his approach,” said teammate Rahul Dravid. “From being a master blaster, he is now a mistake-proof batsman.”
While he can’t control his body ageing, Tendulkar has increasingly sought to exert more control over his mind.
“You have to be still in your mind, and keep it blank. It is also important to avoid any needless anger,” he said.
“Growing up, I picked up a lot from my father, who never lost his temper, and I tried to follow that, so I don’t lose my cool.”
This impenetrable mask doesn’t slip away from the cameras either.
“I have never seen him lose his temper in the dressing room, he has never thrown his bat around even when given out wrongly,” said Indian pace spearhead Zaheer Khan.
“Maybe he will have an extra bowl of ice cream, and that is when you realise he is pretty upset.”