“I too felt like bunking the practice session while in school and go out to eat ‘Vadapav’ and have fun as most children do. But I never wanted to misuse the freedom given by my father who wanted me to pursue my interest in cricket with full focus and had never bothered me by putting pressure on me to achieve academic success.
“My coach and my brother too ensured that I did not lose my focus on the game which I loved passionately,” said the batting legend in an interview telecast by a Marathi television channel.
Offering a glimpse into his making as a cricketer, the 38-year-old said, “As a professional sportsman it is necessary to imbibe a kind of self-discipline and you cannot eat and drink at will. Who does not want to enjoy life? But one has to know one’s limitations and ensure that it (lifestyle) does not affect your performance”.
And Tendulkar went on to elaborate his point giving some instances that would be regarded as benchmarks in assessing commitment to the game.
“The temperature in Ahmedabad where we were to play our World Cup matches (quarterfinals against Australia) was going to be very hot. Knowing that I put myself on a bland diet three to four days before the fixture keeping away from all spicy food and non-vegetarian stuff,” Tendulkar said.
“The purpose was to ensure that body heat did not increase as it would have been detrimental to performance, coupled with the hot conditions in the field.”
Throwing more light on his fitness regimen, Tendulkar narrated how he played his matches in Chennai, another hot and humid cricket venue.
“Keeping one hydrated during the match is important in Chennai because of the hot climate. I used to set an alarm to get up in the middle of night and drink lot of water to keep myself hydrated with sufficient body fluids before the start of the match.”
To a query, he said laughingly, “When in school I found that scoring runs was easier for me than scoring marks. My father recognised my passion for cricket and fully supported me insisting that whatever I do, I should not lose my focus.
“It was something unusual those days in a family like ours to see photographs and news published about a young boy like me. Whenever I did well in tournaments, the only celebration at home was placing some sweets in front of god in the poojaghar. I used to be told to think of the next century.”
Asked what he missed out while focussing too hard on cricket, Tendulkar said, “I cannot swim. Later whenever coaches tried to teach me swimming I felt panicky whenever water came around my head. I can float and do pool-side exercises.”