Bengaluru:Sachin Tendulkar has won his first ICC award, the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy, by being named the Cricketer of the Year during the 2010 ICC Award ceremony in Bangalore. He also won the LG People's Choice Award for 2010.
Tendulkar spoke to NDTV in an exclusive interview after the ceremony. Here is the transcript.
NDTV: Well.. ICC cricketer of the year and of course people's choice also, Sachin many many congratulations. Of course it's very special coming as it does a day after the spectacular win coming from Mohali. Were you at any point nervous, like the rest of us chewing on our nails?
Sachin Tendulkar: Yes, we were actually sitting in the dressing room..I was sitting with MS, Sehwag.. Ya, I mean only three of us basically, and we had one topic going on and we didn't want to change that topic. We ran out of stories but we said no, we need to continue doing that, a bit of superstitious thing but it was fantastic victory and unbelievable what Laxman did for us and also not to forget what a tremendous character Ishant Sharma has shown.
NDTV: Sachin speaking of tremendous achievement, a huge achievement for you today, two awards, a surprise really for all of us who've followed your career that this is the first time you are actually getting the award.
Sachin Tendulkar: It's better late than never. You keep working hard for it and you know it's come in the 21st year of my international career. So, it's fantastic. As I said earlier, better late than never..so it feels great.
NDTV: And Sachin so many awards like the Padma Bhushan, the Khel Ratna..where does this rank in terms of the fact you have a glittering trophy cabinet and you're adding these trophies to it every year?
Sachin Tendulkar: This is wonderful but obviously I wouldn't want to compare this to Padma Vibhushan and the other awards. They have a different meaning altogether for me. It's the second highest civilian award, so I mean it's something really really special and I treasure all the awards, but well..the last thing I want to do is to compare them to one another as I've always maintained that the Padma Vibhushan award is always going to be special one.
NDTV: Right..you mentioned these awards, I'm sure you've got many many more to go and you've really got enough of them all over your house I'm sure but there are so many people, so many cricketers who say that they would pay to see you play. Who would you pay for Sachin..is there anyone out there?
Sachin Tendulkar: Two of my cricketing heroes obviously... Sunil Gavaskar and Vivian Richards. I've seen them, both of them play but I've never seen Sir Garfield Sobers or Sir Donald Bradman live. So, that's something I would have loved to do.
NDTV: Sachin, in your formative years, there was tremendous amount of competition from the bowlers that you faced, whether it was Curtley Ambrose, Courtney Walsh or Waqar, Wasim, Shane Warne. Somehow that seems to have changed. Do you miss the fact that you wish you had more competitive bowlers and really those legends bowling against you?
Sachin Tendulkar: See you're talking about Shane Warne, Muralitharan, Mc Grath, Wasim all these bowlers, they didn't become great bowlers overnight. It took them good 15 years to become what they are today and similarly there are many talented bowlers playing...to name a few, I mean obviously Milstein then so many bowlers, I mean I wouldn't want to single them out but there are world class bowlers playing at the moment. In time to come, like in ten years from now, they'll all be in the same league. Most of them would have 400 to 500 plus wickets. So you know it doesn't happen overnight and you've just got to wait for 10-15 years to allow a player to showcase the talent that he has and so that the whole world appreciates what his contribution to cricket is.
NDTV: We'll of course wait to see where you are Sachin at that much time 10 years, 20 years. What if you compare yourself to what you were 15 years ago? Sehwag, for instance, says the hair on his head has got thinner, what for you has changed?
Sachin Tendulkar: Maybe my hair are greyer now! So Ya I think plenty has changed since then, the cricket itself has changed, the way the whole team is managed has changed, the pre match preparations have changed, the post match recovery has changed All these things have changed in the last 15 years, 15 years is a long time and it'll continue to change.
NDTV: What about you personally? I would imagine with time things do slow down, body slows down physically it gets a little more challenging, so how do you really make up? You just seem to be growing from strength to strength.
Sachin Tendulkar: It's a challenge which you just have to take it in the stride, and work harder. I've enjoyed my game, it's but natural that when you're a 20-21 year old, your body is different and when you are 37, your body is different. But it's a challenge that I really enjoy..
NDTV: You managed to fool us really well there Really.
Sachin Tendulkar: And it has been wonderful working hard. I'd like to thank all my team mates for having supported me and also the support staff.. .our coach Garry, he has really really worked hard. He has thrown millions and millions of balls at us in the nets, and that's what keeps us going and it allows us to be in good space, good frame of mind and I spoke earlier of pre match preparations it has really helped.
NDTV: Sachin the last time we spoke to you, you spoke about how it would be a dream to play the World Cup that seems a very real possibility now since its only 4-5 months away.
Sachin Tendulkar: Yes, the World Cup is round the corner we are 5-6 months away from the Cup, the tournament. I would want to be in top condition to play the tournament and not only me but the whole team will do everything possible to make sure we are in the right frame of mind and top condition to play.
NDTV: And how do you see India's chances? They're doing wonderfully number one test team , how do you see it going into the World Cup, the way the team is shaping up?
Sachin Tendulkar: Well I don't want to put any pressure on the team mates or rather on myself, just take it in the stride and as I said earlier. Prepare to the best of your ability and before the tournament, one should not feel that no we weren't well prepared enough to participate in the tournament. So, that is what our first goal will be to make sure that the preparations are there to the fullest.
NDTV: Sachin, besides the on field action, it's all the off field controversies that have been dominating cricket this year also we saw the unfortunate episodes with fixing, etc. You're perhaps cricket's biggest playing ambassador at the moment, how do you suggest it be handled because the temptation is enormous for the youngsters?
Sachin Tendulkar: I'm not an expert to give advice on this but the simple fact is I take lot of pride in playing for India. I should be able to sleep well at night and wake up the next morning and feel proud of the fact that I've been able to this for the last 20 years -21 years and for me it's simple, I'll continue to do that. I know I'm on the right track I need not worry about anything else and as an individual I can say that I'll continue to do whatever I've done for the past 21 years and it is as simple as that for me.
NDTV: That is all that we really ask of you Sachin On a lighter note and our final question really What is Arjun going to say when he sees the awards, he always keeps advising you "Papa should do this." So, what'll he say when he sees that piece of metal and these two awards really?
Sachin Tendulkar: Well I'm sure he'll be thrilled, I don't know if he's watching this program or not but he had his birthday on the 24th of last month and my daughter's birthday, Sarah will be on 12th of October so this is for both of them It is a wonderful gift to give!
NDTV: Thank you Sachin
Sachin Tendulkar: Thankyou