Mumbai: He is a sportsperson to the core, and understands the strife, heartache, sweat and tears, as well as the sheer effort that athletes put into their game. Which is why Sachin Tendulkar says - win or lose - the Indian contingent at the Olympics has his full support and he will cheer for them whether they win medals or not.
Tendulkar knows all about national pride thr winning for India brings, but he also knows first-hand the pressure that goes with a billion plus dreams. He speaks fondly about the Olympics, how he makes time for his family, his passion for cars and of course - cricket.
The soft mannered international sporting icon is very much the humble man they say he is. Sachin said very candidly that he had to request the BCCI to spare him from the ongoing series in Sri Lanka so that he can spend time with his family - while the kids have their annual summer vacation. It's the only time in the year he can give them he says, but with the break behind him, the focus is back on cricket.
Sachin says he has begun training for the New Zealand series. He doesn't believe in letting anything distract him from the training schedule once it begins - and is constantly looking to up his own game. He also says he now knows his body well - knows when and where to push himself - which helps him maintain his fitness levels.
So how much cricket he has left in him? He isn't playing for records nor does he have any fixed targets, he said. Instead its simply the love of the game that keeps him going. He won't concentrate more on Test cricket and reduce his T20 or ODI outings just to extend his career. In fact he is keen to see his IPL team Mumbai Indians lift the Championship Trophy. So Sachin fans can rest assured he will play all three formats of the game - reveling on the fact that few sports allow you the chance to play three formats.
Some know it but perhaps not the details - Sachin is an absolute car nut. He has always loved automobiles - since his childhood days when he lived in Bandra East - and watched all kinds of cars drive by or enter the drive-in theatre behind his building. His lioe for cars saw him buy a second-hand BMW 320i early in his career. Now he has the means to do much better and he has always driven performance-oriented cars since. His latest car is a new limited edition BMW 7 Series sedan.
Sachin Tendulkar will always be the God of cricket to many. Hearing him talk about cars and seeing his love of the automobile just makes one respect him even more.