Mumbai:Fans in India and Pakistan react in the extreme and cricket does not remain merely a sport when the arch-rivals lock horns, said Sachin Tendulkar.
Indian players are either garlanded like 'kings' or treated like 'criminals', depending on the outcome of an Indo-Pak series, and the feeling is not different on the other side of the border, Tendulkar said at the launch of 'Shadows Across the Playing Field', a book authored by Minister of State for External Affairs Shashi Tharoor and former Pakistan Cricket Control Board chief Shaharyar Khan.
"Both the nations react to our highs and lows. Sometime we say that cricket is just a sport...but that does not happen. You get different reactions on your performance and rather (on the performance) in the last match," he said.
Referring to the 1997 ODI series in Canada, Tendulkar said, "We beat Pakistan 4-1 and the reception we got in Delhi was incredible. About 5000-7000 fans were there to receive us at the airport at two in the morning. They threw garlands and roses at us. We were treated like kings," he recalled.
The Mumbaikar then revealed the other side of the coin.
"We lost an ODI series 2-1 and the reaction was completely different. People looked at us as if were criminals and we have done something wrong. We lost 2-1 and because Ijaz Ahmed played an outstanding innings.
"These experiences teach you and help you lead a balanced life," he said.