Habits die hard. Sachin Tendulkar woke up sharp at 6:50 on Sunday morning but soon realized he didn't have to take a shower and head to the cricket ground for a Test match. Tendulkar made a cup of tea for himself and then enjoyed a rare breakfast in the company of his wife Anjali. It was slowly dawning on him that he would not play cricket anymore. Speaking to the media on Sunday evening, the 40-year-old legend said he did not regret his decision to quit and said his body was just too tired to take rigours of modern day cricket. (Highlights from Sachin's press conference)
"After playing for 24 years, you have to appreciate that there were many injuries and these were not easy to overcome. Somewhere your body sends you a message that you've carried enough of this physical load. To do those training sessions were taking a lot of effort out of me," Tendulkar told reporters in Mumbai in his first press conference after playing his 200th and final Test. (Also read: Sachin's full interview to NDTV)
Tendulkar spoke about life in the middle and how injury almost ruined his career. In 2004, Tendulkar was diagnosed with tennis elbow, an injury that prevented him from lifting a cricket bat for almost 4 and half months.
"Injuries were an emotional time. To overcome injuries and come back wasn't easy. Each time there were different goals in front of me. It is very important to respect nature. My tennis elbow took 4 and a half months to heal. I remember at that time it was not even easy to pick Arjun's bat. I thought my career was over," he added.
When asked about his favourite and most disappointing moments of his playing career, Tendulkar said the 2011 World Cup triumph was his best moment, while, the going down in the 2003 World Cup final in South Africa was a tough pill to swallow for him. "The best moment in my career was when we won the 2011 World Cup. Yesterday was also special, the way the people responded. I want to say a big thank you to everyone. My most disappointing moment was when we lost the 2003 World Cup final, after coming so close to the title," he said.
Whether or not an Indian team should have a local coach or a foreign coach, 40-year-old Tendulkar feels that a coach can be anyone but it is important he understand the players.
"It is not about foreign or Indian coaches. To me, there should be a proper coach who understands the players. At this level, we all know how to play a cover drive but when something goes wrong, who do you sit and talk to about it. A coach is a coach, as long as the relationship with players is a healthy relationship. Players must be able to share problems and must have confidence that whatever they are sharing will not be leaked out. A player should be able to confide in a coach with a level of trust," Tendulkar said.
Talking about his experiences in the current team which has young players like Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma doing well, Master Blaster said it was important to enjoy each other's success and have fun.
"In a team sport, it doesn't matter who performs as long as the team wins. With all the guys, I have thoroughly enjoyed being part of the team. Bhuvaneshwar wasn't even born when I started playing for India. Jokingly, I've told them to greet me by saying 'Good Morning Sir' when I walk into the dressing room. Fun to share my experiences not just because I was senior. I did that when I was the junior-most player as well," he said.