We never thought Tendulkar would win India cap at 16: Ajit

ajitNEW DELHI: Sachin Tendulkar’s family members had never thought of him representing India so early at the age of 16 and breaking so many cricket records, his elder brother Ajit said here.

In a rare television interview, Ajit said Tendulkar’s decision to quit Test cricket came at a right time as he is bowing out on a high.
“We never thought of Sachin getting the India cap at such a young age of 16. We were thinking of going step by step, from school level to zonal level and then the all India level, from Under 15, Under 19 and to senior level and so on,” Ajit said.
“Never ever thought of Tendulkar jumping all these levels and represent India at the age of 16 and go on creating so many records,” he told ‘Headlines Today’.

“We were proud and happy when he was selected for the first time for India in the Pakistan tour of 1989 and the family was absolutely delighted at that time,” he added.

Ajit said that Tendulkar’s decision to quit from Test cricket did not surprise his family members as he was assessing retirement for some time from series to series.

“At some point of time, he will have to retire. You can’t go on playing forever. For some time, he was assessing every tour. It was not a shock as such to us. All the family members were around and a lot of discussion went into it. Finally it was his own decision,” he said.

“The family had a mixed feeling as he has given so much joy to us in the last 24 years. But at the same time, we were happy that he has done the country and the team proud. He has achieved almost every record in world cricket. I think, he has got the timing right as he is bowing out on a high.”

Talking about Tendulkar’s character and his passion for the game, Ajit spoke about the time in 1999 when their father passed away.

“I remember father suffered a heart attack and it was on 28th Feb 1995 and Sachin was not going to know that. He was going to bat the next day and that was the last day of the match. Same thing happened during the 1999 World Cup (during which Tendulkar’s father passed away) as well,” said Ajit.

“We really did not have to convince him to go back to England to play in the World Cup. He knew his father well. He (father) would have asked him (Sachin) to go back and play.

“Undoubtedly, it was very, very tough. But keeping all the emotions behind, he decided to leave for England and play in the remaining part of the World Cup.”

Tendulkar scored a century in his first match after coming back from home against Kenya in the World Cup.
Ajit said that Tendulkar’s trait of putting the team ahead of his personal achievements was an inborn quality.
“We did not inculcate that trait in him. He was born like that. It came naturally to him. In all his 24 years, he was never involved in a controversy and was never self seeking.

It (team spirit) was an inborn quality.”
Asked about none of the family members watching Tendulkar play live, Ajit said, “It was a sort of ‘nazar lag jayega’ (something bad may happen by watching) which cannot be translated into English as it is a part of Indian culture. We will only see the highlights.”-PTI

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