If you go across the length and breadth of the 7th largest and second most populous country in the world, you wouldn’t find a single human being that does not know this particular Indian fellow. God is the name given to him by his passionate followers. For them, the game of cricket is a religion in actuality. India is a big and diverse country with many religions, cultural groups, different languages, diverse belief systems and ways of life. However, one thing that connects the whole nation is the national men’s cricket team. When this team plays, the whole country unites in the support of these 11 men putting up their best show on the field. One man, for the last two and a half decades, has been playing his best cricket for the national squad. He has given the country more reasons to celebrate than probably by any of the numerous deities followed by more than a billion in the country. No wonder they call him the God. The name this God goes by is Sachin Tendulkar.
Sachin Tendulkar has been called the greatest cricketer that the world has ever seen. His recent retirement from all forms of the game except for the test format, which will also eventually come to an end sooner or later, has and will leave a gap in the hearts of the billion plus people. His illustrious and inhumanly long career has seen him smash almost all the batting world records that ever were there. He has the highest number of runs in test and one-day cricket, the highest number of games played, the highest number of centuries (100 centuries – first in the history), first one day international double century in history, highest number of Man of the Match awards, highest number of boundaries hit, and the list will go on and on. So more often than not, this God and the record breaking numbers are talked about in the same breath.
After having watched Sachin Tendulkar play all these years, I’ve realized that this man cannot and will not ever be defined by any numbers. Sachin Tendulkar is way beyond numbers. There are a few lessons I have learned from Sachin Tendulkar that are not limited to the game of cricket or any sport for that matter. Let’s look at some life and business lessons emerging from the field of cricket, exemplified by the master himself.
Sachin Tendulkar seems to be growing younger with age and at 40, he runs like a 20-year-old kid on the field. When running between the wickets for a quick single he can still give youngsters, half his age, a run for their money. Over the years, Sachin Tendulkar has had many career threatening injuries including a back injury, tennis elbow to a more recent wrist injury among many others. He has had multiple surgeries to fix his injuries. But he has always come back stronger and better. His fight back spirit is incredibly awesome even after so many years of being at the elite level and achieving almost everything that one can.
#1 Lesson we can learn: Fight back. No matter what. Giving up and quitting is the sure shot way to failure. Obstacles and hurdles make the journey worthwhile. As they say, if the path is too easy, you’re probably on the wrong one.
Consistency And Longevity
Playing a sport at the international elite level for almost 25 years is in itself a great feat. I remember a friend of mine once arguing with me about Sachin Tendulkar’s fame – “He is no doubt a great player, but he is over-hyped. Anyone who would play for such a long time would break his records”, he said. “That’s exactly the point. How many would?”, I replied. Sachin Tendulkar has worked on his fitness and form like no other. His insanely long career is a testament to his dedication to the game. He has done everything that was required to make sure he is in shape to play against the best of the world – be it working on his fitness levels, treating injuries, bettering form, et al. And he has been doing this all throughout his life, as he played his first international game at age 16.
#2 Lesson we can learn: Don’t hesitate to travel that extra mile. Do everything that is required to make your dreams come true. Right from working hard on your goal to taking care of your health, and everything in between. Look at the larger picture.
Work Hard In Silence; Let The Work Make Noise
Sachin Tendulkar has had many phases of the drop in form and performance. Some due to injuries, some sheer lack of form. A lot of critics, experts and publications have demanded Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement from international cricket at different points in time, many times. Sachin Tendulkar has been known as a man of few words. He chooses to reply his critics with the bat (on the field). Sachin Tendulkar never bashes criticism in press conferences or interviews. He is humble and takes what comes his way. He lets his game speak. Every time there has been a demand for his retirement or criticism about his drop in form, Sachin Tendulkar has come back with blazing boundaries and sixes, tearing apart the most strong bowling line-ups in the world. When he scores a century (a feat he has achieved 100 times in international cricket) and looks up into the skies to thank the Almighty, his critics look down.
#3 Lesson we can learn: Don’t try to convince people about your abilities by talking. Actions speak much louder than words. Keep working towards your goal and let the world be amazed by your work. Accept criticism, listen to them and drown the voice of your critics with the noise of your success.
Do What You Love
24th day of February, the year 2010, Roop Singh Stadium, Gwalior, Madhya Pradesh, India – Sachin Tendulkar scores the first double century in the history of limited overs cricket also known as One Day International. He leaves the ground at 200 runs and remaining not out. He opened the innings and faced 147 deliveries to achieve the impossible looking figure (until then) in the last over of the 50 over innings. In cricket, a player can take a break from the field when fielding while another player called the 12th man is replaced to field for him. Playing such an innings and having cramps after being on the field for 50 overs, no one expected to see Sachin Tendulkar fielding when South Africa came out to bat for the run chase. And when the second innings started, there he was – Sachin Tendulkar – looking fresh and enthusiastic like a teenager with a smile on his face, fielding at the slip position. Nothing but one word can explain that behavior – love. Love for the game is what has always kept him going. We have seen him many times walking off the ground even before umpire’s signal when he knew he was out. Such is his integrity and respect for cricket.
#4 Lesson we can learn: Loving your work is the most important thing. When you love doing something, you’re automatically good at it. Dedication and hard work come naturally, resulting in inevitable success. Do something you truly love and you’ll achieve great heights. If you’re stuck at something for whatever unavoidable reasons, put in love to that too. It will come out good and make you feel great about yourself.
Nothing Is Impossible
Sachin Tendulkar is a patriot. Everyone knows that. “Proud Indian” is what his Twitter account says about him. Two simple words – explains a lot about the man. He has always stated that playing for India was his greatest dream. And winning the World Cup for his nation – his wish. The final match played between India and Sri Lanka of the 2011 Cricket World Cup was held at the Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai, which is Sachin Tendulkar’s home ground. 22 years and 6 World Cup appearances later, on 2nd April 2011, Sachin Tendulkar’s wish was fulfilled – India won the World Cup Cricket, the most prestigious and sought after trophy in the world of cricket. Sachin Tendulkar has played cricket all over the world. But the moment of glory came in front of the home crowd, in his home ground where he started playing cricket as a kid. He couldn’t stop his tears of joy that day. The players of the Indian squad honored him by carrying him on their shoulders across the ground acknowledging the crowd. When asked later by a reporter, Virat Kohli an Indian batsman, famously said, “Tendulkar has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years; it was the time we carried him”.
#5 Lesson we can learn: Dreams do come true. It may take time, but with consistent efforts from one’s end and a belief strong enough to keep pursuing that dream is all it takes. As William Arthur Ward has stated, “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” Nothing is impossible.
Obviously, there are many other things about Sachin Tendulkar that inspire millions across the globe. What is that one thing about Sachin Tendulkar that you love?