Little master, big motivator
Indian cricket legend Sachin shares his secrets of success - persistence, hard work and honesty
Sachin Tendulkar, the God of Cricket, was in no hurry yesterday, when he conducted a master class for 30 budding players in a special coaching session at the Singapore Cricket Club.
The event, organised by the Royal Bank of Scotland, saw the 41-year-old Indian sharing the intricacies of batting and bowling techniques with the aspiring cricketers.
As 50 or so fans stood behind a barricade at the Padang waiting for a glimpse of Tendulkar and, as a large group of journalists waited in the scorching heat for a scheduled press conference, the Little Master took his time with his little subjects.
After coaching, Tendulkar grouped the kids under the tent and shared his experiences and insights with them.
Undoubtedly, he had a lot to share.
Regarded as one of the greatest batsmen of all time, Tendulkar was part of the Indian team that won the 2011 World Cup and is the only player to have scored 100 centuries in one-day cricket and Test matches.
He retired last November.
"Persistence, hard work and honesty," was Tendulkar's reply to a media question on how he became the world's most-watched cricketer.
Now, with the world no longer watching his every move, he hopes to have some time for himself and his family.
But not before picking up his signature adidas cricket bat one last time.
He will captain the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) against the Rest of the World at the Lord's Bicentenary match in London on July 5, pitting him alongside another batting legend, the West Indies' Brian Lara.
"Brian and I played in the same team in 1996 in Toronto," Tendulkar said.
"We had a wonderful partnership then, and I hope for the same next month."
He talked about the globalisation of the sport and gave the thumbs-up at the idea of Singapore's Sports Hub hosting world-class cricket matches in the near future.
"I don't see why such games won't attract people in Singapore," he said.
"I'm always happy to see measures to globalise the game. More matches will surely better the (cricket) standards for any country.
"Players just need a platform to express their talent."
Since he and Lara retired, no player has come close to filling the void left by the two superstars.
Part of the sport's recent decline is down to a spate of match-fixing incidents, the latest involving ex-New Zealand captain Chris Cairns.
Tendulkar has rarely commented on corruption in cricket, but obliged yesterday.
"Cricket is taking steps to make sure spectators enjoy a fair competition," he said.
"It's an ongoing process, but efforts are being made to ensure a fair sport."
The Little Master fielded no more than six questions before the organisers wrapped up proceedings.
But the all-important query needed a response - will Singapore ever see the Little Master "live" in action?
"I can't comment right now," said Tendulkar. "Maybe, next time."