Sachin Tendulkar, pilloried in the media on a few occasions when he failed during his 24-year-old glittering international career, praised it for supporting him from his fledgling days as a schoolboy cricketer in Mumbai.
“I have received media support not only after I was playing for India but right from the school days. I remember when I scored my first hundred there was an article,” said Tendulkar in an interaction with select sports journalists here last evening.
He also said that early on he was scolded by his childhood coach Ramakant Achrekar not to cheat his way into the newspaper pages after he had naively agreed to a suggestion.
“I also remember the first time my name appeared in a newspaper my score was 24. One of the guys, who brought up the score sheet and gave it to all the newspapers told me that ‘if you add six more runs and take your score to 30 your name will appear in the newspapers.’
“It was the first game in my life and I didn’t know what I was. So I told him ‘if you think that is fine then do it’ and he did that. But my Sir (Achrekar) caught me and which was a big lesson in life. Sir told me ‘if you wish to see your name in the newspaper then you better score runs.’
“So that was a big lesson I learnt. But overall if I see the media has been fair but there have been occasions when it was impossible to agree with whatever the media has said, there have occasions I have completely disagreed,” Tendulkar said.
“But then as I have already said I didn’t want to retaliate and I wanted to stay focussed and let my bat do all the talking. After the bat had been taken away I can speak a little bit and then hopefully respect what I have tried to express,” he added.
Tendulkar also revealed that it was Achrekar who made him a number 4 batsman, the position at which he excelled in Tests in his career.
“Achrekar Sir got me into that habit of batting at No. 4. And it was right from when I started maybe in school cricket I possibly batted at No. 6 and then gradually I moved up to No.4. But it was mainly No. 4 I think I started my career from,” he said.
Asked whether he had asked Achrekar to bat at that position, he said: “No, I didn’t. I think I was too young to ask anything about that. I said if I am getting to chance to bat it doesn’t matter where as long as I am getting to bat. I was happy, I never questioned what number and all that.”