Introduction

The chapter originally adapted from the autobiography, ‘Playing It My Way’, of former Indian cricketeer Sachin Tendulkar, provides an insight about the beginning of his passion for the sport and the challenges that come along with training. 

Cricket’s Child 

The chapter opens with the author recollecting his memory of playing gully cricket with his friends, with a tennis ball. He often tried to imitate his favourite players, Sunil Gavaskar and the West Indian legend Viv Richards.  He also tells us that he is extremely fond of bowling. Achrekar Sir from the Shardashram Vidhyamandir was a cricket coach and gave due importance to the game.

He also conducted summer camps for the game where young enthusiasts shot their shot at getting selected. Sachin Tendulkar’s brother, Ajit took notice his brother’s potential and took him to the camp. The 11 years old Sachin became overwhelmed with the crowd, and scrutinizing gaze of the coach and missed his best performance.

A Second Chance

Although Achrekar Sir denied Sachin’s selection, Ajit was aware of Sachin’s nervousness and was adamant, he requested for a second chance for the young boy. This time, he asked the coach to observe Sachin discreetly and from a distance. With the coach not in view, young Sachin relaxed and hit the balls, landing himself the selection.

Practice Makes A Man Perfect

Sachin Tendulkar narrates his exhausting and rigid routine of practice and having to travel for 40 minutes to reach Shivaji Park for his practice. His practice lasted hours and was scheduled twice a day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. In the beginning during bus rides, Ajit and Sachin had casual talks about cricket and a note about batting by his brother served as a personal manual to Sachin.

As a child, Sachin only had one set of uniform and would wash it after every practice to keep it ready to wear for the next. However, there was never enough time for the pockets to dry and Sachin recalls having played with wet pockets for the entire duration of the camp.

After 2 months Sir acknowledged Sachin’s potential and put forward a suggestion to switch his school from the New English School in Bandra, which did not have cricket training, to a school where he could have a cricket training to begin his career. After Sachin’s assurance for his eagerness and seriousness for cricket he was moved to Shardashram Vidhyamandir, where Achrekar Sir was the cricket coach. Now, all of Sachin’s energy was being directed towards cricket.

Pushing Limits

During his first year at Shardashram, he played 55 practice matches in 60 days of his summer break. Once again, he had practice twice a day with only 30 minutes acting as a break between them. Sir would give him some money for a vadapav and that was Sachin’s meal.

Towards the last 15 minutes, Sir would place a one-rupee coin on top of the stumps and if he remained undefeated, the coin was his. In this session every bowler in the camp would come and bowl to him, with some sixty to seventy boys fielding. Meaning he had to hit every ball to survive those intense fifteen minutes. 

It made him extremely proud and happy to win that one- rupee coin and taught him concentration even when physically drained. At the end Sir would make him run two full rounds of the park with pads and gloves on. This can be considered as his secret to building stamina.

Over time, he also learnt the ropes of commuting in local buses. We get the idea that no matter how tired Sachin got, he never gave up, he always came back stronger. He knew since the beginning that he could make a career in cricket if he worked hard enough.

On occasions when he bunked practice he would be dragged by Achrekar Sir and at times even punished. Achrekar Sir played a vital role in his career development. Along with being strict, it showed that he was disciplined and valued Sachin’s potential. He knew the boy would go far with the right guidance and practice.  The chapter concludes with Sachin Tendulkar expressing his gratitude towards his coach.

Conclusion

The chapter serves as a great inspiration to the readers. It proves that everyone is born with some talent, it is up to us to acknowledge that talent and work towards reaching the pinnacle of success. It also teaches us that hard work always pays off and that success doesn’t come by sitting and waiting for it.