Mumbai: Rohit Sharma, who bagged the Man of the series award for his stupendous form against West Indies with two consecutive centuries, admitted he did not take his eyes off Sachin Tendulkar after the match while the whole stadium was reverberating to the chants of ‘Sachin, Sachin’.
“During the emotional speech being given by Tendulkar, I did not know what was happening around. I really didn’t know how to react. I was looking at him all the time. I wasn’t focusing on all that was happening around because I knew that this was the last time I’ll be watching him in the whites. I just wanted to get enough of Tendulkar so that when I got back home, there would be something to think about.”
Instead of speaking about his great achievement of scoring two consecutive centuries on debut, the Mumbai batsman talked about how is going to miss Tendulkar. “Tendulkar brings so much to the table. It’s not just about batting, but the way he conducted himself off the field is very important. This is something I’ve learnt personally and I’m sure most of the team also has learnt this. These are the things that I feel will be really missed.”
Sharma then went on to reveal that having Tendulkar in the team was a big strength. “Tendulkar used to guide us when it comes to batting abroad and what sort of mindset you’ve got to have and how you prepare. I still remember my first tour to South Africa in 2010, I remember having a chat with him, and that was the time I realised that playing abroad won’t be easy. Also, in 2008 when I went to Australia for the CB Series the interactions with him helped me a lot.”
Sharma wants his team to carry on the momentum that has been created by Tendulkar. “The team has got the momentum; we need to carry this momentum to the next series. Of course, his presence in the dressing room will really be missed. It’s not just about batting; it’s about a lot of things that you need in yourself to succeed. All those things will be missed. I don’t know how the team members are going to react to the situations which we’ll be confronted with now on. We need to get over this feeling very quickly, but I don’t know how we’re going to do it. It’s never going to be easy. Just an hour back you saw what happened at the ground, that shows what sort of a man he was, what he brought to Indian cricket.”
When asked whether he would now aim to step into Tendulkar’s shoes, Sharma said: “I’m not at all thinking about that. What he has done for Mumbai cricket and Indian cricket is huge. I’ve just started my Test career, there is a long way to go. I just want to enjoy my time in the middle, whenever I get an opportunity I’ll try to do well. I’m really not thinking about what I have to do if I have to replace him. There’s still a long way to go, my career is just two Test matches old. I have a long way to go.”
Sharma then went on to say that unlike others, it would not be difficult for him to get advice from Tendulkar. “Luckily, he (Tendulkar) lives only five minutes away from my house, so I can go to his home any time, if he’s free. Whenever I’ve gone to him for help, he’s always helped me. Even when I’m playing out (of Mumbai), and if I’ve been making a mistake on the field, he will either sent a message though someone or message me directly. This has happened many times. In the future too I’m sure I will be in his mind,” said Sharma.