Dhaka (The Telegraph): “I’m feeling good (after India’s superb win over Pakistan), except for the swelling... That’s why I’m not shaking hands,” Sachin Tendulkar told The Telegraph, pointing to the region of his right thumb and knuckles.
Besides being swollen, the area has turned red, courtesy a powerful strike by opener Nasir Jamshed, during Sunday’s face-off in the Asia Cup.
In a brief interaction at the Pan Pacific Sonargaon, on Monday evening, Sachin added: “Lucky I didn’t split the webbing, otherwise...”
Sachin hurt himself when Jamshed offered a return catch, on 69. He went on to get a hundred.
Given that Sachin had gone off after the injury, some assumed he wouldn’t open when India began their chase. But he did, playing a smart hand in the remarkable victory.
Sachin isn’t one to concede any ground to Pakistan, psychologically or otherwise. Twentytwo-plus years ago, despite being hit on the nose by a fiery Waqar Younis in the Sialkot Test, he’d firmly refused to retire hurt.
Some years later, in a one-on-one with this Reporter, Sachin explained: “Coming off the ground would have meant accepting defeat. I couldn’t have done that.”
That afternoon in Sialkot, Sachin had only been 16 years old. Batting on 16 when the ball slammed into his nose, he went on to score 57 on that green top.
The effort showed character, which has been a feature of Sachin’s career. That bit hasn’t changed about him.
Indeed, ask Sachin if life has changed after becoming the first to total 100 International hundreds, and a measured smile is his reply.
On Sunday, of course, Virat Kohli was the hero, displaying his class through one of the most memorable innings in ODIs.
Speaking exclusively, Virat grinned and said: “Oh, it feels wonderful the day after... It’s just so nice that I contributed in a must-win match.”
“Contributed” is a massive understatement.
Sachin, for his part, described Virat’s 183 as “brilliant.” He also had words of praise for Rohit Sharma (68). “He’s found some unlucky ways to get out in the past... He’s more disciplined and focused now... It’s good that he’s back among the runs, it’s good for Indian cricket,” is how Sachin lauded a fellow-Mumbaikar.
India’s fate won’t be known till Tuesday evening, but the Mahendra Singh Dhonis have still scheduled a practice session in the morning.
Having (again) left it to others to do our work, it’s all about hoping for the best and being prepared for the worst.