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ĎGary worked harder than usí

Devendra Pandey

Posted: Apr 05, 2011 at 1142 hrs IST

Mumbai: In his sixth attempt, Sachin Tendulkar finally got the trophy he so badly wanted. On Monday, the master talked about, among others things, the captain, the coach, the victory lap and how the players pinched each other to make sure it was for real. Excerpts.

Your team mates have said that they wanted to do it for you. How do you feel?

This gesture was really, really touching and moving. And then to take a victory lap like that (being carried on their shoulders) was an extremely emotional moment. I was not expecting all that, I was taken by surprise. What a way to end the World Cup! We were playing for each other and for the nation. We wanted to do this for the Indian team and also for the fans.

And you lifted the World Cup trophy at the same ground where you used to be a ball boy in the 1987 edition.

I still remember that time. I was a ball boy and Sunil Gavaskar took me inside the dressing room. He introduced me to many players then. It was a big day for me. And now that I have lifted the trophy at the Wankhede, itís is a really big moment in my life. We had to pinch each other to believe it was for real.

Going into the World Cup, was there a lot of responsibility and pressure on you? How did you cope with that?

I donít think only senior cricketers have responsibility or pressure. Once the 15-member squad is picked, everybody shares the load. And you saw that different matches saw different match winners.

You also kept on motivating the youngsters in the team.

It wasnít just my dream to win the Cup, it was as much theirs. For that to happen, we needed proper planning. At different stages, I saw other members of the team encouraging each other. We kept telling each other how our performances could be better. When the big moment came, all players were charged up and everybody knew how important it would be in their career. Everybody was prepared: we were not thinking about the pressure, we were just thinking about our process and how we would give our best in the final.

Does this team have more self-belief than the previous sides?

Not just self-belief, the players are also talented. They are match winners. In every match, we saw different players performing. Itís not about just one or two individuals coming up with good performance, it is about the whole team and that is how you win a trophy.

Given Indiaís performance in the last World Cup was below expectation, did that also add to the pressure?

I donít think so there was more pressure (because of that). Yes, there was pressure of my own expectations, I wanted to do something special this time. Iíll call it preparation. We were thinking how all 11 players can give their best every time. If someone hadnít had a great day, someone else made up for that.

And did you also prepare for the moment when you lifted the trophy?

Frankly speaking, we were not thinking about it. We planned other things but nobody was thinking about lifting the trophy, obviously at the back of our minds we wanted to do it. We wanted to follow the process, wanted to finish the game and then go for the trophy. We were just focusing on the match.

What are your thoughts on Dhoniís captaincy?

I think he is the best captain I have played with. He is very sharp and always alert. He reads the situation well and is open to sharing ideas. One more good thing is that he is always calm and never shows his frustration. These are some of the qualities that make him such a good captain.

Is the team going to miss Gary Kirsten?

Gary wouldíve continued for sure, but he has family commitments. We respect his decision. As team yes there is no doubt we will miss him a lot. It been a true pleasure and joy to work with him. In the nets, he worked as hard as anyone else in the team. Probably harder, because he was like a bowling machine throwing so many balls at the batsmen. It was a fabulous experience to rub shoulders with a personality like that.

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