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Beyond the Boundary: Sachin Tendulkar’s Unseen Role as a Guiding Star

When you hear the name Sachin Tendulkar, a highlight reel of cricketing excellence invariably plays in your mind—the straight drives, the masterful cuts, the mammoth records. The Master Blaster’s bat spoke volumes, and his records have etched his name into the annals of cricketing history. Born in Mumbai, the cricketing legend has left an indelible mark on the sport, and even a decade after hanging up his boots, he continues to be the holder of numerous international records.

However, beyond the statistics and the glorious knocks, there lies an aspect of Sachin that remains relatively hidden from the public eye—his invaluable role as a mentor. His guidance has been a beacon for many of his teammates, aiding them in navigating the stormy weathers of their cricketing journeys.

Celebrating his 51st birthday on April 24, 2024, offers us an opportunity to shine a light on Sachin ‘the mentor,’ especially recalling how he supported Virat Kohli during one of the most challenging phases of the latter’s career. Always an admirer of Tendulkar, Kohli had the privilege to share the crease with the maestro, carving out many memorable partnerships before Sachin bid farewell to international cricket.

The year 2013 marked the end of Tendulkar’s illustrious career, prompting a global celebration of his achievements. Yet, it was not to be the endpoint of his contributions to Indian cricket. Though he has yet to assume a formal coaching role with the Indian men’s cricket team, Sachin has continued to nurture the game’s future stars, especially demonstrated through his involvement with the Mumbai Indians and his personal guidance to players like Virat Kohli.

Kohli’s struggles in England in 2014 are well-documented. Fresh off a triumph in the ICC Champions Trophy the previous year, where Virat shone brightly, the Test series in England proved to be a drastic dip in form. Scoring just 134 runs across five games at an average of 13.40, Virat’s technique and mental fortitude were severely questioned. But champions are built on resilience and the ability to seek help when needed—that’s when Sachin stepped in.

Upon his return to India, Virat made a beeline for Mumbai to consult Tendulkar. The prodigy and the master engaged in a series of technical and mental tuning sessions. Sachin noticed the flaws that had crept into Virat’s game, advising him to adjust his approach—adopting a forward press against fast bowlers similar to playing a spinner and ensuring confident intent with every ball faced.

But Sachin’s guidance went beyond just technique. He understood that Virat’s battle was as much with the mind as with the technique. Sachin advised Virat to stay mentally unruffled, focusing on personal strengths rather than being influenced by others’ practices. This approach, highlighting mental well-being and assurance in one’s own game, proved pivotal for Virat. Kohli reminisced about the advice, acknowledging how it helped him focus on his needs rather than comparing his routine to others.

Evidently, Sachin’s mentorship was impactful. Following their sessions, Virat experienced a phenomenal turnaround, culminating in a dream series against Australia in 2014-2015, where he emerged as India’s leading run-scorer. Virat’s adaptation and evolution through the phase were remarkable and while one might argue that a player of his caliber was bound to bounce back, the influence of Tendulkar’s words and advice arguably accelerated his return to form.

As Sachin Tendulkar steps into his 51st year, his legacy as a cricketer continues to be celebrated, and his role as a mentor deserves equal recognition. The support he extended to Virat Kohli during a trying period speaks volumes about Tendulkar’s dedication to the sport and his understated commitment to nurturing talent. Indeed, Sachin Tendulkar, the mentor, remains one of India’s unsung heroes off the pitch, shaping the pathways of excellence for the cricketing stars of today and tomorrow.