Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar says playing for the national colours of India always gave him the biggest kick. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Dubai: Batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar hopes that the Indian Premier League (IPL), scheduled to be held in the UAE from September 19, will have people talking about a different kind of numbers and statistics rather than the ones on the COVID-19 pandemic.

“For a change, we will be discussing other numbers, statistics we will be discussing and talking about would be the strike-rates and the run-rates and not about Covid-19 - how many cases have increased today and what are the doctors projecting. Those numbers are not what one would hear. We will hear something else now,” Tendulkar said in an interview in the ‘Inspiration’ series of India Today Group on the Independence Day.


“I know that people after having gone to work and come back after a strenuous day, they would have something else to talk about. It could be Mumbai or Bengaluru or Delhi or whichever team which is topping the table and not the cities topping the COVID table. The cases should come down,’’ hoped the owner of all conceivable batting records in the game.

IPL 2020 was plunged into uncertainty after it missed the April-May window due to the spiralling cases of the virus in India. However, BCCI found a window to host the money-spinning league between September and November in the UAE after the T20 World Cup was postponed due to the pandemic. The three international venues of the UAE: Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah will be hosting the matches - with no fans at least in the initial stages of the tournament.

“IPL is great news for all of us. A number of other sports have resumed, I have been watching a bit of football, F1, Test cricket in England. So it’s nice that IPL will be played in the UAE,” Tendulkar said.

What's Tendulkar's PPE?

Drawing parallels heavily from the pandemic phrases, Tendulkar said he had - all along his career - followed the principle of PPE (personal protective equipment for health workers in their fight against COVID-19).

‘‘We are in the day and age of Covid-19, this challenge has been a massive obstacle for all us. And PPE is a familiar word with everyone but I learnt about it long time (back) in my career which was 1989. P stands for Passion for me, the other one is for Preparation and E is Execution. So I learned to practice it and move forward,” he said.

The idea of national pride, which Tendulkar had worn like a badge of honour and famously had a tri-colour sticker on his helmet, always spurred him during his 24-year-old career. “Playing for the tri-colour has been a huge honour. Let me tell you, as a child all I wanted in life was that. I didn’t want anything else. Playing for India was my dream. So I started chasing my dreams, there were a lot of challenges. For a 12, 13-year old boy you don’t get to spend time with your friends, in the evening watch a movie, play in front of your building. I had to sacrifice all those things,” he said.