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* Tendulkar requests Dalmiya to shave off Eden grass

Kolkata, Feb 13 (PTI) With India facing a must-win situation to retain their numero uno Test status, Sachin Tendulkar today requested CAB chief Jagmohan Dalmiya to mow down the grass on the Eden track ahead of the second and final match against South Africa starting here tomorrow.

According to Cricket Association of Bengal sources, a considerable amount of grass was shaved off from the pitch this evening after Tendulkar requested Dalmiya on behalf of the Indian team.

"Tendulkar spoke to Dalmiya after India's practice today and requested the CAB chief to cut off the grass," claimed the source.

However, Dalmiya's secretary Kunal Ghosh denied any such development.

"Whole day, he (Dalmiya) was busy with the arrangements of the match. There was no question of meeting Tendulkar," Ghosh said.

Tendulkar mobbed at Kalighat, returns without praying

Kolkata, Feb 13 : Batting genius Sachin Tendulkar's wish to pray at the famous Kalighat Kali Temple remained unfulfilled Saturday after his car was mobbed by a huge crowd and was forced to turn back.

Tendulkar, who had gone to the temple in south Kolkata after the team’s net session ahead of the second Test against South Africa beginning Sunday, could not alight from his car as hundreds of his fans jostled to come near it.

Failing to make passage for Tendulkar, the escorting policemen did not want to take any risks and asked the driver to turn back.

Tendulkar seemed disappointed but kept a smiling face as he waved to the crowd. On every occasion in Kolkata, Tendulkar has visited Kalighat a day ahead of his match.

Later in the day, VVS Laxman offered prayers at the temple.

* VCA felicitates Tendulkar for 20 years in int'l cricket

Nagpur, Dec 7 (PTI) Vidarbha Cricket Association, which is hosting the opening Test between India and South Africa here, today honoured senior batsman Sachin Tendulkar for his feat of completing two decades in the international arena.

Tendulkar, who had made his Test debut in Karachi against Pakistan in 1989, was presented with a miniature silver bat at the end of the second day's play at the new stadium at Jamtha.

Sachin Asked me to Enjoy my Game: Sreesanth

“It was a rare moment of my life when Sachin scored a hundred and I was next to him giving a hug to him. Very honestly after my debut, I always wanted to bat with Sachin.” Sreesanth said, when he was asked, what he felt when he was at the non-striking end when Sachin Tendulkar scored his 44th Test hundred in Chittagong.

“That was the first time I had batted with Sachin. For me to be with Sachin when he scored a hundred was the happiest moment. From the bottom of my heart I told him can I hug you and I hugged him,” he said.

In lighter moments, Sreesanth said, “Hopefully when I score a century next time he (Sachin) will be next to me.” Asked what advice Sachin gave him when he came to the crease in Chittagong, Sreesanth said, “He told me: Sree, just enjoy your game. I know you are excited.

Sachin Tendulkar derives inspiration from Bollywood trio

NEW DELHI: Sachin Tendulkar has been a role model for a whole generation of cricketers but when it comes to deriving inspiration for himself, the Sachin Tendulkar batting great says he looks up to three Bollywood icons.

Tendulkar said the passion and energy that legendary actor Amitabh Bachchan and melody queens Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle put behind their performance make them really inspiring.

"I get inspired by different sources. A powerful speech may inspire me or flawless tennis in a Grand Slam final. You also get inspired seeing the passion in some of the greats. The Mangeshkar sisters (for instance) -- Lataji and Ashaji," Tendulkar said.

"Recently,I was part of an audience where Asha Bhonsle sang. At the so-called old age of 75, she was amazing! Even at this age she was enjoying herself thoroughly while singing. The energy was unbelievable.

"Then Mr Bachchan. I simply love all his movies. Especially that dialogue from 'Agneepath' where he says "Mai Vijay Dinanath Chauhan..," Tendulkar was quoted as saying in 'Sach', a book by Kolkata-based journalist Gautam Bhattacharya.

Tendulkar, along with actor Mithun Chakraborty, had unveiled the cover in Kolkata in December even though the book, brought out by Deep Prakashan to mark the cricketer's two decades in international cricket, was released on Sunday.

Tendulkar was in awe of the Bollywood trio and wondered how they managed to retain their passion after so many years in the industry.

"Mr Bachchan, Lataji, Ashaji -- maybe because they are all from Mumbai that I get to meet them more often. But to me, they are all living inspirations. These are the people who enjoy every moment in their creative lives. They don't want short-cuts. I simply love this attitude," Tendulkar gushed.

"I am also a great admirer of AR Rehman. I felt very proud when he had won the Oscars. We were playing in New Zealand then. From there I had sent him a text," he added.

Tendulkar is assured of cricketing immortality with his mind-boggling collection of more than 30,000 international runs and critics put him in the same league with Don Bradman and Viv Richards.

There, however, is a school of thought which believes using helmet diminishes Tendulkar's aura to some extent but the cricketer himself felt even Bradman would have used it had it been available then.

"I think it is only sensible to use protective gear if you have them in circulation. Twenty years from now there will be some protective gear which I cannot think of today.

"The fact of the matter is that in the past such protective equipments didn't exist. You can only use what you have today, isn't it?" he asked.

Apart from his skill, Tendulkar's legendary focus has stood him in good stead and more than once, he put behind personal tragedies, like deaths of his father, close friend Mark Mascarenhas and patron Raj Singh Dungarpur, and performed upto expectations.

Asked how could he manage that, Tendulkar said, "I cannot answer this, honestly. It is very hard to explain. Something happens inside the ground. Body and the mind takes charge somehow.

"It is very tough and you have to possibly experience it to understand. You have to be very tough and brave to handle such situations," he said.

"When my father died (during 1999 World Cup in England) and I returned home, my family members, including my mother, asked me to go back and play for the country. They said, father would have loved that," added Tendulkar.

Of his contemporaries, Tendulkar spoke highly of Brian Lara.

"I wasn't following Lara's career minutely in that sense to get inspired...But I would certainly watch Brian on TV. He is one of my favourite all-time players.

"Contrary to what people thought there was no rivalry between us. On the contrary we clicked right from the word go," he said.

"We first met in Canada in 1990. We were playing for the Rest of the World against Imran's Pakistan...I remember having a 150-160 run partnership with Brian. Thoroughly enjoyed the experience of batting with him. Watching him from the non striker's end was great," Tendulkar added.

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