Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar was in significant pain during the 2008 CB Series, a tri-nation tournament involving India, Australia and Sri Lanka. Tendulkar was the star of the series, hitting 399 runs, leading him team to a title win as they beat Australia 2-0 in the best of three finals.
However, Tendulkar was battling twin injuries – one he had picked prior to the series when he copped a blow to his rib-cage during an ODI in India and the second a groin issue which he suffered while on the Australia tour.
Robin Uthappa, who was Tendulkar’s opening partner in the two finals of the series, has revealed that the batting legend would wince in pain at times and despite that, he continued to play.
“You won’t believe it, Sachin Tendulkar, I call him paaji – he played with a lot of pain in that Commonwealth Bank series,” Uthappa said on The Grade Cricketer Podcast. “He was not OK physically and he played through a lot of pain. There were times when he would wince in pain. We would ask him if he’s OK and he’ll be like ‘I’m fine’. He would always put the requirement of the team ahead and he would always do that. He played through a lot of pain.”
It was during that series that Uthappa had a chat with Tendulkar, then 35, about how difficult it becomes to maintain the fitness level when one reaches 30s.
Howevr, Uthappa, who was then in his early 20s, discarded the advise of his senior pro but now realises Tendulkar was ‘bang on’.
“I remember we had a conversation with him in that series where he said ‘Robin, it’s so hard to keep yourself fit after 32, 33 and 34, because it gets that much more challenging, Injuries start taking a toll,” Uthappa recalled.
He continued, “I was just 21 or 22 when I had that conversation and I said ‘no paaji, you’re just saying this’. He said ‘Robin, when you’re 35, let’s have a conversation and see if you agree with me or not.’ And today at 35, I want to tell you, he was bang on.”