Sachin Tendulkar | Photo: PTI
New Delhi: India great Sachin Tendulkar has revealed the inspirational message he gave to teammates ahead of their cut-throat semifinal clash against Pakistan at the 2011 ICC Men's Cricket World Cup.
It doesn't get much bigger than an India versus Pakistan clash at an ICC event. The match was played in India during a home World Cup and a spot in the championship game was on the line.
The 2011 World Cup semi-final clash between the arch-rivals was much more than the battle between bat and ball. Among the thousands in the PCA Stadium in Mohali were the Prime Ministers of both countries, who were in attendance to witness the two teams clash for the first time in India in ODIs since 2007.
Tendulkar recalled the incredible build-up to the match.
"It wasn't exactly a lighter moment, because it was the semi-finals of the World Cup in 2011. India was playing Pakistan. Both the Prime Ministers were going to be there. So it was very, very tight security," ICC quoted Tendulkar as saying.
"We got to the ground and the normal routine is, you know, once you get to the ground, you have pre-match lunch and then you go out on the field for your warm-up sessions and then slowly, slowly get in the game," he added.
"Because of security reasons, you know, our food hadn't reached the ground, and the whole team was agitated. The whole team was like, 'Lunch kidhar hai? Where is our lunch? You know, this is the World Cup semi-finals, we need to prepare ourselves', and all that.
"And that continued for a while. Even when we went on the field for our warm-up session, there were still a couple of guys thinking about it," Tendulkar said.
The leader that Tendulkar was, he used this as an opportunity to rally the troops and fire the team up for the big occasion.
"So we were in a huddle, and that's when I spoke briefly. I said, 'The world is not bothered whether we've had our pre-match lunch or not. This is the World Cup semi-finals. If you are so hungry, show the world how many runs you can score or how many wickets you can pick. That is what they're interested in. Nobody is interested in knowing whether you've had your lunch or breakfast. None. This is the World Cup semi-finals. Go out there and express yourselves'," he added. (ANI)