New Delhi: Indian batting legend Sachin Tendulkar on Tuesday called for inclusion of sports in school syllabuses across the country, saying that lessons learned on the field come in handy even off it. A UNICEF brand ambassador, Tendulkar was in the capital to celebrate the World Children’s Day. “It (sports) doesn’t recognise the colour of skin, know your bank balance, or differentiate between a boy or girl. It doesn’t discriminate. That is best for children. It helps in the overall development,” Tendulkar said during a panel discussion here.

“I realised early that when we had anything do to with sports, I felt excited. It was a stress buster from school. I loved playing TT, hockey, football. The number of lessons that I learnt on the field, I have implemented them off it.” The sense of responsibility and cooperating with teammates were some of the life lessons that Tendulkar recalled learning from his days as an active sportsperson.

“It is all about ownership. For a batter who goes out to bat, he or she looks to own that 22 yard and similarly school kids should look to take decision and responsibility and take ownership of the school. “You have to be fearless but not careless. You have teachers to give direction to your life. Good individuals in the dressing room make a good team. When sports and education go together, it creates harmony. I would like to see sports included in all schools and make it mandatory.”

Asked what are the three things that every school should possess, Tendulkar said: “Equal opportunity to both boys and girls, encouraging kids to take up sports and give importance to Hygiene and sanitation. “When it comes to women’s contribution. We have seen how much they have achieved. Hima Das has become an ambassador and all want to be her. I want to encourage, especially the girl child, to take up sports and bring laurels to the nation.

Emphasising on the importance of hygiene, Tendulkar said: “Hygiene and sanitation in each school should be the focus. There are reports that girls can’t go to school because they can’t use the washroom. We need to change that.”

He also asked the kids to be polite and respect elders. “Being polite is not a weakness, it is a strength. Respect your elders.” The 45-year-old from Mumbai also played an exhibition football match with kids at the Thyagaraj Sports Complex.