India suffered a shock exit from the 2007 World Cup after suffering defeats at the hands of Bangladesh and Sri Lanka. The loss hurt the players so much so that Sachin Tendulkar was forced to think about retirement. But he was convinced by none other the legendary Viv Richards to not think about retiring from the game.
In an interview to Mid-day, Tendulkar revealed that the loss left him disheartened and he didn’t leave his hotel room in West Indies for two straight days as he contemplated whether to continue playing.
“We were in the West Indies for two days after we lost, but I didn’t leave my hotel room after we lost.” Tendulkar was quoted as saying by the Mid-day on Thursday.
“I was in no mood to do anything. It was such a massive disappointment that I didn’t feel like doing anything in those two days. It was tough to get that out of your mind and move on to the next tournament,” former Indian skipper added.
After losing the opening game of the tournament to minnows Bangladesh, India recovered to post a big win against Bermuda but lost to Sri Lanka in their final group game to crash out of the World Cup.
“I would call it (March 23, 2007) one of my worst days in cricket,” Tendulkar said. “When you feel you win and end up losing, you are bound to feel terrible. Like the Johannesburg Test (in 1997) when we had to get South Africa out but it rained, the Barbados Test (in 1997) when I was captain and the 1996 World Cup semi-final loss to Sri Lanka.
“There are such instances when you feel really terrible. The 2007 World Cup was obviously not good for us. The first blow was the loss to Bangladesh and then we lost to Sri Lanka. I never thought we would lose to Bangladesh. We were not over-confident, but you do feel confident about India beating Bangladesh. It was one of those uncertainties of the game.”
But what led him to abandon the retirement thoughts was a call from his batting hero Viv Richards who reassured him that such moments are part and parcel of international cricket.
“I was away when I got a call from Sir Viv Richards. He spoke to me for around 45 minutes — about the ups and downs in cricket. He stressed that I have plenty of cricket left in me and said, ‘You are not going to retire now.’ He had heard from a friend of ours that I was really depressed to a point that I was literally thinking of retiring. He told me that it’s only a matter of time that I get back so don’t take any decision now.
“It makes a huge difference when your batting hero calls you. I always looked up to him and Sunil Gavaskar. Sir Viv’s call to me was made at the right time and I got convinced. I then said to myself, ‘Okay, I’m going to abandon these thoughts and start practising again as soon as I return to Mumbai. My brother Ajit spoke to me about the 2011 World Cup, telling me that this trophy can be in my hands. That was the motivating factor and I started chasing my World Cup dream. I trained at 5:30 am and practised in the afternoons,” he said.