2007 disappointment strengthened my resolve to win World Cup: Tendulkar

2007 disappointment strengthened my resolve to win World Cup: Tendulkar

Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has said the disappointment of India's early exit from the 2007 World Cup strengthened his resolve to prove many of his detractors wrong.

"The disappointment in the tournament served as a boost to prove many naysayers wrong," Tendulkar said in an International Cricket Council (ICC) article Wednesday in the run up to the 2015 World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, starting Feb 14.

"The most forgettable ICC Cricket World Cup for me has to be 2007 edition in the West Indies. The early exit from the tournament ranks among the worst moments of my cricketing career. We had a fantastic team but it was not to be! My pursuit to be a part of the World Cup winning team continued."

Tendulkar also said that the on realising the much-seeked dream of winning the Cup in 2011 was the highest point of his career as it unified the nation in its celebrations.

"I remember in 2009, I spoke to the media about looking forward to the ICC Cricket World Cup 2011 and 'being able to achieve what we want to achieve'. As the tournament progressed, we did worry our fans in the group stage with our performance but started generating momentum as we entered the quarter-finals," the 41-year-old said.

"In defeating top sides like Australia, Pakistan and eventually overcoming Sri Lanka in the final, India emerged as the first nation to win the World Cup on its home soil. 

"It was even more special as I had finally been part of the World Cup winning team after 22 years of pursuit. The victory in 2011 was the highest point of my career as a nation unified in its celebrations."

Recollecting his memories of the quadrennial mega event from being a 'ball-boy' in 1987 to becoming a World Cup winner in 2011, he said his first century in the tournament in 1996 was special.

"The World Cup 1996 was special as it was jointly hosted in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. My dismissal in the semi-final against Sri Lanka rankled me for a long time as it was the start of a batting collapse, which brought an end to the Indian campaign," the Bharat Ratna awardee added.

"I scored my first century in an World Cup during this tournament and also scored another one against Sri Lanka, the eventual champion, during the group stage. The highs experienced during the group stage came crashing down."

He also revealed that the 1999 edition of the competition was a trying time for him as he lost his father during that time and felt that the loss in the final in 2003 was due to a faulty attitude. 

"The World Cup 1999 was a difficult tournament for me personally as I had to cope with the loss of my father in the midst of the tournament. It was very difficult as I tried to focus on the game in spite of my grief," the battting maestro said.

"The entire team had been playing well and we were extremely charged up to take on Australia in the final. A little too charged up, as we realised, as we lost the final by a big margin! I had a memorable tournament scoring 673 runs in 11 matches - the most by any batsman in a single World Cup. The player of the tournament award I received was little consolation for ending up on the second best side," he noted.

Another World Cup incident which rankled Tendulkar's mind for long a time was his dismissal in the semifinal against Sri Lanka in 1996.

"The ICC Cricket World Cup 1996 was special as it was jointly hosted in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. My dismissal in the semi-final against Sri Lanka rankled me for a long time as it was the start of a batting collapse, which brought an end to the India campaign," said Tendulkar who made his maiden World Cup appearance against England in Perth in 1992.

"I scored my first century in an ICC Cricket World Cup during this tournament and also scored another one against Sri Lanka, the eventual champion, during the league stage. The highs experienced during the league stage came crashing down and we were left to enjoy the brilliant batting of Aravinda de Silva, whose partnership with Arjuna Ranatunga on television set as Sri Lanka won its first World Cup defeating Australia," said the 41-year-old cricket icon.

He said the 1999 edition in England was a difficult tournament for him personally as he had to cope with the loss of his father in the midst of the tournament.
"It was very difficult as I tried to focus on the game inspite of my grief," Tendulkar said.

He said the Indian team of 2003 World Cup in South Africa was probably "a little too charged up" as it suffered a big defeat at the hands of the Australians in the final.
"The ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 was the closest I had come, till then, to lift the coveted trophy. The entire team had been playing well and we were extremely charged up to take on Australia in the final. A little too charged up, as we realised, as we lost losing the final by a big margin!

"I had a memorable tournament scoring 673 runs in 11 matches - the most by any batsman in a single World Cup. The player of the tournament award I received was little consolation for ending up as the second best side," Tendulkar said.  Meanwhile, the Australian media celebrated the fact that their country has become "a graveyard for the careers of visiting captains with Dhoni the latest skipper to end his leadership tenure after a mauling down under".

"The Aussies have long prided themselves on their ability to nullify the opposition captain, believing it is key to gaining a psychological advantage during a Test series," 'Herald Sun' wrote.

The newspaper cited example of England's Andrew Flintoff, Pakistan's Mohammed Yousuf, Sri Lanka's Mahela Jayawardene, India's Anil Kumble and South Africa's Graeme Smith, who all ended their Test leadership after loss in Australia.

Meanwhile, Sydney Morning Herald speculated that Dhoni may not be in Sydney to see the baton formally passed to Virat Kohli with India contemplating sending the former captain home before the fourth Test.

"Dhoni travelled to Sydney with the Indian team a day after shocking the world with his Test retirement, but the Board of Control for Cricket in India are yet to decide if he will remain with the squad," the newspaper wrote.

No longer part of India's Test set-up, Dhoni now has the opportunity to spend close to a fortnight at home to refresh before the tri-series and the World Cup. After Tests, the tri-series, which also involves England will begin on January 18.

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