The world is no stranger to Sachin Tendulkar’s feat as a batter, but not many are aware of the Master Blaster’s incredible fitness levels. That Tendulkar was able to play 25 years and remained at the top of his game was because he was able to push himself and his body through more rigours than anyone else. Through his career, Tendulkar had to undergo numerous injuries but the nature of those notwithstanding, he was able to come back stronger on each occasion and perform even better. Think of the back injury Tendulkar sustained in 1999 – after recovering from it, Tendulkar changed his batting approach slightly but was equally effective. Later, when Tendulkar was hit with a career-threatening tennis elbow, another change in pattern followed but runs continued to flow. Such was the greatness of Tendulkar.
Virender Sehwag, who played all his cricket for India with Tendulkar, explained in detail Tendulkar’s dedication towards fitness. Long before MS Dhoni revolutionised this concept and Virat Kohli took it to the next level, Tendulkar was quietly going about it. Understanding the need to evolve every step of the way and everytime a new generation of cricketers came around, Tendulkar pushed himself. From the 1990s when Sourav Ganguly and Rahul Dravid burst on to the scene to early 2000s when Indian cricket saw the rise of Sehwag, Yuvraj Singh and even Virat Kohli, Tendulkar knew if he had to survive, he would need to take care of his body better than before.
“Why do you think Sachin Tendulkar was able to play for so many years? It’s because each year he kept thinking what new can I add to my batting or I can become better. If I can’t add in batting, I should maintain my fitness in such a way that I can convert 100s into 200s. When we came in 2000s, he would concentrate on fitness more than us. Later, in 2008 when Virat Kohli came in, Sachin would compete with him. He paid more attention to fitness than him,” Sehwag told YouTuber Ranveer Allahabadia on his channel ‘Beer Biceps’.
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The former India opener and Sachin’s opener would go on to narrate an incredible tale of Tendulkar’s freakish strength. Back in the day, weight training wasn’t as common for Indian cricketers as it is today, but whatever little Tendulkar used to do, went a long way in prolonging his career. However, one such training method left Sehwag in absolute awe of Tendulkar’s hulk-like strength.
“I will tell you an incident. Once we were in a gym and there were dumbbells ranging from 1 kg to 20 kg. We had to pick up each and flex our wrists 10 times. After doing it for 5-6 times, I didn’t have the strength but Sachin did it without stopping from 1 to 20 kgs and then back from 20 kg to 1 kg. It was an exercise for his forearms so he could lift his heavy bat and didn’t tire. We couldn’t go beyond 5kg. So just imagine. By then he had scored already 10-15000 runs and scored some 70 centuries. Why did he need to do all this? Because he knew that if he could keep his body fit, he could play even longer. He was able to play till 40 because he was the fittest in our group.”
Besides, there was one more incident which Sehwag isn’t sure of as he hasn’t seen it with his own eyes, but if true, promises to add layers to Tendulkar’s aura even further. “I have not seen this but only heard that his house was on the 10th floor so he used to run up and down the stairs and used to do it 100 times a day. With that kind of running, the power he was able to generate in his legs would be unbelievable,” added Sehwag. “He was playing since 1989. In 1999, he had a back problem; after that he began weight training a lot after which it never occurred to him.”
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