Indian captain Virat Kohli revealed how emotional it was for him and the rest of the Indian team to see Sachin Tendulkar walk away from international cricket after serving the nation for almost 25 years.
Indian captain Virat Kohli recently shared an anecdote revealing how he gave Sachin Tendulkar the most valuable gift he had received from his father. Tendulkar played his last game for India in a Test match against West Indies in November 2013. Kohli, who was relatively new to the Indian setup then, said it was an emotional moment for him and the rest of the team to realise that the batting legend will never play for India again after serving the country for nearly 25 years.
Tendulkar, who is regarded as one of the greatest of all-time, shouldered the expectations of a billion Indians for the best part of his career and inspired a generation of youngsters to take up cricket. Tendulkar had a massive impact on Kohli as a youngster and the current Indian captain dedicated the most valuable thing he had in life, to his idol on the day of his retirement.
Kohli revealed that his father had once gifted him a sacred thread which he kept with him always. On the day of Tendulkar’s farewell, Kohli gave that thread to the legend and told him it was the most valuable thing he could have gifted him. Kohli opened up on the incident in a recent interview with American presenter Graham Bensinger.
“We knew that this is his farewell series, but till the time we got to Mumbai, the last test of the series, last day of that game, is the time that it hit everyone that Sachin Tendulkar was not gonna play for India ever again. Imagine for 25 years there’s one name that’s been a constant in the Indian cricket team and now he’s not gonna be there. All of us felt hollow and empty because there was no one in the team that didn’t look up to him,” said Kohli.
“So that was a very emotional thing for us to process, but his emotion obviously was of a different level at that stage. In front of his people going out like that, the most amazing farewell I have ever seen. Then I remember in the change room, I just felt like paying respect to him. I mean I thought there’s nothing I could ever give him to make him understand what impact he’s had on me, how he’s inspired me,” he added.
Kohli then recalled how he went to Tendulkar with the thread his father had once gifted him and handed it to the legend, who he thanked for inspiring him to take up cricket.
The most special thing I have is a thread. We usually wear threads around our wrists in India. So my father gave one to me which he used to have, just to keep with me. So I used to keep that with me in my bag and then I thought this is the most valuable thing I have, my father gave this to me and I think I couldn’t give you anything more valuable and I just want you to know how much you have inspired me and how much you mean to all of us. This is my little gift,” recalled Kohli.
“I think he understood what he’s done for the young cricketers growing up in this country, and I think it was a pure [reaction]. If someone came up to me tomorrow and said that I’ve impacted their life in a certain manner, I would obviously get very emotional. I know where I come from and obviously he knows his whole life story and his journey,” he added.