Sachin Tendulkar felt so “scarred” and “devastated” by the Indian team’s losing streak under his captaincy that he contemplated leaving the game in the late 1990s, the master batsman has written in his autobiography.
In the much-awaited book ‘Playing It My Way’, which will be released on November 6, Tendulkar has spoken about his frustrating captaincy tenure from 1996 to 2000 when he led in 25 Tests, losing nine and winning just four.
“I hated losing and as captain of the team I felt responsible for the string of miserable performances,” Tendulkar wrote in the book, extracts of which were released by the Press Trust of India on Sunday.
“More worryingly, I did not know how I could turn it around, as I was already trying my absolute best. I confided in Anjali (his wife) that I feared there was nothing more that I could do to stem the tide of defeats.
“Losing a string of very close matches had left me badly scarred. I had given it everything and was not sure that I could give even 0.1 per cent more.
“It was hurting me badly and it took me a long time to come to terms with these failures. I even contemplated moving away from the sport completely, as it seemed nothing was going my way.”
Tendulkar, a national icon who played at the top level for 24 years, retired last year as the world’s highest run-getter in both Test and one-day cricket and the only batsman so far to score 100 international centuries.
But it was almost 16 years before he quit that Tendulkar nursed the idea of leaving the game. It followed the tour of the West Indies in 1997 when, after drawing the first two Tests, India were dismissed for 81 in the third Test in Barbados chasing a modest target of 120.
“Monday, 31 March 1997, was a dark day in the history of Indian cricket and definitely the worst of my captaincy career,” Tendulkar writes in the book.
“Frankly, there can be no excuses for such a poor batting effort, even though it was a difficult track. None of the batsmen apart from (VVS) Laxman even reached double figures in the second innings and it was one of the worst batting displays I have been part of.
“The defeat left me totally devastated and I shut myself in my room for two whole days trying to come to terms with the loss. I still feel the pangs of that defeat when I look back at the series.”
The collapse was engineered by fast bowler Ian Bishop who claimed 4-22, while Curtly Ambrose and Franklyn Rose chipped in with three wickets each. The West Indies won the five-match series 1-0.