India’s Commonwealth Bank tri-series win in Australia is still afresh in the memory of ardent cricket fans. The subcontinent team trumped Sri Lanka to face the hosts in the best of three finals. Assisted by Sachin Tendulkar’s 117 in Sydney and 91 at MCG, India sealed the series without needing the third final.
Robin Uthappa, who opened alongside Tendulkar in both the finals, witnessed the resilience and valour of the maestro, who was playing in insurmountable pain throughout the series.
Talking about the same on Thursday, Uthappa revealed that the stalwart would wince in pain but never shied from his forte. Lauding the veteran batter, Uthappa stated that Tendulkar always put the team ahead of his issues.
“You won’t believe it, Sachin Tendulkar… I call him paaji. He played with a lot of pain in that Commonwealth Bank series. He was not ok physically and he played through a lot of pain. There were times when he would wince in pain. We would ask him if he’s ok and he’ll be like ‘I’m fine’. He would always put the requirement of the team ahead and he would always do that. He played through a lot of pain,” Uthappa said on The Grade Cricketer Podcast.
Taking cognizance of his pain, Tendulkar once told Uthappa that it gets difficult to keep oneself fit with age. However, Uthappa was too young to understand the conversation. But now, the 35-year-old admitted that the record-holder was right.
“I remember we had a conversation with him in that series where he said ‘Robin, it’s so hard to keep yourself fit after 32, 33 and 34, because it gets that much more challenging, Injuries start taking a toll. I was just 21 or 22 when I had that conversation and I said ‘no paaji, you’re just saying this’. He said ‘Robin, when you’re 35, let’s have a conversation and see if you agree with me or not.’ And today at 35, I want to tell you, he was bang on,” the Kerala cricketer concluded.
Uthappa was a part of the stalled Indian Premier League (IPL) 2021. The right-hander was keen to score runs, albeit he didn’t get a chance in the playing XI of Chennai Super Kings (CSK).