“Felt anxiety for 10-12 years, had many sleepless nights before a game”


Indian cricketing great Sachin Tendulkar has revealed that he battled anxiety for 10-12 years of his career. Sachin Tendulkar often had sleepless nights before matches and took to things like shadow batting to keep his mind occupied.

Tendulkar is rated amongst the greatest cricketers to have ever played the game, and broke numerous records in an international career spanning 24 years.

In an interaction organized by Unacademy, Tendulkar opened up on how he dealt with anxiety for a major part of his career. The former cricketer stated:

“I felt the anxiety for 10-12 years, had many sleepless nights before a game. Later on I started accepting that it was part of my preparation. The I made peace with times I was not able to sleep in the night. I would start doing something to keep my mind comfortable.

That “something” included shadow batting, watching TV and playing video games in the wee hours of the day. Even making his morning cup of tea helped him prepare for the game.

“Making tea, ironing my clothes also helped me prepare for the game. I would pack my bag the day before the game, my brother taught me all of it and it became a habit. I followed the same drill even in the last match I played for India,” Tendulkar added.

The 48-year-old admitted that being mentally ready for a game is as significant as being physically prepared. He elaborated:

“Over period of time I realised that besides preparing physically for a game, you have to prepare yourself mentally also. In my mind the match started long before I entered the ground. The anxiety levels were very high.”

Mental health of players has been in greater focus of late, with players locked in constant bio-bubbles owing to the ongoing battle with COVID-19.

When you hit those lows, you need people around: Sachin Tendulkar

During the interaction, Sachin Tendulkar stated that any player is bound to go through ups and downs. At such times, it is important to have the right people around you. He said:

“When there is an injury, physios and doctors examine you and diagnose what is wrong with you. Same is the case with mental health. It is normal for anyone to go through ups and downs and when you hit those lows you need people around. Acceptability is the key here. Not just for the player, for people around him also. Once you have accepted you start looking for solutions.”

Sachin Tendulkar also recalled how a hotel staff in Chennai helped him correct a flaw in his game. He revealed:

“That person got me dosa in the room and after keeping it on the table, he offered an advice. He pointed out that my elbow guard was restricting my bat swing, which was actually the case. He helped me address that issue.”

Sachin Tendulkar retired from international cricket in 2013, having played 200 Tests and 463 ODIs in which he amassed 15921 and 18426 runs respectively.


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