Monday, 25 April 2011

Sachin Greets Wheelchair-Bound Army Jawans

The video conference between Tendulkar and soldiers from the
Paraplegic Rehabilitation Center in Khadki, Pune
Just two days before his birthday on Sunday, despite being in the middle of the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) tournament, cricketer Sachin Tendulkar did not turn down the opportunity to interact with a large group of wheelchair-bound soldiers in Pune.

In fact, Tendulkar had a big match against the Chennai Super Kings, later in the day (which his team Mumbai Indians won). While Tendulkar could not visit the Paraplegic Rehabilitation Center in Khadki, Pune, due to his IPL commitments, he interacted with the soldiers via videoconferencing (VC).
The interaction, which will be telecast on TV today, lasted for 25 minutes and around 50 soldiers participated in it. When the VC began, Tendulkar was the first to greet the other party, and fired the first salvo. He asked, "Where do you get the strength to fight for the country from?" One member replied, saying, when they go to the battlefield, they don't think about themselves but the country.

When it was the turn of the soldiers, one of them stated that in India, every child wants to become a Sachin Tendulkar. Tendulkar smiled and pointed out that every child has a dream, which is either to become a painter, teacher, cricketer or a soldier. "Parents should support their dreams and children in turn should reciprocate and give their best," he added.

From then on, all the questions focussed on Tendulkar's career. One of the soldiers asked why Tendulkar chose cricket, when as a child he was interested in tennis. In response, Tendulkar revealed his fascination for tennis icon John McEnroe and his never-say-die spirit. "I have always been fascinated by McEnroe because he hated losing. Even today, I catch up on some of the old matches he played at Wimbledon. I joined cricket because I received support from my brother and coach. Thankfully, it was not a bad choice," said Tendulkar, drawing smiles from everyone.

By the end of the interaction, Tendulkar promised to visit the centre once he found time from his cricketing commitments. According to Tendulkar, he is not only keen to visit the centre but also share a food and a game of basketball with the soldiers.