Virat Kohli has revealed why the team decided to give Sachin Tendulkar a lap of honour after India won the 2011 World Cup at the Wankhede Stadium. The sight of MS Dhoni launching Nuwan Kulasekara into the stands to trigger joy among the people of India makes for one of the most iconic moments of Indian cricket, but an equally powerful image was that of Tendulkar being carried on the shoulders of his teammates as the India great won his first World Cup in five appearances.
Kohli, who was part of the World Cup winning campaign, explained how after winning the title, the team felt they owed the lap of honour to the great Tendulkar, for his relentless efforts and numerous contributions towards Indian cricket. Tendulkar had come close to winning the World Cup a couple of occasions before that, when India lost to Sri Lanka in the semi-final of the 1996 World Cup and seven years later to Australia in the final of the 2003 edition in South Africa.
At 37, it was going to be Tendulkar’s last World Cup and the batting great bowed out in style, scoring 482 runs from nine matches at an average of 53.55, including two hundreds and two half-centuries. With that, Tendulkar took his runs tally in World Cups to 2278 runs, which is the most by any batsman.
“My feeling was first of gratitude that we had won the World Cup. I felt absolute joy,” Kohli told teammate Mayank Agarwal in a video chat uploaded by BCCI. “But invariably everyone’s feeling was centred around paaji (Sachin Tendulkar) because we knew this was his last chance to win the World Cup. Whatever he had done for the country for so many years, number of games he has contributed to India’s winning cause.”
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The epic night of April 2 had become even more special with these lines from Kohli, “He [Tendulkar] has carried the burden of the nation for 21 years. It is time we carried him on our shoulders.” Looking back at it, there probably wouldn’t be a thing Kohli would have done differently, considering the impact Tendulkar has had on many like him who back then were still trying to find their feet in international cricket.
“He has given us all motivation and inspiration to so many other kids in India. This was a gift from all of those people to him, because he kept giving, giving, giving for India for so many years before this,” Kohli said.
“This was his moment that all the hard work is fulfilled. We all felt that. I thought what better way to realise his dream at his home ground and get a lap of honour. So, we felt like this is the ideal thing to do for him, and we went ahead and did it.”
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