After Anil Kumble's stirring act of bravery in the Test series, it was the turn of Sachin Tendulkar to put the team above everything else as the star batsman admitted he batted in pain during his 65-run knock in the deciding one-dayer against the West Indies yesterday.
Tendulkar, who played a surprisingly sedate innings scoring mainly through singles in the 70-ball knock, also said it was the shoulder pain which restricted him from playing the big shots.
"There were few shots which I couldn't play at all. I knew for sure to play big shots was impossible," said Tendulkar, who had an ice pack banded together on his left shoulder, as he addressed reporters at the post-match press conference.
Tendulkar top scored in India's innings of 260 and also took Brian Lara's prized wicket in his three-over spell for 20 runs to win the man-of-the-match award.
"Knowing the condition I was in, I preferred to nudge it around and stay till the end," said Tendulkar "I preferred to keep picking singles."
Tendulkar, who missed Saturday's game because of the shoulder affliction, said it was a difficult decision for him to play the final game.
"It was a difficult decision because I didn't want to let down the team. If I play I should be able to contribute. If I break down, then I shouldn't be there. It was a tough decision and I wasn't sure what was going to happen," he said.
The champion batsman said he also didn't want to miss the chance to play his part in such a crucial game for India. "It was the final opportunity and we were so close to winning the series I felt I should push myself."
Tendulkar said it was a new experience for him to come at number four. "It is a different experience. I have to change my game. Now basically I've just got to try and stay till the end. Sometimes one needs to play big shots but generally on an average I would like to stay till the end."
The maestro said it was a late decision for him to come at number four batting first since the team management had originally said he would bat at number four only if India were chasing a target.
"Saurav (Ganguly) came and said 'I think you should bat at number four, what do you think about it?' I said it was pretty okay," he said adding "wherever the team wants me to play, I would be available".
The one-day series victory was very thrilling for him as it had come after a gap of three years. "Victory abroad gives more satisfaction. We were thrilled about it. I thought we played well as unit, we fielded well though we not exactly up to the mark."
Tendulkar also looked back at his overall performance during the long tour with mixed feelings. "Overall I played three decent innings in the Test series."
Tendulkar had a sequence of 0, 0, 8 and 0 in the Test series before he came up with knocks of 41 and 86 in the fifth and final Test.
"I had this bad patch after a long time and I hope I don't get it again," said Tendulkar.
Tendulkar said he was disappointed the team couldn't draw the Test series after being 1-0 up.
"I thought we could have drawn the series. We had an opportunity in Jamaica and we missed out on that. I was
pretty disappointed with it."
Tendulkar brushed aside any anxiety on the issue of his shoulder and said it should be okay within next five-six days. "We are now looking forward to the tour of England. Both sides are playing good cricket so it is not going to be easy," he said.
India is to leave for England on June 18 where it is scheduled to play in a triangular tournament with Sri Lanka as the third team and then stay back to play four Tests.
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