MUMBAI: Lata Mangeshkar is jubilant about Sachin Tendulkar scoring his 100th Test ton but is unhappy about suggestions that he should retire from the game.
"Why do we this to the best of our artistes and sportspersons," Lata asked angrily.
"Why do we place so much performance anxiety on them? People think it’s been smooth-sailing all the way for me. But I’ve gone through a rough patch in my career. There was a time when I was ready to quit. I fought back. And so did Sachin," she added.
Sachin scored his 100th ton in Dhaka Friday and Lata derided the pressure that was put on him to achieve the mark.
"It was as if the other 99 hundred runs ceased to matter. I have to say, we as a nation do not respect our greatest treasures. Sachin was going through a rough patch. Fortunately, he never gave in to the pressure to score. He continued to go out there and play because he loves the game. I understand that. I too never did what I do because I had to perform. I sang without thinking of how well it would turn out," she said.
"Sadly we steal our sportspersons’ confidence by demanding too much from them," she added.
Ever since Sachin has created the new record, a large segment of poeple including Kapil Dev who led India to its victory in the 1983 World Cup, wants him to take retirment.
But Lata flares up at the mention of retirement for Sachin.
"Why should he retire? Who decides to retire a singer or a sportsperson? Sachin will retire when he wants to."
About the clinching the game Friday, Lata said: "I had a preominition that this could be it. I somehow saw the century coming. I wasn’t surprised when it happened."
Reminiscing about her long association with Sachin, she added: "I first saw him play at Sharjah. I remember a sandstorm hit the stadium. But Sachin stood his ground. He sat there with his cricket togs on waiting for the storm to pass. In him, I saw the determination to excel that I always admire. I remember a few years ago on Sachin’s birthday on April 24 I was invited to his friend Raj Thackeray’s home to meet him. I had taken a figurine of Sai Baba because I got to know Sachin is a Sai bhakt."
A huge cricket fan Lataji’s love for the game goes back to her childhood.
"My father Pandit Dinanath Mangeshkar was a cricket fan. I guess I inherited his love for the game. I remember I watched my first live cricket match at the Brabourne Stadium when I was 15. I sat in the the cheapest stalls with a family friend and clapped like crazy.
"Later many of the cricketers like Veenu Mankad, Vijay Hazare and Sunil Gavaskar were family friends. They’d come home for meals. Once just before a big match, I had invited the Indian cricket team home. I had made gajar ka halwa for them. After they won the match, Dilip Vengsarkar came to my building on Peddar Road and shouted up to my flat that the gajar ka hawla had worked."
Lata is very fond of many cricketers "specially Sunil Gavasakar and Sachin".
"Among the international cricketers Gary Sobers was always my favourite. He would be so confident about his performance that he’d be making plans for after the match even before playing," she added.