It's been 20 years since Sachin Tendulkar made his debut for India, but the desire and hunger to keep performing hasn't diminished one bit. What keeps him going? Who are his heroes? Where does the motivation come from?
"I don't need anyone to come to me or motivate me or prepare me before a big game," Tendulkar said in an exclusive interview. "I've always been motivated and I love this sport. I grew up loving this sport and as each day goes by, I fall in love with this game more and more.
Tendulkar said he continues to play because he remains motivated."The desire to go out there and win matches for my nation is growing, and it continues to grow," he said. "I'm proud of the fact that I've been able to play for 20 years and I'm still motivated, and I still want to go out there and do better."
Tendulkar revealed that his batting style was a "lethal combination" of the solidity of Sunil Gavaskar and the fierce strokeplay of Sir Viv Richards.
"Sunil Gavaskar, needless to say, and Vivian Richards are the batsmen that really inspired me," he said. "I wanted to be as solid as Sunil Gavaskar and as destructive as Vivian Richards, because that combination was always going to be lethal. I felt truly inspired by these two individuals on the field."
Tendulkar traced his insatiable appetite for runs to his formative years.
"If I scored a hundred in a school match, I would start thinking about how I could go a step further in the next match, get 150 runs. But if I failed, that would give me sleepless nights," he added.
The master batsman owed his success just as much to his team-mates, and said how important working as a team was to him.
"Team work for me is practising together and also trying to get the best out of each other," he said. "That can only happen if you go out of your way to help your team-mate. You must be prepared to sacrifice for your team-mate, which will eventually end up giving a positive result for your team."