Cricket-Tendulkar had 'sleepless nights' before matches due to anxiety

FILE PHOTO: Cricket - MCC v Rest of the World - Lord's - 5/7/14 Sachin Tendulkar at the end of the match Mandatory Credit: Action Images / Steven Paston Livepic

(Reuters) - Indian batting great Sachin Tendulkar said he struggled with anxiety for more than 10 years during his playing career and had many "sleepless nights" before matches.

The former India captain retired from the professional game in 2013 after notching a still unmatched 100 international centuries in a prolific 24-year career.

"Over a period of time I realised that besides preparing physically for a game, you have to prepare yourself mentally also," Tendulkar said on Sunday while addressing an online session on e-learning platform Unacademy.

"In my mind, the match started long before I entered the ground. The anxiety levels were very high.

"I felt the anxiety for 10-12 years, had many sleepless nights before a game. Later on, I started accepting that it was part of my preparation."

The 48-year-old said that to calm his nerves he made tea, ironed his clothes and prepared his kit bag a day before the match.

"It is normal for anyone to go through ups and downs and when you hit those lows you need people around," he added.

"Acceptability is the key here. Not just for the player, for people around him also. Once you have accepted you start looking for solutions."

Last month, Tendulkar was released from a hospital in Mumbai a week after he was admitted when he contracted COVID-19.

(Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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