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SV Sunil: Sunil played on despite father's death (4/15/2009)
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Tendulkar inspired Sunil to play on despite father's death

PTI Wednesday, April 15

New Delhi: Hours before the start of Azlan Shah Hockey tournament SV Sunil got the news of his father's death but the Indian forward opted to stay with the team, a decision he says was inspired by Sachin Tendulkar, who played the 1999 cricket World Cup after a similar tragedy.

India had its first encounter against Egypt, slated for April 5 and on the night of April 4 Sunil's father SM Vitthalcharya passed away.

Coach Harendra Singh and all the teammates advised Sunil to return to his family in India but the forward line player not only stayed back but played an important role in India's title victory in Ipoh, Malaysia.

"Coach Harendra Singh got that news over phone. For a moment I thought of going back home but then I felt if I left the team mid-way, my father's soul would not get peace as it was his dream to see me develop as a good player."

"Somebody told me about Sachin, who played the cricket 1999 World Cup when his father died. He struck a hundred after returning to England and that inspired me," Sunil said.

Sachin's father professor Ramesh Tendulkar had passed away during the World Cup.

The Indian cricketer returned to India for the last rites, skipping the match against Zimbabwe, and then struck a 101-ball 140 against Kenya in the next match.

Sunil said after the victory he struggled to hold back his emotions and tears rolled down his cheeks at the ground.

"When the captain and coach dedicated the win to my father, I could not control my emotions. I started weeping. Then all the teammates huddled around me, gave me hugs and thanked me for being with the team."

"I will never get what I have lost but by playing well, I wanted to realise the dream of my father. I want the Indian team to win an Olympic gold yet again and want to contribute in that win," Sunil, who has played 20 international matches for India, said.

Sunil, a constable with Indian army, also said that he never bothered about monetary gains and picked up the hockey stick because of his passion for the game.

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