Part – II
Like I said in my last post its impossible to list down all Sachin moments !! The joys Sachin has provided to Indian cricket lovers cannot be measured… they are simply way too many, however I am gonna try and point out Ten moments of Tendlya that are most clearly etched in my mind !
1.) He sledged too !!
As surprising as it sounds it is true and though not a lot of people know of this but at one point in life Sachin initiated sledging and the receipient of all people was none other than Glenn Mcgrath !!!!!
It was the knockout world cup in Nairobi with Ganguly the new captain and India was entering a new era, Dada always encouraged his players to talk back to the opponents. Mcgrath was bowling well in the opening overs and Sachin and Sourav were opening and Sachin told Sourav we need to unsettle him and Sachin charged down the track and hit Mcgrath for a scorching boundary down the ground and said something to him. This was unusual for Sachin to say something without being provoked. Next ball Mcgrath was treated again disdainfully and this time again Sachin charged him and the ball went soaring down the ground for six and typically Mcgrath went for a bouncer which was promptly & disdainfully hooked for a massive six that went sailing out of the stadium after which Mcgrath looked at Sachin & Sachin said “@#$@ off and bowl” !!!! I saw his lips on TV and I am sure that were the exact words in his mouth !!!
Mcgrath and Aussies were rattled… though Sachin scored only 37 odd runs but he did the damage psychologically, Mcgrath and Aussies were taken aback by this fiery attitude !!! All along they had only been giving it to the Indians suddenly they were getting it back. This match also marked the entry of Yuvraj who smacked a sparkling 80. But for me this match will always be remembered for Sachin taking Mcgrath by the Scruff of the neck. I have always thought Sachin needed to treat Mcgrath a lot like this. Those 4-5 shots in that match will always remain etched in my memory !
2.) Let me Open !
If ever an injury was a blessing this was it, 27th March, 1994 at Eden Park, Auckland it was Najyot Singh Sidhu who got injured and India were chasing a moderate 146 on a seaming track. Sachin approached Azhar and Ajit Wadekar, the skipper and manager on that tour and asked if he could open.
He also told them if he failed he would never come to them again !!!!
What followed till this day is hair raising for me early in the morning I remember the bold strokes and the mauling the Kiwi bowlers received. Sachin was on an express train and he demolished the Kiwi bowlers and an opener was born !!! Till day I can never forget the exhilaration I felt watching him open and tear the bowling apart !!! That was the beginning of a long journey for Sachin as an Indian opener, a journey that has been most exciting and spell bounding !
3.) The master v/s the wizard
The world has never seen anything like Shane Warne, a leg spinner par excellence a total freak a genius !!! Imagine if a guy who spins the ball 2 feet on any surface comes of all places to India where the pitches are slow and grip and dodgy with the bounce, it can be a batsman’s worst nightmare come true.
The year was 1998 and Mark Taylor’s Australia came to India looking for a test series win that eluded them since many years. In a tour match before the tests Sachin made a double century for Mumbai against the Aussies and Mumbai defeated Australia in a 4 day match !!!!
The first match started in Chennai and I remember how the contest was billed as Sachin v/s Warne and all Indians expected Sachin to smash Warne and in the first innnings Sachin hit Warne for a boundary off the first ball he faced and the crowd was in raptures… before the crowd could settle Warney had Sachin guiding one ball in the hands of Mark Taylor at first slip and you could hear a pin drop in Chennai !!
The wizard cast his spell.. it was ominous… Sachin was out for just 4 !!!!
In second innings India was 77 runs in the arrears, Sachin joined Dravid with India just 44 runs ahead and it was all resting on Sachin’s shoulders.
This innings for me is one of the best I have ever seen against spin bowling. Warne couldnt get Sachin out early and Warne himself claims that he goes around the wicket only when he is in his most aggressive frame of mind. From around the wicket Warne was bowling in the rough in the second innings with the ball spinning almost 3 feet at times. But Sachin in his most aggressive mode would continuously slog sweep Warne over the midwicket fence. This innings was a sparkling effort and the shots in the match were breathtaking and nerve wrecking. I remember all the times I was at tenterhooks and nervous that he is going to hit one in the air and its gonna be all over… but amazingly he scored a 155 not out and there are no words to describe this assault on Warne. This innings won us the Test Match and the tone for the series was set !!!!
Important to note though is that before this match Sachin had practised with Laxman Sivramana Krishnan, former Indian legspinner, after digging up the area outside the leg stump and asking him to bowl in the rough. Just goes to show that inspite of the God given gifts and natural talent the guy is a thinker and above all a real hardworker who will put in all to serve his country !!!!
4.) A team man to the core…
While in Sharjah it was usual for India to lose to Pakistan ever since Javed Miandad struck that six off Chetan Sharma, this stadium was jinxed for India. It was in 1996 in an ODI match when Sachin batted magnificiently for a century and had a big partnership with Sidhu. In the end overs India seem to have lost its way with Sachin out and Sidhu run out.
The Indian skipper then Azhar was feeling very low and promoted even Srinath above him to slog. It was here that Sachin went and sat next to his skipper and reassured him and asked him to just go in and give his best and the pep talk seemed to have done wonders as Azhar went in and bludgeoned the hapless Ata ur Rehman and returned with a 10 ball 29 and India crossed the 300 mark for the first time in ODI’s and finally the jinx in Sharjah was broken !!!! Again a Sachin Century !!!
Sachin was not just a batsman, above all he was a team man, even if you ask Sachin he wants to be remembered as a team man more than a batsman !!!!
5.) The inferno at Sharjah
This innings is one of the biggest memories all around the world about Sachin and I guess everyone knows enough about this. The way Tony Greig would scream when Sachin would pelt six after six of the hapless Aussie bowlers is now permanently stored in the hearts of all cricket fans.
Cricket is a team game… but amazingly these were two innings where an individual simply bludgeoned the opposition lone handedly.
6.) The World Champs Conquered
I dont know how many consider this as an achievement of Sachin, rather lots consider it a team effort. But I am sure for Sachin it was most special to win the Carlton and United series in Australia last year. Not just they win this series but Sachin scored in both finals and I feel this was a very very satisfying performance at the end of a tumultous tour.
The difference in this series though was apart from Sachin all other players in the team played above their potential under a young skipper who is most admired by Sachin himself !
The silver lining of this series was Sachin’s century in the final where he shephered the youngsters around and did not let the hard work go down !!!!
7.) The blitz in Centurion
In the 2003 world cup we witnessed a match that was overly hyped, people didnt mind if India didnt win this world cup but they badly wanted team India to win the duel between the arch rivals. The atmosphere was electric the crowd was amazing and the stage set.
Set 270 odd to win Sachin and Sehwag tore into the Pakistani bowling, while Sehwag went early Sachin smashed his way to a match winning 98. For the masses this was a sensational innings as Sachin smashed the arch rival bowlers Waqar, Wasim & Shoaib was a treat that can be watched over and over again !!!
The celebrations that night were something that I have never seen till date !!!!
8.) Is the ground pretty of my innnings ???
One of the most pretty grounds in the world is the Newlands in Cape town with the table mountain as a back drop. India’s performance in South Africa always has been pathetic however on one afternoon after lunch Sachin and Azhar set about taking the Proteas bowlers to task.
I must say I am yet to see such attack by batsmen in a test match on lead bowlers of an opposition team. While Azhar threw the bat hard Sachin was perfection always in perfect position matching stroke for stroke. Both the guys batted like a dream with each over leaking 2-3 boundaries and the rate at which the runs came with a team that was so much under the hammer in that entire tour was unbelievable.
Sachin in this innings just showed the youngsters back then Rahul & Sourav in the team that there was no demon in the Proteas attack. A fantastic innings on a fast track against 4 fast bowlers !!!
At the end I am sure people must be wondering if the innings was prettier or the ground !!!
9) There is a freak in me too !!!
If I think there is one thing that Sachin has not given proper attention to its his leg spin. He is a very very talented leg spinner and there is a lot of potential there but Sachin has always not given it enough time. As a legspinner Sachin is very very underrated !!!!
I still remember his two wickets in 2001 in Eden Gardens when the team badly needed it. Had India not won that match at Eden Gardens I am sure Indian cricket would not be where it is today.
Another instance was in an Odi at Kochi where Australia was at 203 for 3 in the 31st over chasing India’s 310 run target where Sachin was introduced and he picked up 5 wickets to turn the match.
It was during this time that Warne said that Sachin gave him nightmares… I wonder if some Aussie batsman quietly thanked the fact that Sachin wasnt bowling enough !
I immensely enjoy watching him bowl and unlike his batting where he is in total control of his emotions he shows a lot more emotions when he bowls. There is almost a small kid like excitement in him, he smiles a lot and he gets really hyper when he bowls !!!!
10) If we could bring a smile on the faces of people we would consider ourselves lucky !!!!
The England test match in chennai in a lot of ways was an unbelievably special moment in his 20 year career. The circumstances before that match with the November attacks in Mumbai and the match started amidst glum moments add to that India was set an unlikely 387 in the fourth innings on a fast deteriorating Chennai track.
The going was tough but Virender Sehwag on the fourth evening went hell for leather leaving the English bowlers worried. But when Sehwag fell the score read 117/1. Dravid fell and the score read 147/2 with Sachin walking in… It was Dejavu and it remined of that Match against Pakistan in this very ground when Sachin failed to get India over the line.
In my heart a sinking feeling that its not impossible but improbable, time and again we have been there and not achieved the same in the 4th innings but Sachin had different idea’s and he along with Gambhir, Laxman & Yuvraj sealed the deal for India and chased down a near impossible target !!!!
After the match Sachin who was unbeaten at the end of the match dedicated the victory to the people who lost their lives in the attack in Mumbai. He simply said that if we managed to bring even a small smile on the faces of people we would consider ourselves lucky.
Just goes to tell you Cricket is much more than a sport in India !!!!
These are my favourite 10 memories not in any particular order.
One must keep in mind when discussing Sachin Tendulkar as a batsman that cricket is a team game. Purely from a batting perspective he is the most perfect batsman I have seen. People must understand that for a guy who was born in the subcontinent this man has scored tons of runs in Australia, a true test of a batsman from the subcontinent. He is an excellent runner between wickets a very safe and agile fielder even today at 37, a medium pacer in his early days now a leg-spinner, a former captain and the most dedicated servant of Indian cricket.
There are not enough superlatives in my dictionary to describe Sachin. But I must say this Sachin is a batsman par excellence, the most precious team man and a son India prides upon !!!! May he score many more runs and end his career with the 2011 world cup which I am sure is in his mind !!!!
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