MUMBAI: Sachin Tendulkar has chosen to ring in his 47th birthday quietly in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and its horrific after-effects, but he chooses to look at the bright side of things even in a lockdown scenario as he has more time to spend with family.
“I am cooking, cleaning the house, watering the plants. This lockdown has allowed me to be with my kids (Sara and Arjun), who’re now both 20-plus. It’s difficult for them to stay at home in the evenings. They want to catch up with their friends and do their own things. However, this lockdown has allowed both me and Anjali (his wife) to spend time with them. Similarly, my mother is also getting more time with me,” Tendulkar told TOI in an interview. It’s time to reflect for his company, SRT Management too.
“This is about giving back to people in whatever way we can, which is important. We’re also planning something for future. We’ve also been able to pass on messages from our government on a number of important issues.”
Tendulkar is renowned for having a computer-like memory and remembers every dismissal of his. So, for a change, we decided to put the Master Blaster on the spot and get him to recall some of his memorable bowling efforts. After all, he did take a trip to Chennai’s famed MRF Pace Academy to become a pace bowler.
VS WEST INDIES, TRI-SERIES, PERTH: 1991, A TIE-TANIC AFFAIR
Defending 126 on a bouncy WACA, India ran out of all their four pace bowlers’ quota by the 40th over. In desperation, skipper Mohammad Azharuddin threw the ball to Tendulkar to bowl the 41st over. Anderson Cummins and Patrick Patterson were the last pair. The 18-yearold had Cummins caught by Azhar at first slip of the last ball of the over. Windies finished at 126, and the match was tied.
“Patterson had played an on-drive off the previous ball. Subroto was standing at mid-on and Pravin Amre was at midwicket. The batsmen could’ve taken the fourth run, because both Amre and Banerjee were cramping. I was screaming: ‘Save one run..you never know. They managed to save that run. Next ball, I got Cummins out,” he said.
LAST-OVER HEROICS IN HERO CUP SEMIS VS SA, KOLKATA, 1993
India made 195, before restricting South Africa to 193 for nine, to sneak a two-run win. With the Proteas needing just six, Tendulkar bowled the last over of the match. “I started the over by bowling to (Brian) McMillan. There was a run out. Then, I bowled three dot balls to Allan Donald. Then, the next ball he hit to long on for a single. Then, the last ball I ended up bowling to McMillan,” remembers Tendulkar. Bowling the 50th over of the match all of a sudden wasn’t easy. “It was a cold November night in Kolkata. Since I hadn’t bowled at all, my hands were freezing. I took a good two-three minutes to warm-up. And then, it was about mind games – reading each other’s mind, what they’re looking to do. I didn’t want to give Donald any pace at all. I knew that McMillan was their main striker. Donald was never going to hit a boundary. He would try for a single. And if I bowl seamup, then it would be easier for him to hit me. So, I tried to keep the ball slow and mix my pace,” he recalled.
Tendulkar would contribute in the final too, castling Brian Lara (33).
LEG-SPIN TO RIGHTIES, OFF-SPIN TO LEFTIES IN KOCHI VS AUS, 1998
Chasing 310, Australia were cruising at one stage, before Tendulkar took 5-32 to help India win by 41 runs. “They were well-placed at 180 for two in the 28th over when I came into bowl. At that time, a left and a right-hander were at the crease. I decided to bowl leg spin to right-handers and off spin to left handers. I had planned it with Nayan Mongia (wk).
“Since Michael Bevan was stepping out even before the ball was bowled, I indicated to Mongia that ‘if he steps out, I’ll bowl outside leg stump.’ And it actually happened that way. It was one of those days when my leg spin was landing at the right spot and I got the ball to turn and bounce quite a bit,” he said.
ANOTHER FIVE-FOR IN KOCHI: THIS TIME VS PAK, 2005
Kochi proved to be second-time lucky for ‘spinner’ Tendulkar. On April 2, 2005, he took 5-50 to bowl India to an 87-run win over Pakistan in the first ODI of the series. Chasing 282, Pakistan had slumped to 64-4.
“My spell was crucial. I thought I should experiment. So, I went round the wicket to bowl all my overs to the right-handers. Because I was getting the ball to turn quite a bit, I thought I would bowl wide and make them sweep. A wrist spinner always gets bounce on the Kochi wicket. So, I knew that if I could get bounce, there was a good chance that the batsmen might top-edge the ball while looking to sweep. I was able to do that.”
TRAPPING STEVE WAUGH AND MARTYN, ADELAIDE, 2003
While Rahul Dravid (233 & 72*) rightly got all the accolades for winning that Test for India, Tendulkar chipped in with the crucial wickets of Australian Steve Waugh and Damien Martyn in the second innings as Australia were bowled out for 196. Coincidentally, both were brilliantly caught by Dravid in the lone slip. “In the second innings, we had got four early wickets, and there was a 65-run partnership between Waugh and Martyn for the fifth wicket. Then, I was able to get both of them. Because I was able to get turn, I wanted to tempt them into driving. If Anil (Kumble) was bowling, they’d have possibly blocked the ball, but with a part-time bowler, there’s a temptation to do that. Since I don’t bowl long spells, I’ve a license to experiment.”
WHEN A GOOGLY FOXED MOIN KHAN IN MULTAN, 2004
Replying to India’s mammoth total of 675-5 declared, Pakistan were cruising when Tendulkar came to bowl the last over of Day Three. He bowled a flummoxed Moin Khan with a superb googly. “There were a lot of mind games played before that. I kept telling him that I’m going to toss the ball up. He responded by saying, ‘If you do that, I’m going to hit you for a six.’ I said: ‘I challenge you to hit me for a six.’ It wasn’t abusive stuff. I knew that he was preparing himself to pad the ball or leave it, because I was getting the ball to turn. I had two catching fielders at slip and gully. I thought I’ll bluff him by bowling a googly and kept an extra slip. He wasn’t expecting it and was bowled.”
TRIPLE STRIKE VS AUSTRALIA AT EDEN GARDENS, KOLKATA, 2001
While VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid and Harbhajan Singh are rightly recognized as the heroes of that famous victory in the second Test against the Aussies, few remember that Tendulkar had pitched in with 3-31 in the second innings as the Aussies were all out for 212 and India recorded a famous 171-run win. The little genius’ victims were a well-set Mathew Hayden (67), Adam Gilchrist (0) and Shane Warne (0) – all three of them plumb lbw! “You know, I wasn’t supposed to bowl, because we had limited overs to bowl the Aussies out. Hayden was batting well. We needed to change Bhajji’s end. I came on purely for that. That’s when I picked a wicket, and another wicket, and then another wicket! So, I continued bowling,” he said.
SOME CHEER IN A HEARTBREAK VS PAKISTAN, CHENNAI, 1999
While everyone remembers Tendulkar’s masterly 136 against Pakistan in the fourth innings at Chennai in January 1999 in a futile chase, the great man reminds you of what else he did in that game. “I dismissed Inzamam-ul-Haq and Mohammad Yousuf in the second innings. Inzamam actually got out a few times to me,” Tendulkar said, beaming proudly.
Source : timesofindia