Sachin has enthralled his legions of fans with many a great innings in the ten years that he has played cricket. We take a look back of some of these superlative innings that have earned him the fan following of millions.
Memorable Moments in ONE DAY INNINGS
1] 27th March 1994, India vs New Zealand, Eden Park Auckland: It was the first time Sachin opened the innings in ODI’s. Opener Navjot Singh Sidhu got injured and although India were chasing a small victory target of 146 no batsman was willing to open on a seaming Eden Park wicket. But Sachin took the responsibility of opening the innings. And what a happy accident it turned out to be as he smashed 82 off 43 balls. Describing this knock Sachin said “Such innings’s are possible only once in a life time. It was like a dream.”
2] 15th April, 1996: India vs Pakistan, Sharjah Pakistan have always had an edge over their arch rivals at the desert venue and 1996 was no different. India had lost both their games one to Pakistan and the other to South Africa. In a must win game Sachin Tendulkar displayed guts and determination in plenty and smashed a brilliant hundred. He shared a wonderful second wicket partnership of 232 runs along with Navjot Sidhu and helped India to a total of 305. Incidentally, it was the first time that India scored in excess of 300 runs in a one day match.
3] 22nd April 1998: India vs Australia (“Sandstorm innings”), Sharjah “The best innings he has ever played” is how commentator Ravi Shastri described Sachin’s performance on that eventful, emotionally draining and nerve jangling day at Sharjah. India were playing Australia who after batting first put up a massive 283 runs putting the Indians under pressure. India needed to win the match to qualify for the finals of the Coca Cola Cup or end up 30 runs short of the Australian score in order to get a back door entry into the finals and pip the Kiwis. After losing four quick wickets a struggling VVS Laxman came in to join Sachin and the Indians seemed to be staring defeat in the face, needing more than a run a ball in the remaining 20 odd overs. As if things were not bad enough then a massive sandstorm came in from no where and interrupted the game for about half an hour. The target was readjusted and India needed to get 237 in 46 overs and the asking rate became more steep – India were asked to get 94 runs in 87 balls. But before he resumed his innings Sachin assured Indian team coach Anshuman Gaekwad by saying, “Don’t worry, I’ll be there till the end.” Such was his confidence and determination. He smashed the first ball off Michael Kasprowicz for a six and then almost like a man posessed made 143, taking India into the finals of the Coca-Cola Cup. India lost the match by 20 odd runs but that superb knock helped India have one more crack at the Aussies in the finals on Sachin Tendulkar’s birthday.
4] 24th April 1998 India vs Australia (“Happy Birthday Sachin”) Finals of the Coca Cola Trophy, Sharjah: The crowds at the Sharjah, had come with banners wishing Sachin a happy 25th birthday along with their intense desire to see him play another one of those blinders and take India to victory. Sachin didn’t disappoint them. Australia had put up a huge target of 273 and that meant India had quite a chase on their hands. Before the Indian innings began noted Australian commentator Greg Chappell made a telling comment. He said, “Sachin will be feeling just a little bit drained from his previous effort and the weight of the entire Indian population will be on his young shoulders.” He was right but Sachin went about his task with clinical precision and made 134. He unleashed some of his breathtaking strokes and power only after he had ensured that India were well on the road to victory. After depositing Aussie paceman Michael Kasprowicz on to the roof of the Sharjah stadium, noted TV commentator Tony Greig said, “This little man is the nearest thing to Bradman there’s ever been.” Sachin ended up sweeping almost all the awards after India emerged victorious. He also won an Opel Astra for his efforts at Sharjah an award which he dedicated to his wife, on his 25th birthday.
5] 29th May, 1999 India vs Kenya (“This one’s for you dad”), India vs Kenya, Bristol: Sachin Tendulkar’s 140 not out in the match against Kenya said a lot about the temperament that the litle champion possesses. India were under pressure to win the match to stay in contention as they had lost their previous two games to South Africa and Zimbabwe. Sachin had not taken part in the match against Zimbabwe as he had to return to India because of the rather unfortunate death of his father. However he made it a point to return to England for the World Cup. His hundred against Kenya is still talked about as one of the great knocks of all time simply because of all the pressures (most of them non-cricketing) he was under.
6] 31st March, 2000 India vs Australia, Indore: (Sachin’s creates history by becoming the first batsman in the history of limited overs cricket to score 10,000 runs.) Sachin came into the third one day international at Indore after he had slammed a rapid fire 35 and 32 in his previous two knocks at Bangalore and Pune respectively. He was rather unfairly criticised by some sections of the media who thought he batted irresponsibly. However the moment he walked in to bat at Indore one could see the determination on his face and one could almost anticipate a hundred from the Bombay Bomber. Sachin did not disappoint and he pulverised the Aussie bowlers and hammered his 28th one day hundred. Sachin’s inns of 139 off just 125 deliveries can easily be rated as one of his best one day inns as he was at his innovative best and he often played strokes that were cheeky to say the least. During his inns he also achieved the distinction of becoming the first player to reach the landmark of 10,000 runs in one day internationals. It was indeed a fine treble for Sachin as he reached 10,000 runs, slammed his 28th ton and he also helped India post a comprehensive win to take a 2-1 lead in the 5 match series. He rightly won the man of the match award for his stunning exploits.
Memorable Moments in TEST MATCHES :-
1] 10-14th August 1990: 2nd test India vs England, Old Trafford Manchester: Sachin Tendulkar got to his first test hundred when he drove Angus Fraser past mid off for 3 runs and aged 17, became the second youngest player in test history to score a hundred after Mushtaq Mohammaed of Pakistan. However that knock had much more significance than just being his first test hundred. It helped India save a match that looked all but lost as they were tottering at 183/6 before tea chasing a victory target of 408 runs. Sachin who scored an unbeaten 119 to win the man of the match award. Manoj Prabhakar too played an important hand in helping India salvage a draw.
2] 2-6th January 1992, 3rd test India vs Australia, Sydney: Sachin holds the record for being the youngest batsman to score a hundred on Australian soil when he scored a superb 148 not out against Australia at the picturesque Sydney Cricket Ground. “Each and every stroke deserved to be stood up and applauded,” commented Aussie commentator Bill Lawry describing Sachin’s knock.
3] 1-5th February 1992 5th test India vs Australia, Perth: “It still remains my best test match innings,” said the man himself in a recent TV interview about his hundred on a fast and bouncy wicket at the WACA ground in Perth. On a pitch where batsmen of more experience and higher pedigree struggled against the pace of McDermott, Hughes, Whitney and Reiffel, Sachin who was still only 18 but fresh from his Sydney hundred played a gem. He coped with the pace and bounce quite easily and stroked his way to a beautiful hundred. Although his knock could not help India avoid another humiliating defeat it still remains one of the best knocks ever played at the WACA. After he got to his hundred, celebrated Aussie commentator Richie Benaud said, “It’s a great pity that an innings which deserved a crowd of over a 100,000 is being watched by a such a small crowd.”
4] 6-10th March 1998, 1st Test India vs Australia, Chennai. The Gavaskar-Border trophy between India and Australia was billed as the Warne vs Tendulkar series by fans and media alike, not surprising considering the reputation of the two great stars and their attacking instincts. But after being stripped of the Captaincy, Sachin batted like a man posessed almost out to prove a point. He was dismissed by the champion leg spinner for 4 in the first innings playing an ambitious stroke but in the second innings he decided to make amends and launched into Warne from the first delivery he bowled. India were trailing by 70 runs when they began their second innings and they needed a quick fire innings from some one if they had to make a match of it. His 155 not out in the second inns on a track that afforded sharp turn and bounce helped India win the test match. Says Ian Chappell about that inns, ” I will always remember that Chennai test match for a lot of good things but I will never forget for as long as I live the moment when Shane Warne came around the wicket for the first time and Tendulkar deposited him over the mid wicket boundary.”
5] 28 Jan to 1st Feb 1999, 1st test India vs Pakistan, Chennai: It was the first time that India and Pakistan were playing a test match on Indian soil for 12 years and the first ever test series between the two countries since 1989. Sachin was dismissed for a duck in the first inns by off spinner Saqlain Mushtaq. But Sachin more than made up for it by scoring 136 in the second inns and almost took India to an unlikely win. India were 82/5 in their second essay chasing 271 to win. Sachin battled back spasms and a pumped up Pakistani team with a superb blend of defence and attack. He carried on and when India were just 17 runs away from their target he fell victim to Saqlain again. His wicket gave the Pakistanis a new lease of life and they polished off the lower order to complete a thrilling 12 run win. That was the first time fans saw Sachin wince in pain on a cricket field and although he won the man of the match award it was little consolation for Sachin who broke down in the dressing room after he saw India being beaten from a seemingly winning position.
It’s not just his willow that speaks:
It’s not just Sachin’s willow that has enthralled Cricket fans the world over, he has also made telling contributions with the ball. Who can forget the dramatic last over that he bowled in the semi finals of the Hero Cup against the South Africans at Calcutta on that dramatic evening on November 24th 1993 in front of a packed Eden Gardens at Calcutta? The Springboks needed just 6 runs to win off the last over and Skipper Azharuddin was in a dilemma as to who should bowl the last over. Kapil Dev with over 400 test wickets and 200 ODI wickets would have been the obvious choice but the legendary all rounder was for once not game to take up the challenge. Sachin who was only 20 then literally snatched the ball from his skipper’s hands and with clever variations in pace and movement denied the Springboks a win.
He also picked up 5 wickets in the first match of the Pepsi Cup at Kochi against Australia on April 1 1998 to win the man of the match award.
Sachin also made telling breakthroughs in the second inns of the Kolkata test against Australia in the recently concluded series and picked up 3 wickets to give Harbhajan Singh the much needed support from the other end. Of course he also picked up his 100th one day victim when he dismissed Steve Waugh in the last one dayer at Goa. So he is the only member of the joint 100 wkt and 10,000 run club. And that is an awesome record which will take some beating.
First batsman to score 50 hundreds in international cricket
When he became the first batsman to score 50 hundreds in international cricket, Sachin Tendulkar established himself as the greatest of all Indian cricketers. Recognised by Sir Donald Bradman as his modern incarnation, Tendulkar has a skill – a genius – which only a handful have possessed. It was not a skill that he was simply born with, but one which was developed by his intelligence and an infinite capacity for taking pains. If there is a secret, it is that Tendulkar has the keenest of cricket minds. At times in a Test series he looks mortal. But he learns every lesson, picks up every cue, dominates the opposing attack sooner or later, and nearly always makes a hundred. His bravery was proved after he was hit on the head on his Test debut in Pakistan, when he was only 16; and his commitment to the Indian cause has never been in doubt. If captaincy – or rather the off-field management of men less skilled than himself – was beyond him at his first attempt, his reading of the game, and his manifold varieties of bowling, have shown the same acute intelligence. His cricket has been played in the right way too, always attacking, and because he knew that was the right way rather than because he was a child of the one-day age, as he himself modestly said. The awe of opponents was as great as that of crowds. But the finest compliment must be that bookmakers would not fix the odds – or a game – until Tendulkar was out.
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