Sachin Tendulkar turns 41 on Thursday © AFP
Cricket history will have a special place for April 24, 1973, the birth of India’s favourite son and one of the greatest cricketers – Sachin Tendulkar. But there were others with whom Tendulkar shares his birthday with and some interesting achievements as well. Abhiit Banare looks at some interesting moments related to cricket on Tendulkar’s birthday.
Born two years before the Little Master, Kumar Dharmasena is at present one of the finest umpires in the ICC Elite Panel. He was an integral part of Sri Lanka’s 1996 World Cup triumph. A smart off-spinner with a slightly unorthodox action, it was always tough to take him on. With 207 international wickets and a batting average of around 20 from 141 ODIs and 31 Tests, Dharmasena was certainly in the category of a reliable all-rounder. After retiring from international cricket in 2006, Dharmasena was back in three years in a new avatar — as an umpire. In 2012, he was voted as umpire of the year. Just for the record, his full name is a rather imposing Handunnettige Deepthi Priyantha Kumar Dharmasena.
The lesser known Damien Fleming of international cricket was born three years before Tendulkar. There aren’t better ways to start a career than what Fleming achieved in October 1994 against Pakistan at Rawalpindi. The Aussie pacer started off his career with a hat-trick. He dismissed Imran Nazir, Inzamam-ul-Haq and Salim Malik. He was the third bowler after Maurice Allom and Peter Petherick to pick a hat-trick on debut. He almost managed another hat-trick against India in 1999-2000, but Shane Warne played spoilsport and grassed the catch.
Fleming’s presence in the side was inconsistent and retired in 2003. He played 20 Tests and 83 ODIs for Australia — far less than the man with his abilities should have. He was among the few bowlers who were gifted with a smooth rhythmic action. He has also authored a humourous book The Bowlologist.
Mannava Sri Kanth Prasad, fondly referred to as MSK, is a somewhat recognisable face for those who have followed cricket in the 1990s. Hailing from Guntur, Andhra Pradesh, Prasad was a wicketkeeper since his junior days and went on to debut for India against Bangladesh in the Coca Cola Triangular series in May 1998.
Those were days when keepers could average below 20 and hold their place in the team. Prasad had taken Nayan Mongia’s place in the side. Even after last playing for India in 2000, Prasad was a regular in the domestic circuit and even captained his state before he decided to hang up his shoes in June 2008.
Marillier was a true all-rounder: he could not only bat, bowl and field, but could keep wickets as well. He is usually remembered for his quickfire fifty in 21 balls against India in 2002 where he stunned a young Zaheer Khan by scooping him twice in an over behind the wickets for four. Zimbabwe went on to win the match by one wicket with Marillier remaining unbeaten. Marillier played 48 ODIs and five Tests before retiring in 2004.
Fun Trivia: There are statistics which leave you spellbound while others are stitched together to make it look interesting. Sadly, this is the latter. All the above mentioned players made their debut after Tendulkar and their careers ended before the maestro called it quits.
Well, there are certainly more cricketers born much earlier than Sachin on April 24. Tall, lanky England seamer David Larter, wicket-keeper keeper Geoff Humpage, Indian off-spinner Margashayam Venkataramana were all born on this day. Venkataramana played his only test the same year as Tendulkar’s debut — 1989. He made his debut against West Indies, a series where Tendulkar was deliberately kept away to protect from the nasty pacers. William Lawry (1940) — not to be confused with the great Bill Lawry — and Aussie Allen Aylet (1934) were the other two cricketers born on this day.
Sir Jack Hobbs’ First-Class debut
April 24-26, 1905 had witnessed John Berry Hobbs making his debut in a First-Class match for Surrey against Gentlemen of England at The Oval. The first innings was a forgettable one for Hobbs and his team as they folded up for 86. But in the second innings, Surrey had scripted an inspirational fightback with Hobbs scoring a match saving 88 — the highest in the innings. While the world was obsessed over Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th century, it would have sounded ridiculous for Hobbs as he has 199 in First-Class matches and 15 in Tests. Most of his overall records are gigantic enough and one can hardly imagine it to be broken in centuries to come.
Desert Storm Part II (April 24, 1998)
And in case you are about to pelt some eggs for missing out the obvious, here it is, Tendulkar has made the day memorable on the cricketing field when he hit the second of the two Desert Storm centuries at Sharjah against Australia in the final. Tendulkar decimated Warne and co. once again scoring 134 in a historic win for India.
Mahela Jayawardene’s ton in 2007 World Cup semi-final
The last memorable moment on April 24 was Mahela Jayawardene‘s ton against New Zealand which rallied the Lankans to their second World Cup final. Jayawardene scored an unbeaten 115 from 109 balls to help the Lankans score 289. The Kiwis were bowled out for 208. Sri Lanka were eventually beaten by Australia in the infamous final.
Read more here: Happy Birthday, Sachin Tendulkar!
(Abhijit Banare is a reporter at CricketCountry. He is an avid quizzer and loves to analyse and dig out interesting facts which allows him to learn something new every day. Apart from cricket he also likes to keep a sharp eye on Indian politics, and can be followed on Twitter and blog)