Can this match be the moment where Sachin Tendulkar will walk out of the ground with the elusive hundred against his name, asks the author © Getty Images
As Sachin Tendulkar would walk out of the gates to enter the grass in Lord’s with the willow in his hand, it may be playing on his mind that his record at the ground has been abysmal. Abhishek Mukherjee looks at what can be the last opportunity for the man to redeem himself.
Everyone has their Achilles’ heel: even the man with the most international runs and hundreds has the one lacuna in his career — his numbers at Lord’s have been miserable. A career haul of 195 runs at 21.67 from five Tests (though he has reached double-figures in all nine innings) and 45 from three ODIs at 15.00 hardly do justice to a man of his stature: in fact, his highest international score at the ground reads an abysmal 37.
To make things worse, he has not played a lot of cricket at a level lower at Lord’s, either. Surprisingly his stint with Yorkshire never involved a match at Lord’s, and in the only other match he has played at the ground had been against Middlesex in 1996, where he had fallen to Angus Fraser for a paltry seven.
Of course, there was the belligerent 114-ball 125 not out for Rest of the World XI against Marylebone Cricket Club (sounds familiar?) on July 18, 1998: the match, though named Princess of Wales Memorial Match, was played on the 150th birth anniversary of WG Grace — arguably the first superstar of the sport. Sachin Tendulkar had dominated an attack consisting of Glenn McGrath, Javagal Srinath, Allan Donald, Brian McMillan, and Anil Kumble. That match, however, was not given List A status.
Can this match, then, be the moment where Tendulkar will walk out of the ground — the greatest of them all — with the elusive hundred against his name? Sunil Gavaskar had, on his final appearance on the turf (for, as you have guessed, Rest of the World XI against MCC). Can Tendulkar, the man from the same city, of similar physical stature, do the same as well? It may not get his name up the Honours Board, but still…?
(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs at http://ovshake.blogspot.in and can be followed on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/ovshake42)