Home > Features >

Sachin Tendulkar: Five forgotten gems

Sachin Tendulkar: five forgotten gems
Sachin Tendulkar over his career constructed a trial of monumental knocks bathed in radiant sunshine © Getty Images

As the batting maestro, Sachin Tendulkar, celebrates his 41st birthday, Bharath Ramaraj looks back at some of his knocks that perhaps slipped under the radar.

Over a career spanning 24 long years, Sachin Tendulkar compiled knocks that were nothing less than treasured gems. Those timeless compositions from the bat of the expressionist painter are revered by cricket enthusiasts even now. However, there have also been glorious knocks compiled by Tendulkar that perhaps not many remember. Innings of surreal beauty played during times of crisis.

Let us look at some of those underrated innings essayed by Tendulkar.

 

Taking on Ambrose and Co: 44 at Port of Spain, 1996-97

On a track with variable bounce, India won the toss and chose to bat. Soon, the batsmen found out that it was a treacherous track. Tendulkar though, was the one who stood up to the challenge like an Atlas by playing a wide range of strokes. When other batsmen were struggling to put bat to ball, Tendulkar went about playing horizontal bat shots with gay abandon. He seemed to be coaxing it into gaps on a dicey track. It has to be remembered that opposition ranks had the likes of Curtly Ambrose, Courtney Walsh and Ian Bishop. In short, Tendulkar was batting in a dream-like state.

Unfortunately, just when Tendulkar was about to construct a soul-lifting masterpiece, he became a victim of a horrible decision. Even though the ball hit the shoulder and the catch was taken by Courtney Browne, he was ruled out by the umpire, Eddie Nichols. It was not the first time that he was at the wrong end of a terrible decision, and it was certainly not the last. The likes of Rahul Dravid and Navjot Singh Sidhu fondly rekindle memories of that excellent innings.

Taming Donald: 111 at Johannesburg in 1992-93

When India toured the Rainbow Nation in 1992-93, Tendulkar did not have the best of times as he kept getting starts only to lose his wicket. But in the Test match played at Wanderers, Johannesburg, he rose up to the challenge and played an incandescent innings.

Up against the likes of Allan Donald, Brian McMillan, Craig Mathews and company, he showcased wonderful balance to rock onto the back-foot and pierce gaps through the off-side with needlepoint precision. It was an innings where he used the true bounce on offer to great effect. It just shows Tendulkar’s immense ability to adapt to different conditions.

Standing tall amidst ruins: 97 at Mumbai in 1999-2000

By the dawn of the new century, India found themselves in depths of despair. They were whitewashed by Australia 3-0. To make it worse for the champion batsman, there was pressure on him. as he was the captain of the setup too.

When formidable foes South Africa arrived on the shores of India, they were expected to steamroll a side that was wallowing in mediocrity. With critics baying for his blood, Tendulkar walked out to bat at his home ground, the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai. On a turning track, Tendulkar started his innings rather sedately, before exploring every nook and cranny of the ground.

Despite losing wickets at regular intervals, Tendulkar kept his nerve. In fact, South African spinner, Nicky Boje was turning the ball surprisingly square and Tendulkar had to use every trick in the trade to keep him at bay. He was the eighth man out with the score reading 173 for the loss of eight wickets. Tragically for Tendulkar, he couldn’t complete his century and India lost the Test match.

That first World Cup win against Pakistan: 54 at SCG in 1991-92

When India meet Pakistan in any tournament or a bilateral series, there is sizzle of heightened anticipation. In the 1992 World Cup game played at SCG, arch-rivals India met Pakistan in a crucial encounter for the first time in the history of the tournament.

The 18-year old Tendulkar walked into bat with India struggling to up the ante. Tendulkar proceeded to play an innings of hypnotic beauty to lift the sagging spirits of Indian team. He was quick to rock onto the back-foot to play short-arm pulls against slow left-arm of Aamer Sohail and the leg-spin of  Mushtaq Ahmed. With his flashing blade, he picked the length so quickly that Pakistani camp had no answer to it. India went onto win the game and Tendulkar played a key role in helping India script a famous victory.

Changing the complexion of the Test

West Indies, still undefeated in a series for a decade-and-a-half, had arrived in India in 1994 sans their strike bowler Ambrose, and captain Richie Richardson. Yet they had enough depth in the line-up to give the hosts a run for their money. In the first Test match played on a sporting wicket at Wankhede Stadium, the match was in a balance when India started their second innings.

Soon India was reduced to 11 for the loss of three wickets with Walsh and Kenny Benjamin bowling sustained short pitched stuff. Riding on Tendulkar’s brilliance though, India were able to engineer their way to a sizeable lead. Tendulkar played with poise and equanimity during his innings. Some of those back-foot punches were surreal to say the least. Here, one has to give credit to Sanjay Manjrekar as well for holding fort at the other end. The partnership stitched between Tendulkar and Manjrekar turned out to be the turning point of the game, as India won in the end by a convincing margin.

Tendulkar over his career constructed a trial of monumental knocks bathed in radiant sunshine. The above mentioned innings may not be rated very highly by cricket pundits, but if we scratch the surface, underneath, one can see that he played them during times of crisis.

Read more here: Happy Birthday, Sachin Tendulkar!

(Bharath Ramaraj, an MBA in marketing, eats, drinks and sleeps cricket. He has played at school and college-level, and now channelises his passion for the game by writing about it)

India tour of England 2014

Jul 27, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Southampton

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 6, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Galle

India tour of England 2014

Aug 7, 2014 (15:30 IST)   at Manchester

South Africa in Zimbabwe, 2014

Aug 9, 2014 (13:30 IST)   at Harare

Pakistan tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Aug 14, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 100 runs

South Africa tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Jul 24, 2014  at Colombo

Match drawn

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 22, 2014  at Bulawayo

Afghanistan won by 2 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 20, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 8 wkts

Afghanistan tour of Zimbabwe, 2014

Jul 18, 2014  at Bulawayo

Zimbabwe won by 6 wkts

Photos

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test

Videos

Shaun Udal on India vs England 3rd Test

South Africa win series against Sri Lanka 1-0 ; move to No 1 in ICC Test rankings

India vs England Live Cricket Score 3rd Test Day 2 at Southampton: India end Day 2 at 25/1, trail by 544 runs

12 little-known facts about Garry Sobers

Pankaj Singh and other Test cricketers from Rajasthan

Mike Griffith: My choice of Mike Gatting as President of MCC was all about timing

Alastair Cook England England vs India England vs India 2014 India India tour of England 2014 India vs England India vs England 2014 South Africa South Africa tour of Sri Lanka 2014 South Africa vs Sri Lanka South Africa vs Sri Lanka 2014 Sri Lanka Sri Lanka vs South Africa Sri Lanka vs South Africa 2014

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: Ageas Bowl Day 2 Session 3

India’s many dropped catches at slips against England

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: India trail by 544 at stumps on Day 2

Moeen Ali sports wrist bands while batting that says “Save Gaza” and “Free Palestine”

Shikhar Dhawan dismissed by James Anderson late on Day 2 of 3rd Test between India and England at Southampton

Moeen Ali wears ‘Save Gaza’ band: Other cricketers who have made political statements on the field

India vs England 3rd Test at Southampton: Jos Buttler’s blitz, Ian Bell’s century and other highlights from Day 2

India’s many dropped catches at slips against England

South Africa: The fourth innings champions

Sourav Ganguly – Jagmohan Dalmiya saga: A timeline

Fan of the Day

Fan Cricket

Fan Cricket

11 Posts | 2 Fans

Brazil vs Netherlands, 3rd place Fifa World Cup 2014 match Video Highlights

Rafael to miss rest of Man Utd’s tour of the USA with groin injury

Entertainment song Teri Mahima Aprampaar: Udit Narayan’s rendition reminds you of old Akshay Kumar songs!

India’s many dropped catches at slips against England

Prevent Diabetes Tip – get regular health check-ups

“F**k You, Xiaomi” – A great price for a great phone isn’t enough if you don’t respect your customers

Spotted: Kareena Kapoor in a stunning avatar during Singham Returns promotions!

India vs England 2014, 3rd Test at Southampton: India trail by 544 at stumps on Day 2

OnePlus One headed to India: Here’s why it is a flagship killer

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here