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Sourav Ganguly has confessed in a recent article that Sachin Tendulkar had almost sent him back midway during the 1997 tour of West Indies. Humjee Break-Sheikh looks at the incident.
Remember the “Noel who?” tour of 1997? Well, it turns out that those were not the only uncharacteristic words to have been uttered by Sachin Tendulkar on that tour. Former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly has mentioned another incident of “severe bollocking” from the Little Master in his reminiscences of the legend in the chapter Gifts, Appetite, Game Sense, and Very Little Bengali in ESPNCricinfo’s latest compilation Sachin Tendulkar: The Man Cricket Loved Back.
The incident goes back to the third (and only decisive) Test of the tour, played at Kensington Oval. Chasing 120, India were skittled out for 81 by Curtly Ambrose, Ian Bishop, and Franklyn Rose (VVS Laxman was the only batsman to reach double figures). The Indian team sat dejected in the dressing-room after the shocking defeat in the match. Tendulkar, especially, was absolutely livid.
Ganguly had decided to go up to Tendulkar to change his mood — to make him “think positive” and “to stop beating himself and us up so much.” Tendulkar had responded with the words “go for a run tomorrow morning.” Unfortunately, Ganguly did not turn up for the run, the following morning. To his credit, Ganguly admitted his fault in the article.
It would be apt to quote Ganguly himself on what followed when his captain got to know of his absence: “His [Tendulkar’s] face was almost purple with anger. He told me, in language that cannot be printed, that he was going to send me home and that I should sort myself out because my career could be ending. The thought of being sent home was enough to light a fire under my shoes. I wouldn’t have broken any records, never have, never will, but from the next morning I was up and running.”
Throughout the article, Ganguly has showered accolades on Tendulkar, emphasising on the lesser-known moments and the camaraderie between the most successful One-Day International (ODI) pair of all time. He has also brought out the difficulties Tendulkar had faced while leading India: “He [Tendulkar] led on some very tough tours — South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Australia — and it must be said that he didn’t lose eight in a row.”
(Humjee Break-Sheikh eats, drinks, breathes and lives cricket. Unfortunately, he does not believe in social media.)
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