By Brad Hogg
The first time I watched Sachin Tendulkar bat was in January 1992 when India and Australia faced each other in the third Test at Sydney. It was his 14th Test and he peeled off 148 not out, and I remember thinking it was Sunil Gavaskar until the volume was turned up on the television. We were having a family gathering with the cricket on in the background that day. What made an impression on me was his solid technique and his height; that made me think that this lad was going to be a world-beater.
In 1996, I was picked to play for Australia on the tour to India and I made my Test debut at Delhi. I’ll never forget the day I first bowled to Sachin. It was October 11, 1996 — my first Test. In retrospect, I feel I should have shown him a little more respect as his legendary status was building. Sachin is one of the most difficult players to dismiss because of his solid technique, patience and the way he values his wicket. It was a war of attrition and more often than not he emerged the victor.
As a competitor, Sachin is a genuine sportsman and he never stopped working to be the best. During, the recent Champions League T20 (CLT20) 2013, I watched him bat in the nets for three hours. That’s a reflection of his professionalism and determination, although he was towards the end of his career.
I tried to sledge him a couple of times during our battles, but my words were met with sheer determination. After a number of encounters, I thought it best to be polite to the legend. The day I was polite was the day I got him out — it was during a One-Day International (ODI) ay Hyderabad in 2007. I went up to Sachin with a photograph — which had the stumps in the frame with the bails on the ground, he was walking off, Adam Gilchrist trying to control my enthusiasm and I was celebrating ecstatically as though the wicket had saved my career. Sachin signed the photo of his dismissal with the words, “Never again mate”. Never a truer word said!
Sachin was a genius at his craft and a crowd magnet. He may be retiring, but he won’t be missed because he will continue to be involved with the game for the rest of his life. For sure, his presence will inspire young cricketers in the future.
It was an honour to play against you, Sachin! We play cricket to get the most out of our abilities and to bowl against you was the greatest challenge of all. Thank you for the wonderful experience!
— As told to Nishad Pai Vaidya
(Brad Hogg is a former Australia international who played seven Tests and 123 One-Day Internationals (ODI). A chinaman bowler, he made a mark in ODIs as he was a part of Australia’s World Cup-winning sides in 2003 and 2007. Having announced his international retirement in 2008, he made a stunning comeback in 2012 at the age of 40 and played the ICC World T20 in Sri Lanka)
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