Home > Features >

Why Yorkshire was the ideal county for Tendulkar in the Championship

Sachin Tendulkar © AFP
Sachin Tendulkar during his Yorkshire stint © AFP

Several eyebrows were raised when Yorkshire had eventually decided to sign up their first overseas player in 1992. On April 22 Sachin Tendulkar was named an honorary Life Member of the County. While floodgates had opened up for the Club, Tendulkar had also been benefitted from the stint. Abhishek Mukherjee explains why Yorkshire was the best possible choice for Tendulkar in the Championship.

Yorkshire was never your archetypical Championship club. Even during the Golden Age of cricket leading up to World War I, when cavaliers like KS Ranjitsinhji and Victor Trumper had lit up the antipodes with inimitable panache, when Gilbert Jessop pelted taverns with sixes and flames sparked every time Fred Spofforth ran into bowl, the scoreboard read 32 without loss at lunch on Day One when Yorkshire batted in the gloom of Bramall Lane.

It has been said that the Yorkshiremen did not approve of a batsman playing a positive stroke in the first hour of a Roses match; hitting a boundary was considered sacrilege; heads were shaken; disapproving noises were made; the erudite men, looking forward to a day’s keen, intense contest, refused to endorse a light-hearted approach to the sport. Cricket, to them, was the essence of life: defeat was never an option. When the Australians toured England, a tour match at Bramall Lane was always an extension of the Ashes.

 

It was under similar circumstances that Sachin Tendulkar had been brought up under the tutelage of Ramakant Achrekar in his early days; there were days when he had been pillioned by the coach on his scooter immediately after he had been dismissed: where was the nearest match being played?

He had to give up the privilege we have all take for granted: staying in the secured refuge of our parents; he stayed with his uncle, being fed by his aunt when his eyes had drooped shut out of sheer exhaustion; he had given up what were probably the finest days of his life; he could have been as carefree as any of us, chasing girls and bunking classes.

Instead, he chose not to.

Cricket, you see, was not merely a sport for him: it was synonymous to life.

There may have been greater batsmen even if you discard The Boy from Bowral; some refuse to acknowledge him as a match-winner; some debate on his greatness over Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting; he, just like most other greats of the sport, have had his own share of brickbats.

What even his greatest critics acknowledge, however, is the undying passion with which he played the sport. He hated getting out, even as a child; he wanted to bat, and bat, and bat, and had to be forced into giving his bat up despite being dismissed.

Little did he know that he was following the footsteps of legends like Jack Brown, John Tunnicliffe, David Denton, Herbert Sutcliffe, Maurice Leyland, Len Hutton, and Geoff Boycott — not to speak of Wilfred Rhodes and George Hirst — all of whom had placed a significant price tag on their wickets;they hated getting out as much as the little kid from Bandra did.

Yorkshire has clinched 31 Championship titles (agreed, they had shared the 1949 title with Middlesex), the proverbial mile ahead of Surrey (19 titles including one shared); it will not require a Bill Frindall to find the uncanny resemblance to Tendulkar’s performance in terms of volume of runs and hundreds compared to the others.

It was not about the numbers, though: it was about the attitude. Tendulkar could be carefree at times, but he hated getting out no less than a Sutcliffe or a Hutton or a Boycott. When Ramachandra Guha had called Bombay “India’s Yorkshire” in Wickets in the East he had not made a statement in the passing: it was Bombay that had produced men like Vijay Merchant and Sunil Gavaskar, men to whom getting out was nothing short of sacrilege.

Had Brown and Tunnicliffe opened batting for Bombay they would certainly have been classified as khadoos. It would have worked the other way round as well.People would have flocked to Bramall Lane from Leeds or Bradford or York or Kingston-upon-Hall or Middlesbrough or Huddersfield to watch him bat.

And enjoy his unwillingness to get out. In his teens.

And when he would eventually get set and Yorkshire would have been in a place of relative safety, he would have brought out his trademark shots: the bowler’s-back-drive, the shuffled flick, the back-foot punch through cover, the paddle-sweep, the slog-sweep, the violent hook. One can visualise a grim-faced Yorkshireman taking a puff in his pipe and telling his neighbour: “Ye know, tha’ lad can bat.”

Read more here: Happy Birthday, Sachin Tendulkar!

 

(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

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (14:30 IST)   at Colombo

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

More

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 22, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Dambulla

Match abandoned without a ball being bowled

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 21, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 87 runs

Photos

Australia vs South Africa, 3rd ODI at Canberra

Videos

SL vs Eng: Buttler practices wicketkeeping in nets

Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014, 2nd ODI at Chittagong: Highlights

Australia vs South Africa 2014, 5th ODI at Sydney: Highlights

Quinton de Kock’s century in vain as Australia register two wicket win over South Africa

Saeed Ajmal: 99 per cent bowlers will fail 15 degree test

Tamim Iqbal, Anamul Haque register second-highest opening partnership for Bangladesh in ODIs

Australia Australia vs South Africa Australia vs South Africa 2014 Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 India New Zealand Pakistan South Africa South Africa tour of Australia 2014 South Africa vs Australia South Africa vs Australia 2014 Zimbabwe Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh 2014 Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

Virat Kohli: I’m always focussed and very competitive

Cheteshwar Pujara: I’m well prepared for Australia tour

Ravi Shastri, Duncan Fletcher miss India’s first tour game in Australia

Indians vs Cricket Australia XI, 1st tour game: Aussies fumble to 159/7 at tea

IPL 2013 spot-fixing and betting scandal: Supreme Court hearing on Mudgal panel to resume today

Myth Busting — did Sachin Tendulkar’s rate of scoring become slower in the second half of his career?

Single-wicket cricket match between John Grange and James Sadler lasts three days

Bill Ashdown and Bert Wensley beat a team of 11 all by themselves

Rohit Sharma, Suresh Raina in interesting tussle ahead of India’s Test series against Australia

Vijay Hazare Trophy 2014-15: Robin Uthappa, Yuvraj Singh, Manish Pandey will get another chance to impress in final

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

681 Posts | 6 Fans

Video Highlights: Virat Kohli vs Australian cricketers

Watch Free Live Streaming & Telecast of Indian Super League (ISL) 2014 Football 37th Match between Kerala Blasters FC vs Atletico de Kolkata

PK Tharki Chokro making: Rancho aka Aamir Khan and Munna Bhai aka Sanjay Dutt shake legs to this folk number

Simbu-Hansika’s Vaalu slated for Christmas release!

Yeh Hai Mohabbatein: Will Raman and Ishita help Mihika with her plans?

Alibaba to launch its Taobao marketplace in international markets: Reuters

8 reasons to add rosemary to your diet

eBay India ‘Black Friday’ sale kicks off today

How many calories do bananas have?

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here