Sachin Tendulkar's three unforgettable knocks under extreme emotional stress

Sachin Tendulkar’s unbeaten 140 against Kenya in the 1999 World Cup is considered to be one of his finest and most emotional as it came right after the demise of his father © Getty Images

Sachin Tendulkar’s final Test would be an emotional affair as he would don the India whites for the last time. The presence of his mother — for the first time at a Test match — and extended family would only heighten the emotional quotient. Nishad Pai Vaidya recalls instances where Tendulkar scored big in emotionally testing times.

Sachin Tendulkar has scripted some unforgettable gems under great emotional stress. His 200th and final Test would also be one such game that would test his character one last time in an eventful 24-year-old international journey. It certainly isn’t any other game and the burning desire to do well would be ever so intense. To add to the enormity of the occasion, his extended family would be present at the Wankhede Stadium to watch him.

History is replete with Tendulkar putting personal sorrows behind him to help the nation. Here are three innings under emotionally stress:

1. 140 vs Kenya at Bristol, 1999 World Cup

Tendulkar’s father, Prof Ramesh Tendulkar, passed away after India’s first game at the 1999 World Cup and the master batsman flew back home to attend the funeral. While he was away, India lost their second game to Zimbabwe and needed a shot in the arm to revive their campaign. Tendulkar’s mother sent him back after the final rites as he had a job to do. Having arrived in England, all eyes were on Tendulkar as the world watched an emotionally stoic man.

India’s next opponent was Kenya, not the strongest side, but considering Tendulkar’s pain, it was a test of his character. He walked in to bat at No 4 with the score reading 92 for two. Rahul Dravid, who batted at the other end, was quoted in the book Sach by Gautam Bhattacharya, “I didn’t sense any pain in him while we were at the crease. He didn’t give the slightest hint that he was emotionally troubled. And considering the state he was in, I found that remarkable.”

Tendulkar did go on to score a great hundred and scripted a huge partnership with Dravid that helped India win. When he got to the three-figure mark, his eyes said it all as he looked up to the sky and waved his bat. That practice continued after that day as he first looks skyward to thank his father in Heaven after getting a milestone. At Monday’s ‘Salaam Sachin’ by India Today, Tendulkar’s elder brother Ajit said, “Even if father would have come to life for five minutes, he would have sent Sachin back.”

2. 87 not out vs England at Kanpur, 2002

This innings came just after the death of his agent and close friend Mark Mascarenhas. The WorldTel boss passed away in a car accident a day before the India-England game at Kanpur and Tendulkar was hit by the loss. He told the media, “I am shattered. Our relationship was not of an agent and the client. He was a very, very close friend of mine. He helped me and wished well for me. He was more of a family member to me.”

Tendulkar had grown into a huge brand thanks to the lucrative deal Mascarenhas got him in the 1990s. However, as he said, they were great friends and the fans may recall the sight of Mascarenhas celebrating during the Sharjah Sandstorm innings. To pay tribute to his dear friend, Tendulkar essayed a destructive knock at Kanpur, almost as if he was playing a T20 game. Chasing 219 to win in 39 overs, Tendulkar smashed 87 off 67 balls with 13 fours and one six. The game was won with almost 10 overs to spare. Tendulkar added the finishing touches by sealing the game with a six.

Sachin Tendulkar's three unforgettable knocks under extreme emotional stress

Sachin Tendulkar is hoisted by Yuvraj Singh after leading India to victory over England in the first Test at Chennai in 2008 © Getty Images

3. 103 not out vs England at Chennai, 2008

Tendulkar is very attached to his hometown Mumbai. When the city reeled under the terror attacks, he was shaken. But, in that gloom, England arrived in India to play a two-match Test series, the first game being in Chennai. In the fourth innings, India had to chase 387 and Virender Sehwag smashed 83 in no time. But, when Tendulkar entered the scene at 141 for two, there was still some distance to go. The determined look in his eye said it all.

In the company of Yuvraj Singh, he ensured India crossed the line. The winning runs were achieved when he paddle swept Graeme Swann for four and also got to his ton with that. He immediately dedicated this ton to the people of India. “It is quite emotional too. I would like to dedicate this to all the people of India,” Tendulkar told the media. It came at the same venue where his ton couldn’t help India beat Pakistan as he fell on the brink of victory. This time, there was more to it as the country looked at him for a smile in the face of the brutalities that took place a few weeks before the game. Once again, his ton was a beacon of hope in those dark times and he gave that small relief to the fans.

The three above-mentioned innings bear testament to his exceptional mental strength which is what his fans are hoping will surface to handle the immense pressure on him in his farewell at Mumbai.

(Nishad Pai Vaidya is a Correspondent with CricketCountry and anchor for the site’s YouTube Channel. His Twitter handle is @nishad_44)