Sachin Tendulkar's 10 most memorable shots

Sachin Tendulkar is set to retire after the India-West Indies Test series © Getty Images

Sachin Tendulkar has enthralled his fans with many breathtaking shots that have been a feature of his 24-year long career. Nishad Pai Vaidya recounts some of the most memorable shots played by the Little Master.

Sachin Tendulkar had every shot in the book being the complete batsman he was. Although, he could essay any stroke from the coaching manual, there were a few instances where a particular shot defined him as a batsman. These strokes are proof of his mastery, craft and sheer class. To pick a few great shots from a 24-year long career was like searching for a needle in a haystack, but there was something about them that made them stand out from the rest.

Here are some of the most memorable shots Tendulkar played during his career:

  1. Shoaib Akhtar upper-cut for six, India vs Pakistan, 2003 World Cup

The stage was set for the master to dazzle. India were meeting their arch-rivals after almost three years and that too in the world cup. Having confessed to spending sleepless nights in the lead-up to the game, Tendulkar was charged up for the contest. In the second over of the match, the fast Akhtar ran in to deliver the usual thunderbolt. However, he bowled it short and wide out-side the off-stump. Tendulkar was on his toes and reached for it with the horizontal bat. The ball hit the middle and sailed over third-man into the crowd. That shot signaled his intentions and altered the balance of things. In a high-voltage encounter, it lit up the stage and had a psychological impact on the opponents.

  1. Andrew Caddick pulled for a massive six, India vs England, 2003 World Cup

The 2003 World Cup saw a determined Tendulkar walk out to bat. England’s senior bowler, Caddick had famously said that Tendulkar, “is only human.”  If you get on his wrong side, Tendulkar sets off on a mission. As Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar gave India a good start, the latter picked Caddick for some treatment. When the right-armer pitched a ball short, Tendulkar was already in position having walked across his stumps. He then murderously pulled high over square-leg as it left the Kingsmead arena. Caddick was made to eat his words!

  1. Helicopter shot, India vs England, Natwest Series 2002

The famous Helicopter Shot is attributed to Mahendra Singh Dhoni. Long before the powerful Dhoni burst on to the scene, Tendulkar had essayed that trademark shot during a Natwest Series encounter against England in 2002. Tendulkar moved back to a fast-bowler, got his front-foot out of the way and wafted the bat as the ball sped away to the mid-wicket boundary. He played a similar shot during his only T20 hundred while playing for Mumbai Indians.

  1. Paddle-sweep off Graeme Swann, India vs England, 1st Test, Chennai, 2008

Tendulkar has played this shot innumerable times, but the moment is what makes it significant. The country was mourning the horrifying terror attacks in Mumbai, when Kevin Pietersen led England into India for a two-match Test series. Chasing 387 in the final innings, India were put on course by a Virender Sehwag’s pyrotechnics. But, when Tendulkar entered, he still had a job at hand. His calm century in the company of Yuvraj Singh took India to victory. With four needed for a win and Tendulkar on 99, he moved across the stumps and paddle swept it fine for four. The arms went up in the air and the emotions were felt. That special knock was dedicated by the master to his city.

  1. Brett Lee treated to a destructive straight drive, Australia vs India, Melbourne 2008.

Tendulkar’s straight drive was all about touch and finesse. He would merely dab it and the ball would race down the ground to the ropes. However, on this day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, he was in a different mood. A chipped cover-drive went for four first and Lee was hardly impressed. The next ball, Lee pitched it full and a little outside the off-stump. Tendulkar’s bat came down in a flash and absolutely bludgeoned it back past Lee into the boundary ropes. The fielder inside the 30-yard circle had hardly moved when the ball was near the fence; such was the power in that single stroke. To put a cherry on top of the cake, Tendulkar followed it up with that perfect push for four.

  1. Glenn McGrath pulled for six, India vs Australia, ICC Knockout, Nairobi 2000

When two fierce competitors and adversaries clash, sparks are bound to fly. Tendulkar is usually quiet, but this time, he chose to have a go at McGrath and told him, “I’ll hit you out of the ground.” Initially, Tendulkar edged one and it flew over third-man for six. McGrath pitched it short later on and Tendulkar swiveled to pull him behind square for a massive six.  “Let me tell you who is boss,” said Tendulkar’s bat. McGrath could do nothing but walk back to his mark.

  1. Michael Kasprowicz carted at Sharjah, India vs Australia, Coca Cola Cup, Sharjah 1998

The year 1998 was about Tendulkar vs Australia. This particular shot came during the famous sandstorm innings when India needed to reach a certain score during their run-chase to secure a berth in the final. After a quite start, Tendulkar unleashed his fury. He danced down the track to Kasprowicz even as the bowled pitched it short. But, Tendulkar was seeing it like a football that year and carted it into the mid-wicket stands. No wonder, Shane Warne had those nightmares! Such was Tendulkar’s form. Top add to Kasprowicz’s agony, he pulled the next one for another six; although he waited at the crease to pull it.

  1. Shane Warne smashed out of the rough, India vs Australia,  Coca Cola Cup, Sharjah 1998

Tendulkar had dominated Warne in 1998. The leggie was trying to attack Tendulkar by coming from around the wicket and exploiting the rough. At the other end, Tendulkar did everything — slog sweeping over mid-wicket, waiting on the crease to hit it through the off-side. However, one shot that stood out was when he charged down the wicket to Warne at Sharjah and lofted him for six over long-on. Tendulkar reached to the pitch of the ball and got underneath it perfectly. Warne looked stunned and just waved his hands in frustration.

  1. Glide over third-man off Brett Lee, Australia vs India, Perth 2008

When you are up against one of the fastest bowlers in the world on the quickest surface, the chances are that you would be defensive. However, Tendulkar impressed at Perth in 1992 as an 18-year old and was ready to take the challenge when he returned as a veteran in 2008. Some said his reflexes were slowing down; not until they saw this display. Lee pitched it short and Tendulkar moved away as if he was letting it go. All of a sudden, he poked at it with the full face of the bat, giving it a ramp over third-man to collect four. If you bowl fast, I’ll use your pace!

  1. Backfoot cover-drives, England vs India, Manchester, 1990

Tendulkar’s first Test hundred came in trying circumstances as India were trying to save the game at Manchester. The 17-year-old batted with great maturity and also showed his fearless side. Throughout the innings, there was one shot he kept playing and mesmerised the crowds with that display. If the England bowlers pitched it on a good-length just outside the off-stump, Tendulkar rocked back and pushed it through the covers. It was about balance, technique, class and timing.

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