Sourav Ganguly on Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin and I go back a really long way. The first time I met Sachin was at an under-14 camp in Indore. We were 13, Sachin eight months younger, and we were there at the camp conducted by Vasu Paranjpe under the aegis of the Madhya Pradesh Cricket Association. Sanjay Jagdale was instrumental in putting the camp together. I first noticed that the curly-haired boy from Bombay just loved to bat. He was the first at the nets and just kept batting. Such was his passion and intensity that Vasu had to eventually pull him out on occasions. Sachin would just bat, bat and bat. At the camp, everyone talked about him, and it was apparent that he was blessed with exceptional talent. He would hold the bat lower than the norm; this would mean he’d not feel the pressure of his heavy bat. He already had all the shots in the book and timed the ball beautifully.

After that first meeting, Sachin had catapulted himself into the national reckoning within a couple of years. He had already scored hundreds at the Ranji and Irani trophies before he was 17. So it wasn’t a surprise that at 16, he was picked for the Indian tour to Pakistan in 1989. I did not watch many of his knocks in Pakistan as I was touring with the Bengal team. However, I watched the one match where he took apart Abdul Qadir. It was a rain-curtailed ODI reduced to a 20-over-a-side exhibition contest. However, when it is an India versus Pakistan match, it can never be not seriously competitive. When Sachin came out to bat, the asking rate had gone well over 10 an over, and India needed a miracle. That nearly happened, thanks to Sachin. He went ballistic and scored 53 of 18 balls, and in the process, hit four sixes to Qadir to all corners of the ground. It was incredible hitting. Once again, it was an announcement to the broader cricket world that he was special. Eventually, India lost by a meagre four runs.

Rohit Sharma on Sachin Tendulkar || Sachin At 50

We again met during India’s tour to Australia in 1992. I was part of the team but wasn’t expected to play the Tests, while Sachin gradually established himself as the team’s premier batsman. Importantly, we were roommates during this tour, and I remember him in Sydney the night before he went on to get his first century in Australia. India was down 0-2, and we needed to play well in Sydney to regain confidence. Sachin just refused to sleep that night. I remember telling him that if he was to play the next day, he desperately needed to sleep. He said he couldn’t and started telling me where he would hit McDermott and the others! By midnight I was asleep, leaving him to his devices. The next day he said to me that he was starved of sleep and that he’d nap on the dining table in the team dressing room at the SCG. He asked me to wake him up at the fall of the next wicket. Sachin was to bat at number six, and I woke him up when Azhar got out. He said he was refreshed now that he’d had some sleep. It was odd how he could sleep on a dining table! He played a terrific innings of 148, not out, and I believe we should have won the Sydney Test.

Anjali Tendulkar on Sachin Tendulkar || Sachin At 50

*Extracted with permission from Simon and Schuster from Sachin@50


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