Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Cricket Lover's Biography - 3

Previously: The Hero Cup'93

India hosted the 1996 World Cup. No surprise the media went gaga about the event. The national dailies were building up the carnival every day. It is in these editorials “India’s Run Machine” hogged the headlines. I don’t think you need any hint to distinguish the player. Honestly, never imagined Tendulkar to become World’s leading run maker at this point in time.

Despite making his debut in 1989, Tendulkar wasn’t the talking point for the first few years. Gradually his exuberance, consistency, courage, style caught the public’s imagination. Kapil once said “During a practice session with school boys, I found lots of them scared to face me. But then one kid was never afraid of my pace or stature and handled my bowling bravely. The boy was none other than Sachin Tendulkar”.

The 1992 World Cup earned Tendulkar a good name. This was followed by the show in Hero cup with the ball. But all these performance subtly hid behind the star value of Azharuddin. Even other youngsters like Vinod Kambli performed consistently. But then every man needs his occasion to rise. It was the year of 1994, not just for Indian Cricket, but for World Cricket, the new Don arrived.

Tendulkar opened the batting for India the first time ever in a series played at New Zealand. On the festival of ‘Holi’, in the early hours of Sunday, New Zealand bundled to a paltry 149. Unfortunately Sidhu could not open the batting due to neck spasms. Since nobody volunteered, Tendulkar was told to open the batting. The target was cheap and the hope of little Sachin seeing off the new ball appeared bright. But what happened in reality was complete contrast. All along it is everyone’s assumption that One Day Internationals are interesting merely in the last 10 overs of an innings. Sachin broke the myth and made the first 10 overs even more exciting that day and forever in World Cricket. The ball was flying to all parts of the stadium and the bowlers & fielders left stranded. Not even an insect moved out of the spot to watch steaming Sachin, is purely an understatement. Finally when Tendulkar got out, he had blasted 82 runs in just 49 balls. Even the crowd did not bother about their side’s worst defeat, but provided a standing ovation for the genius show. At 11 overs New Zealand was 16/2 to India’s 92/1 making the comparison embarrassment. Never in the history before India demonstrated such a massive scoring rate. Finally, India completed the formality in 22 overs.
After the Innings in New Zealand

Many critics wrote off that innings as one time wonder, but Tendulkar proved everyone wrong in his subsequent outings. Today he may be batting with patience and maturity, back then it was always power punch. If any of you this generation cricket fan dumb stuck by Gayle Storm or Sehwag Blitz, then you should have witnessed Sachin in 20’s. The moment the ball left the bat it always raced to the boundary like a bullet. Guess with time he must have realized to conserve energy for a prolonged career. It is a no brainer; Tendulkar became permanent opener for India from then, until that happened (for now we don’t worry about it).

From a string of half centuries, Tendulkar completed his maiden century in the 10th match after becoming the opener. Surely, 1994 is a dream year for him and India. A year the career skyrocketed from pedestrian walk. Mind you, before becoming a opener he had scored 1809 runs in 70 matches with the highest being 84. After becoming a opener, he has now played 450 matches, scoring 18000 runs with the highest being 200*. If you do the arithmetic you will not deny the career skyrocketed.

To put it simple and humble, Tendulkar redefined batting in cricket.

After watching Sachin Tenduilkar in 1994, without an element of doubt, I concluded; 1996 World Cup is ours. The logic, India Hosts the Tournament and the “MASTER BLASTER” scripted almost every victory for Indian Cricket. But then who knew the turmoil will come from Sri Lanka, the team largely a brush off until before the 1996 World Cup.

To be continued…

by Dinesh In the Vision of Bala
PS: I might be taking a short break with respect to continuing this biography


  1. Dinesh I am speechless. I am not able to find words to express my joy. Ur article is superb. It is far more interesting than the one that is written in tamil. I am expecting a lot more from you in the forthcoming episodes.

    One more thing. Shall i copy this article and keep it as an archive for myself?

  2. Glad you liked it. Thx for the appreciation Bala. Feel free to archive.

  3. I started watching cricket from 1994.Definitely wonderful year for sachin.


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