Former Indian batsman and cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar shared his experiences during his first tour of Australia in 1991/1992 as an 18-year-old. Tendulkar elaborated on how the India Vs Australia matches proved to be crucial to his career, helping him understand player dynamics in an international environment, and how it changed him for good.
As a young 18-year-old boy who showed promise, this tour was Tendulkar’s shot at proving himself to his team mates and his country. And he did. The young Master Blaster scored two centuries during the Test matches, cementing his position in the India squad and jumping on the radar of several international agencies.
In the India Vs Australia match, Tendulkar was wielding his bat against Australian bowlers Craig McDermott, Merv Hughes, Mike Whitney and Paul Reiffel. “They were top-class bowlers and I had grown up watching them. From being a ball boy in 1987-88, suddenly in 1991-92, I was playing against them. I knew that once I was out there competing, no one was going to look at my age,” Tendulkar said in a video posted on his YouTube channel.
“They were going to do all possible things to get me out, to send me back to the dressing room. And I was ready to face those challenges. That particular tour changed me as a player. It taught me a lit. Not just technically, but mentally… how to approach a big game.”
Reminiscing his century at Perth, where Tendulkar scored a brilliant 114 at the fiery WACA surface, the former batsman revealed he discovered an interesting nugget while he batting. Primarily a front foot batsman, Tendulkar altered his gameplay and showed a lot of maturity to get on top of the bowlers mentally.
“People talk about steep bounce and pace. Steep bounce and pace mean that the good length area for the bowler becomes small. It becomes that much tougher for the bowler to find that ideal spot. So if the batter goes out to bat with a positive approach… looking to score runs and just keep blocking, there are many scoring opportunities,” he said.
“I looked at it that way. Early on it was about getting on top of the ball, but as time went by, my thinking evolved. I thought why do you always have to get on tip off the ball. When there is no third man, you can get under the ball and use their pace. If they falter on the shorter side, I would go over slips, or gully, and even if I don’t get it right because of the pace and bounce, it was going to carry.”
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While his first India Vs Australia experience was a memorable one, Tendulkar recently also shared an interesting story behind his famous uppercut shot during the 2003 World Cup. The 2003 World Cup saw two stellar teams, and a legendary rivalry unfold between India and Pakistan. India’s best, Sachin Tendulkar, was facing Pakistan’s best, Shoaib Akhtar. It was intense, entertaining and unforgettable. To this day, fans still remember Sachin Tendulkar’s iconic uppercut to Shoaib Akhtar during the 2003 World Cup. It’s forever etched in cricket history, and in the minds of everyone who witnessed it.
Recently, though, the Master Blaster himself shared a surprising story behind the shot. In a recently held Q&A session with his fans, Tendulkar revealed that he instinctively took the shot, and that he never practiced it in the nets.
A fan asked, “#AskSachin did you practice upper-cut shot or just instinct when your playing”
“It happened in 2002 in South Africa, when we were playing a Test match in Bloemfontein. We were batting first and Makhaya Ntini was bowling around the off stump as he normally used to bowl short of a length. He rarely bowled length deliveries. Since he used to run wide of the crease, I could sight the line.
“The South African pitches offer enough bounce. The normal tendency to deal with those bouncers is to go top of the bowl. And if it bounces more than usual for somebody of my height, why not get under it and still be aggressive and attacking,” Tendulkar shared in a YouTube video.
“That was something I felt. Instead of getting on top of the ball and trying to keep it all along the ground, get under it and play it towards third man boundary, utilizing the pace,” he added.
“That shot disturbed a number of fast bowlers because they bowl bouncers to concede a dot ball. But I converted those into boundaries. I actually didn’t plan anything. Sometimes you just have to let your natural instincts take over after getting at the crease. And that’s what I did,” said Tendulkar.