No. 39

Tendulkar smacks Shoaib around

First came a six, then a four, then divine magic

Rahul Bhattacharya

September 13, 2009

Text size: A | A

Sachin Tendulkar upper-cuts Shoaib Akhtar, India v Pakistan, World Cup, Centurion, 1 March, 2003
The first cut: the six over third man © Getty Images
Enlarge
Related Links
Players/Officials: Sachin Tendulkar
Series/Tournaments: ICC World Cup
Teams: India | Pakistan
Other links: 50 Magic Moments

Centurion, 1 March 2003

Sachin Tendulkar has never batted better than in the World Cup of 2003, and during it never better than for three famous deliveries against Shoaib Akhtar in Centurion.

This was a match Tendulkar said he was compelled to live a year in advance. Everywhere he went, people reminded him about the 1st of March, the fixture against Pakistan. Consequently he did not sleep properly for 12 nights leading up.

Facing a handsome target, Tendulkar shed his pent-up anxiety with three strokes in Shoaib's opening over to jumpstart a classic innings. The first of them - reaching out (were he not so pumped up, he would have surely let it pass for a wide), at once cutting and tipping, very high over the square third-man boundary - would become an icon, for cricketing merit; its sheer thrill, and nationalist symbolism, a sort of belated rebuff to the Miandad six.

The second stroke was his lovely trademark - back in the crease and with swirling wrists diverting a reasonable delivery to square leg. But the third shot - the third shot.

A little trot across to off stump, block, down the ground to the on, four. No back-lift, no follow-through: none needed. I have never seen such a concisely expressed cricket stroke. He simply met the ball and the entire execution began there and finished there. And by now the crowd, the most vividly alive of the tournament, had gone quite wild. Visually it was like a cinematic special effect: everything moved in a blur - flags, roars, horns, waves, the ball, Shoaib - and amid it Sachin and his pure stroke appeared magically frozen.

Rahul Bhattacharya is the author of Pundits from Pakistan: On Tour with India, 2003-04. This article was first published in the print version of Cricinfo Magazine

RSS Feeds: Rahul Bhattacharya

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

FeedbackTop
Email Feedback Print
Share
E-mail
Feedback
Print
Rahul BhattacharyaClose
Rahul Bhattacharya Author of Pundits from Pakistan: On Tour with India, 2003-04

Inzamam had a lot of time to play his shots

Modern Masters: Rahul Dravid and Sanjay Manjrekar discuss Inzy's technique

    'If I'd stayed captain, Bangladesh would have done better'

Habibul Bashar talks about the team's early days, landmark wins, and the current squad

    Big-hearted, broad-shouldered Davo

Alan Davidson was a fine allrounder, who has spent his life serving Australian sport in various capacities. By Ashley Mallett

    Dubai-Dhabi-Doo

Rob Steen: Who knew the Middle East would one day become the centre of a cricket-lover's universe?

A song called Younis

Ahmer Naqvi: For a country torn by internal strife, he offers hope with his magnanimity, humility and cheerful disposition

News | Features Last 7 days

Pakistan should not welcome Amir back

The serene team culture cultivated by Misbah and his men shouldn't be allowed to be disrupted by a player with a tainted past

November games need November prices

An early start to the international season, coupled with costly tickets, have kept the Australian public away from the cricket

The inherent dangers of batting

The sickening blow that struck Phillip Hughes is a reminder of the ever-present dangers associated with facing fast bowlers, even while wearing a helmet

Hope for Hughes, feel for Abbott

It is impossible to imagine how Sean Abbott must feel after sending down that bouncer to Phillip Hughes. While the cricket world hopes for Hughes' recovery, it should also ensure Abbott is supported

Dhawan's bouncer problem

Why the Indian opener would be well advised to shelve the hook and pull in Australia

News | Features Last 7 days

    November games need November prices (85)

    An early start to the international season, coupled with costly tickets, have kept the Australian public away from the cricket

    The inherent dangers of batting (43)

    The sickening blow that struck Phillip Hughes is a reminder of the ever-present dangers associated with facing fast bowlers, even while wearing a helmet

    A crisis that defines the age (40)

    Never mind cricket's absence from free-to-air TV - changes in social attitudes, the demands of work, and an individualistic age are all contributing to a decline in participation

    Misbah's Pakistan or Imran's Pakistan? (38)

    Pakistan have notched up some fine wins under Misbah-ul-Haq's leadership, but they haven't yet achieved consistent results outside the UAE

    We've all been hit (26)

    Going out to play cricket today would have been near enough to impossible. Even doing so next week in the nets and at the Gabba for the first Test will be difficult