Tendulkar v Pakistan

For a Pakistani journalist, watching the old rival's best batsman tear the home team's bowling to shreds was oddly satisfying
November 4, 2013

Tendulkar has only two hundreds from 18 Tests against Pakistan © AFP
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What is your first memory of Tendulkar?
It's funny, because I don't think I can remember the first time I consciously noted Tendulkar, or suddenly became aware of him. That's not to do with how long he has been around but more with how omnipresent he became (who remembers how "God" came about, for example?). He was kind of always there. I first understood how good he might be when he scored that Test hundred at Old Trafford against England in 1990. I also remember, strangely, that it took India and him ages to understand how to best use him in an ODI.

What fascinated you about him in his early days?
His hair and his voice, which were both so impossibly boyish, and yet he batted fully like an adult. Also, at that time, thinking simply that the best player in the side made the best captain, I couldn't quite work out why he wasn't a better captain than he was.

Talk about the experience of first watching him bat live in a stadium...
I'm pretty sure the first time I saw him live was in Karachi for the first ODI of that 2003-04 series. He was overshadowed comprehensively by Virender Sehwag (and a memorable atmosphere and crowd), which, for Pakistani viewers, would remain a pattern through Tendulkar's career against them. The first time I saw him in a Test live was in Multan that same tour, against empty stands. Again Sehwag's triple overshadowed him, but he made 194, and though it made big news for how it ended (or didn't), it felt like such an inevitable hand. Tendulkar, bat, bowlers, big hundred. It was a completely controlled and ruthless bit of batting, a little disappointing actually in that it did not make the hairs on your arm stand up.

As a fan of Pakistan cricket, what were your thoughts when he was batting?
Mostly the thoughts were about just how technically accomplished he was. Pristine, I remember thinking usually, these clean punches off the back foot through cover, text-book drives, lovely wristy clips off his pads. He was just so smooth, so without edges. Pakistan has produced some great batsmen, but Hanif apart, few, if any of them, have been technically as sound as this.

What were your impressions of him (and the reactions he evoked) during the 2011 World Cup?
I only saw him live in the semi-final in Mohali, but it was good to see him win it, because his ODI batting over the years deserved it. I think my favourite innings of Sachin remains the 98 he made against Pakistan in Centurion, because it felt like a kind of release for him against bowlers who had more often than not managed success against him. Pakistan's great, good and not-so-great have troubled him, which explains a pretty poor Test record (just two hundreds in 18 Tests). But that Centurion innings was something else, especially the way it began and the messages it sent out to the Pakistani fast bowling. Sehwag would take crueler advantage over the next decade, but Tendulkar began it. So, to see him finally win a World Cup, even if it came eight years later, and to do it in his home city, you couldn't help but enjoy the sense of that achievement.

Osman Samiuddin is a sportswriter at the National. He was speaking to Siddhartha Vaidyanathan

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Posted by Uday on (November 15, 2013, 14:47 GMT)

One of the greatest of all cricket careers will come to an end today and what a career its been. He brought joy to countless folks all over the world for the manner in which he dominated bowling attacks - from Qadir to Akram, Warne, Donald, Muralidharan, Ambrose and countless others. He demolished the best bowlers in the world again and again and even when he struggled for form he found ways to grind runs out of nothing. People have often asked why he is idol worshipped in India - why is he God. To me, it is because more than the runs, more than the sheer joy he brought with his batting, Sachin made us believe. He made India believe that you could be the best cricketing nation in the world and he made us all believe that whatever we did we could be the best in the world at. He did it with a quiet humility and dignity that will be missed. Thank you Sachin for the memories, thank you for everything you have done - for India and for the sport of cricket.

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 10, 2013, 16:15 GMT)

There is one more inning against Pakistan, which Sachin would dearly want to forget. The first-ball duck off Shoaib Akhtar's ball at Eden Gardens in front of a capacity 80000 crowd :D

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 9, 2013, 14:23 GMT)

yes, Tendulkar's 98 at Centurion was his best knock against us. There was a huge hype before the match about the battle b/w Akhtar and Sachin. Akhtar eventually got him but not before he had done too much damage to us. The only time I saw him was during the famous 2006 Karachi-test when he was bowled & brought down to his knees by Asif.

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 9, 2013, 13:36 GMT)

yes, Tendulkar's 98 at Centurion was his best knock against us. There was a huge hype before the match about the battle b/w Akhtar and Sachin. Akhtar eventually got him but not before he had done too much damage to us. The only time I saw him was during the famous 2006 Karachi-test when he was bowled & brought down to his knees by Asif.

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 5, 2013, 1:29 GMT)

@Mohsin Iqbal - Wasim Akram bowling averages;

season 1996/97 - 16.36 season 1997/98 - 21.73 season 1998/99 - 23.45

Those stats are quite impressive!

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 4, 2013, 16:29 GMT)

@Eliya Syed . india also not played agnst pak when 2w's were on peak

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 4, 2013, 11:21 GMT)

If you look at his overall stats, Pakistan appears to be the team that seems to have troubled him the most. He only averages 42 against them (may be because he didn't play much against them whilst he was at his peak?)

Yet, he played two of the best innings of his career against them - who can forget the 136 in Chennai and 98 in the WC?


The man whom cricket loved back

Sambit Bal: Tendulkar was the biggest worshipper the game could ever find, and in that lay the foundation of his greatness

Tendulkar's perfect balance

Sharda Ugra: While the team, the country and the sport changed around him, Tendulkar remained constant

Why do we insist on seeing the 'real' Sachin?

Rahul Bose: You can ask as much as you want for a more "human", more "feelable, touchable" Sachin, but he'll probably not change - and that's a good thing

Zaltz Stats

The approximate number of people in India today who had not been born when Sachin Tendulkar made his Test debut in 1989 (calculated from these figures). His batting has been so erotically outstanding that the global population has increased by almost 2 billion during his career, with the biggest increase, understandably, in India itself.

I have played cricket for 24 years, it has been only 24 hours since retirement, and I think I should get at least 24 days to relax before deciding these things.

Sachin Tendulkar doesn't want to think of what lies ahead just yet