'If you try to hit a six, I will hit you on the bum'

Tendulkar's batting partners remember interesting conversations they had with him on the pitch
November 8, 2013

Sachin Tendulkar: no linguist, and prone to threatening his partners © AFP

In February 1988, Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli ransacked 664 runs in a world-record partnership for Shardashram Vidyamandir against St Xavier's High School, in the Harris Shield semi-final at Azad Maidan, Mumbai.

"Once we got into the groove, Tendlya and me toyed with the attack," Kambli said earlier this year. "After every boundary and six, we would sing Wham's "Wake Me Up Before You Go Go".

Like Kambli, a number of batsmen down the years have enjoyed unforgettable partnerships with Tendulkar. And many of them have gone on to narrate snatches of conversation that transpired during these passages of play.

Manoj Prabhakar was at the other end when Tendulkar scored his maiden Test hundred at Old Trafford in 1990.

"There were no specific instructions from the dressing room," Prabhakar said. "I had only one thing on my mind: partnership. But I knew I had to tell the 17-year-old boy to curb his shots, as the ball was swinging all over the place. The moment England decided to take the second new ball, I went up to Sachin and cautioned him. I advised him to be a little careful against Angus Fraser. But when he dispatched the second ball to the boundary, I just decided to let him play his own game and enjoy his batting."

VVS Laxman had the best seat in the house for the bulk of what many consider to be Tendulkar's finest one-day knock, the 143 against Australia in Sharjah. "That was the day I saw someone actually in the zone," Laxman said. "I was talking to him between overs, but I know he wasn't listening to me."

Tendulkar's longest-standing batting partner was Sourav Ganguly; they not only formed the most successful opening partnership in ODIs, but also scored 12,400 runs together in 103 Tests and 238 ODIs. Speaking to India Today magazine in 2007, Ganguly said their on-field partnerships involved each sizing up the other's game.

"I could easily make out, there were days when he was too pumped up and would try to hit the ball too hard," Ganguly said. "And I would go from the other end and say you are looking too pumped up and are trying to hit the ball too hard, so that's why you are not timing it. And he would understand. He would see me setting up a bowler - and he would come across and tell me he could spot it, so 'don't do it too much'." Tendulkar was the more voluble talker among the two, often launching into what he thought was Bengali. "All the time, it's the wrong Bengali - 11 years and he still speaks it wrong," Ganguly said.

Rahul Dravid, on the other hand, recalled a different side of Tendulkar during his time with him in the middle. "I don't think we talked too much," he said. "We would have conversations, especially when I was at three and Sachin had just come in. So for a little bit of time, when we first got together, there would be a little bit more chat than ever…

"Sometimes, when I was young, I found it little bit intimidating, because you had this guy who had all these achievements and scored so many runs and was a great player to come and ask, 'What do you think? What is happening? And what is this bowler bowling?' I was like, 'Should I be telling him? What do I do?' I am playing my fourth Test match or fifth Test match. What should I be telling him?' There was a lot of conversation initially. But as the innings went on, we never really felt [like talking] unless something came up that we needed to talk about."

Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar combined for more than 6000 runs in all formats. Their highest partnership was the 336-run stand in Multan in 2004, when Tendulkar is said to have told Sehwag: "If you try to hit a six, I will hit you on the bum."

Here's Sehwag version of events: "He gave me a simple example - about my Melbourne innings in 2003, when I tried to hit a six on 195 and got out. Till then India were in a good position, but after that we couldn't make a big score and we lost the Test. So he made me realise my mistake. That is why I didn't hit sixes in Multan, but when I was near 300 I told him that I was going to hit Saqlain [Mushtaq] and he could hit me on my bum!"

Sehwag and Tendulkar amassed 4387 ODI runs together, which included several matches when they opened the batting. One of the more memorable matches when they walked out to kickstart the innings was in the World Cup in 2003, against Pakistan in Centurion. In John Wright's Indian Summers, the former India coach fondly recalled a conversation between Tendulkar and Sehwag as they were about to begin the chase. "As our openers walked down the long flight of stairs to begin the chase, Viru told Sachin, 'Don't say anything to me about my batting except "go and lagao" - basically, go for it. Sachin replied, 'I'm going to get these guys.'"

Posted by   on (November 18, 2013, 11:35 GMT)

You can't compare Bradman with Tendulkar! Both played in different eras and both were the greatest of their times. Comparing the two would be like comparing King Henry VIII in full body armour on horseback fighting with a lance against a skilled soldier of modern times operating an M1 A2 Abrams battle tank. Lets not make stupid comparisons and instead get on with celebrating the achievements of a genius, and undoubtedly the greatest player the modern game has seen.

Posted by TRAM on (November 14, 2013, 1:05 GMT)

Bradman's matches? He played 37 out of 52 tests against England!! And he played only two country grounds, Aus & Eng for god's sake! People should have some nerve even to call this as a reference for master batting! I hope cricinfo does not lie. http://stats.espncricinfo.com/ci/engine/player/4188.html?class=1;template=results;type=allround;view=match

And Sachin played 3 formats with tight schedule at much more professional bowling and fielding all over the world !! No one should ever compare any batting performance in the future with Bradman please. Because that is NOT a reference. Only Sachin's stats are the reference for future batsman. To be eligible for reference one should have played in all grounds against all teams and in all formats.

Posted by   on (November 11, 2013, 16:36 GMT)

For all of them who is comparing the greats of the game please note that the yester year greats all played on uncovered wickets. On those wickets one doesnt have to be Wasim, Waqar & etc. A tom, dick or harry who knew to bowl wicket to wicket will be lethal

Posted by   on (November 11, 2013, 5:38 GMT)

"As our openers walked down the long flight of stairs to begin the chase, Viru told Sachin, 'Don't say anything to me about my batting except "go and lagao" - basically, go for it. Sachin replied, 'I'm going to get these guys.'"

when they walked out to kickstart the innings and that was in the World Cup in 2003, against Pakistan in Centurion.

Who will for get that knock (98)...against pakistan

Posted by Amol_Ind_SA on (November 9, 2013, 5:16 GMT)

AFTER eliminating the number of tests Tendulkar played against ZIM and BNG, and then...AFTER subtracting the number of HOME tests, Tendulkar still played **95** AWAY tests which is almost twice the WHOLE career of Bradman (who played only 19 away tests) and still Tendulkar excelled. Plus...Bradman played when bowlers, pitches and balls themselves were non-existent. He did not face swinging balls and a superior breed of competitive bowlers. Bradman only played the same repetitive ENG bowlers with the exception of a singleton series against SA, IND and WI. And of course, Bradman never ever played ODIs which take a toll on physical strength in conjunction with Tests.

Posted by   on (November 8, 2013, 17:51 GMT)

Sachin is the best cricketer in the world.That is why he called ad GOD OF CRICKET

Posted by crram on (November 8, 2013, 15:31 GMT)

I cant believe people talking about Sachin being better than Bradman. Even he is not the best indian batsman. That belongs to Sunny Gavaskar. I rate Dravid also as a better batsman than tendulkar in tests. Lara anyday, Kallis and Ponting in pomp are better than tendulkar .

Posted by golgoal on (November 8, 2013, 14:44 GMT)

Sachin replied, 'I'm going to get these guys.'" Kind of like the Terminator !! And he really terminated Pakistan. Salute to the legend !!!

Posted by   on (November 8, 2013, 12:53 GMT)

Comparisons with the Don are ridiculous. Once the Don reached ICC ranking 1 he retained it till the day he retired ( barring a 4 week patch post bodyline. ) To touch ICC rating of 900 is every batsman's dream, even if just for a short while. The Don never dropped below 935 once he crossed it, residing above that level for some 16 years at a stretch.

Posted by   on (November 8, 2013, 12:15 GMT)

I think English language refines out what SRT might have actually said Sehwag!

Everyone who knows Hindi can imagine the exact words SRT must have said to sehwag :)

Comments have now been closed for this article

Features

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

550,000,000
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