'Australians embraced Tendulkar with fervour'

An Australian writer shares his memories
November 10, 2013

'A young, modest, ambitious, and seemingly innocent cricketer' © AFP
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What is your first memory of Sachin?
My first memory of Sachin followed his remarkable Test debut in Pakistan. Stories of his precociousness and courage appeared in the Australian media. I first saw him at the crease at Sydney in January 1992 when he became the youngest man to score a Test century in Australia.

What are your stand-out memories from his first tour to Australia in 1991-92?
Unsurprisingly, I most remember his undefeated 148 at Sydney when I first thrilled to him at the crease. It was the first of his 11 Test hundreds against Australia.

Did you ever speak to him?
I had the pleasure of interviewing him on a number of occasions for newspaper and magazine articles and television documentaries. Whether we met at cricket grounds, hotels or at the MIG Club in Bandra, Mumbai, invariably Sachin was polite, giving with his time, honest with his answers and expansive in his thinking on the game.

How shocked were you when you visited India and experienced the Sachin mania first hand?
Given I had first visited India in 1984 when Kapil Dev was accorded god-like status following the glory of the World Cup triumph the previous year, I was not overly surprised the way the Indian fans threw themselves before the young Tendulkar.

Can you pick out one particular day or moment that highlighted Australia's affection for Sachin?
All followers of the game generally are drawn to the young, modest, ambitious, and seemingly innocent cricketer who is intent on playing in the right spirit and entertaining. Australians are no exception and they embraced Tendulkar with a fervour not seen since a 21-year-old David Gower first toured for England in 1978-79. And they never lost the thrill of seeing Sachin and cheered him to the echo to the very end.

Mike Coward is a cricket writer in Australia. He was speaking to Siddhartha Vaidyanathan

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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