Staff picks

Those magical fingers

ESPNcricinfo staffers pick their favourite memory of Tendulkar bowling
November 11, 2013

Tendulkar could do just as amazing things with the ball as he could with the bat © AFP

v West Indies, Kolkata, 1993
Kanishkaa Balachandran : "Lara v Tendulkar" has always been a favourite pre-series billing between the two run machines, but it's a little-known fact that Tendulkar has dismissed Lara four times in one-dayers. The first such instance was perhaps the most spectacular. Tendulkar had just reminded the world that he could never be underestimated as a bowler, delivering a chilling final over against South Africa in the semi-final of the Hero Cup at Eden Gardens. In the final against West Indies, defending 225, the captain Mohammad Azharuddin tossed him the ball when Lara was on 33. Bowling seam-up rather than spin, Tendulkar landed the ball on the off stump. Lara looked to whip it across the line in his signature style but played too early. The off stump went for a spin and the partisan crowd, unnervingly silent till then, cranked up the volume. Tendulkar pumped his fist and sprinted, and there was no looking back for India.
Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

v West Indies, Perth, 1991
Devashish Fuloria: I had missed most of the West Indies innings due to a power cut and even though they were 76 for 8 chasing 127, India looked set to lose the match; they just used to. Curtly Ambrose's six off Kapil Dev reiterated that feeling. Ambrose was run out, but West Indies still drew close. With India's seamers having bowled out their quotas, Mohammad Azharuddin opted for Tendulkar to bowl his first with only five runs to defend.

West Indies took five off the first five balls. I remember a close-up shot of Anderson Cummins on the television, with sweat dripping down his temples. Tendulkar, with a thick mop of curls, ran in, the angle of the run-up very similar to Cummins', and got one to swing away and catch the edge of his bat. Azhar, at slip, swooped down on it from close to his boots, and India pulled off a rare tie. It was the first of many times Tendulkar bought India a wicket just when they needed it.
Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

v Australia, Kolkata Test, 2001
Nitin Sundar: Leading up to that manic final session of play in Kolkata, Tendulkar's contribution to the greatest Test match ever played was a sum total of 20 runs. All that changed in the space of a few delirious minutes. He had just consumed Adam Gilchrist and Matthew Hayden with big swirling, whirling legbreaks and some assistance from a trigger-happy umpire. Tendulkar then set a trap for the best trap-setter of all-time - two slips and a silly point crouching in wait, and just one catcher on the leg side. He might have as well told Shane Warne another legbreak was about to fizz his way. He then trotted in and let the ball rip out of his hand - the back of his hand. It landed on a length outside off, and Warne shaped to play for the legspin from his crease. Mistake. The ball spun in as if it were spring-loaded, past Warne's desperate attempt to work to leg and thumped into his pads. "Well, he's the one man you'd expect to pick a wrong 'un," Ian Chappell remarked from the commentary box as Warne trudged off forlornly. Tendulkar had pulled a Houdini on Houdini himself.
Nitin Sundar is a social media manager at ESPNcricinfo

v South Africa, Cape Town Test, 2007
George Binoy: The details are hazy. India were losing a Test in South Africa in the 2000s, with the home team's batsmen making untroubled progress towards a target. India's seamers had been ineffective, and Anil Kumble had struggled to find help in the pitch. The defeat was all but complete when the captain gave Tendulkar the ball. He did not turn the match around, but he made the ball talk. His legbreaks spun loads, so did his googlies and offbreaks. His control over line and length was not great but the degree of swing, spin and bounce was astonishing, considering his more specialised team-mates had not alarmed the batsmen in the least. I remember a left-hander, possibly Ashwell Prince, thrusting his pad out a long way outside off and leg to blunt deliveries that broke sharply off the pitch. I don't think Tendulkar took a wicket, he just did things with the ball that his peers simply could not in those conditions.
George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

v Pakistan, Multan, 2004
Mohammad Isam: On his mind was a declaration that split India into half, and his reaction drew more attention than a Virender Sehwag triple-century. But as the third evening closed in, Sachin Tendulkar was not going to let all that come in the way of having some fun. On the last ball of the third day, Moin Khan was thrown up a googly which he first wanted to leave, then wanted to play and got his legs in a tangle. It struck him on his left thigh, and to the naked eye, it seemed the ball slipped between his legs and had him bowled. Tendulkar laughed, his team-mates laughed and a great weight was lifted. The thing with genius is that they can call up a miracle when the chips are down. When questions stung Tendulkar, he brought a delivery that only he could muster, out of nothing.
Mohammad Isam is ESPNcricinfo's Bangladesh correspondent

What's your favourite memory of Sachin Tendulkar bowling? Write to us via the comments section on this story

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Posted by Dummy4 on (November 14, 2013, 16:43 GMT)

I vividly remember the 5/32 vs Aus...He had scored low (maybe a duck) and won the match with the ball...

Posted by RAJEESH on (November 13, 2013, 6:45 GMT)

With those contributions in Kolkata and in Adelaide, sachin actually made the efforts of laxman and dravid more spectacular and everlasting. I wont think laxman innings would be cherished as much without sachin's effort. He dismiised heyden whom the strike bowlers can not dismiss cheaply throughout the series, and Gilchrist who in the first test won the match for Australia. Laxman carried India from loss to draw and sachin made india to win. But no one was there to make his efforts gems. If srinath, kumble, Prasad and joshi got 13 more runs vs pak in 1999, nobody would have been calling him not a match winner.

Posted by TR on (November 12, 2013, 2:41 GMT)

Once Sachin bowled and on his follow through very quickly fielded the ball and made a direct hit at the bowler's end and appealed strongly for the runout. Those were the days when the 3rd umpire referral was at infancy. Umpire Venkatraghavan, over-confident of his own human judgement, just smiled (as if it was too optimistic appeal) and decided not to refer to 3rd umpire. In the replays, it was found in fact the batsman was out by a couple of inches and Sachin's appeal was very valid. I am pretty sure Venkat would remember it even now. Trying to remember which match it was, but difficult to lookup since it was not-out and hence not available in the score cards. Sachin was unlucky on many occasions due to inadvertent errors of umpires. I think if Sachin was a bad boy on the field or bad mouthed character rather than a soft, nice and non-controversial, he would have gotten better treatment.

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 11, 2013, 21:39 GMT)

Titan cup 1996 is the best over that Sachin ever bowled. Its interesting though that the one picture you chose as the cover pic, Sachin is bowling a no ball there.

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 11, 2013, 21:14 GMT)

One of my favourite along with Kolkata mentioned above, is the one in Adelaide in 2003 in the second innings. In Adelaide, the game had reached a sudden stand-still after an India surge. It needed the Tendulkar magic. He comes in spins one through Damien Martyn and edges to the Dravid at slip. That same inviting leg-break showed up next over where the result was similar when Steve Waugh edged it. The later wicket was a real moment of euphoria as what was about the transpire did not, and after the last 8-0 defeats in 2011, still does not happen very often. India won that test. Dravid innings is one that memorable in our minds. But those wickets were the icing on the cake. Perhaps it is so because it came through a couple of genuine leg-break deliveries, which more special to watch than any other type of bowling.

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 11, 2013, 20:20 GMT)

Also, The ODI against Pak in Kochi: ODI # 2235

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 11, 2013, 20:14 GMT)

The Titan cup Virtual Semi

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 11, 2013, 19:51 GMT)

For the first time I see an article in cricinfo where the author really like minded..kudos to your taste..

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 11, 2013, 19:15 GMT)

In tests, Adelaide 2003 when he got Steve Waugh and Damian Martin, and those 3 wickets in Kolkata that turned a draw into a win. In ODIs, the 4 wicket burst after scoring a hundred against Australia at Dhaka in the CT 1998, and his 5for at Kochi and also the 1996 last over against Australia where he defended 5 runs to get India through. Had a particular liking for Australia not only with the bat.......

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 11, 2013, 18:57 GMT)

Sachin was very skillful - both with the bat and the ball. He could bowl googlies, doosras, off break leg break, in swing, out swing and all with a smile. He really enjoyed his bowling, and we did, too. For me, his most memorable wicket was Moin Khan's. Everyone including Moin knew he was going to bowl a googly and yet, he couldnt do a thing.


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