The Sachin Tendulkar Boon




Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar

After The Sachin Tendulkar Curse, it is time for God to bless a few. There is no better way to start your Test career than by watching the Master score a century. You can’t help but marvel at his genius even if you are at the receiving end of the century. One look at the players who have made their debut when Sachin scored a century and you will find that they have had glittering careers.

1. Anil Kumble (IND):

It was the August of 1990 and India were trailing England in the three match series. One down looked good to become two down after the home team set the visitors a target of 408. At 183/6, the Indians had given up all hope of saving the game. Two and a half hours later when the game was halted, India were 343/6. Manoj Prabhakar was unbeaten on 67 but the show-stopper that day was a young boy who was barely 5’5”. That was Sachin Tendulkar’s first hundred.
Making his debut in that Test was a bespectacled leg spinner by the name of Anil Kumble, who after picking 3 wickets in the first innings, went wicketless in the second. Kumble consequently did not play a Test for two years. But when he returned, he ensured that he stayed for long.

Kumble played 132 Tests in the next 16 years and won more matches for India than anybody else. He finished only behind Muralitharan and Warne in terms of wickets taken. He also captained India in 14 Tests towards the end of his career and is one of the only two bowlers to pick all ten wickets in an innings. It is only unfortunate that Kumble played in the same team as Sachin which robbed the world of a contest of watching India’s top two match winners compete against each other.

2. Shane Warne (AUS):

Australia had thrashed India at Brisbane and Melbourne and India were looking for a change of fortunes in the third Test at Sydney. After the Kangaroos put on 313, India responded with 483 led by an entertaining 206 by Ravi Shastri and a swashbuckling 148* by Sachin Tendulkar, who became the youngest batsman to score a century in Australia.
This match marked the debut of Shane Keith Warne. Although carted around in that match, Warne’s name went on to become synonymous with the term leg spin. Warne played 145 Tests for Australia and finished as the leading wicket taker in the world before eventually being overhauled by Muralitharan.

Warne rarely came out on top in his battles with Sachin but Warne left behind a legacy that made you wonder whether leg spin existed before him.

3. Brett Lee (AUS):

It was the Boxing Day Test of 1999 at the MCG and a bloke with blonde spiked hair was wrecking havoc on the Indian middle order. India were trailing 1-0 in the series and with Brett Lee on fire, there was no way they were going to make a match of the second one either. But there was one man who batted as if he was playing on a different surface and against a different attack. Tendulkar scored a counterattacking 116 out of a team total of 238 as the rest collapsed around him. Australia won the match by 180 runs with Brett Lee taking two more wickets in addition to his five in the first innings.

Brett Lee and Shoaib Akthar, exponents of extreme speed, redefined pace bowling towards the end of the millennium. While Akthar’s career has been a story of injuries and controversies, Lee spearheaded the Aussie attack in 76 matches picking up 310 wickets.

Lee has also dismissed Tendulkar 5 times in 12 Tests but has also faced the wrath of the Master many a time. After playing a decade of cricket and excelling as a top notch pace bowler, Brett Lee can call himself a true Test great.

4. Virender Sehwag (IND):

It was just fitting that Sachin Tendulkar would be at other end when Virender Sehwag came out to bat for the first time in Tests at Bloemfontein. He walked in with India at a precarious situation at 68/4. What transpired over the next 48 overs was absolute treat to watch for a cricket lover. Sachin Tendulkar blazed his way to another century while the debutant from Najafgarh matched the maestro stroke for stroke as he rattled up a century of his own. South Africa went to win the game by 9 wickets but India had unearthed a batsman– a batsman different from the rest, a batsman with minimum footwork but with panache for boundary hitting. Virender Sehwag was born!

Within a season and a half, Sehwag was moved to the top of the order and this move solved India’s opening woes. Over the next decade, Sehwag became the best India produced since Sunny Gavaskar. With an uncomplicated approach to batting, Sehwag holds the Indian record for most double centuries and is one among the four batsmen to score two triple hundreds.

Having Sachin and Sehwag in the same team is the worst nightmare for a bowler as you can be assured that when on song (which is the case more often than not) they are going to rip you apart.

5. Mahela Jayawardene (SL):

Mahela Jayawardene made his debut in the most boring Tests in history. Led by Sachin’s 143, his twelfth century in Tests, India declared at 537/8. Sri Lanka batted for the next three days piling on 952/6, the highest score in an innings till date. Jayawardene, making his debut helped himself to 66. That was just the beginning!

Over the next few years Jayawardene, like Tendulkar in his early days, established himself as a world class player and Sri Lanka’s premier batsman. With nearly 10000 runs in both formats of the game and also a captaincy stint that included a World Cup final, Jayawardene can consider himself a product of the Tendulkar boon.

Venkatesh Prasad, Harbhajan Singh, Graeme Swann and Shakib-al-Hasan are a few more successful players who have seen Sachin score a century on debut. So the next time Sachin scores a century on your debut, you know for sure that you are blessed!

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Monish Menon

Author:

Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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