Rajkot: Sachin Tendulkar’s burning desire to master all kinds of bowling, particularly pace, was there right from the very beginning of his international cricket, points out Madhav Mantri, who watched him from close quarters as manager of the Indian team on the 1990 tour of England.
It was Tendulkar’s second tour — the first was to Pakistan in 1989 — and even before the three-Test series began in England, he made a special request to Mantri to let him play an additional practice game so that he could get a feel of facing a West Indian fast bowler who was expected to be in the Kent line-up. “ On a foreign tour there are 16 players and there are practice games. The idea is to give all of them a chance to play. Sachin played the first few practice games and did very well… no problem,” Mantri, the oldest living Indian Test player, told MAIL TODAY.
“So it was time to give a chance to somebody else in the fourth game. But he wanted to play this game too. I told him that with that performance [in previous practice games] he would be in the team for the first Test. He kept quiet,” recalled Mantri.
The Mumbai-based Mantri said Tendulkar was still not convinced. “Then, at our hotel we met — [coach Bishan] Bedi, captain Azhar and vice-captain [Ravi] Shastri] – to pick team for the warm-up match against Kent. I asked the team management to include him in that match and could instead rest him for the next warm-up game,” he said. “Later, when I saw the Kent team then I realised why Sachin wanted to play that match [the team had Tony Merrick of the West Indies].”
Mantri narrated another incident from that encounter that underlines Tendulkar’s keenness to take up challenges head on.
“In the match, Kent won toss and batted. When our turn came, Bedi called a conference in the dressing room and we discussed as to who would open. One opener, of course, was Kiran More. So, Bedi asked who would volunteer to open with More. Not a single man wanted to open,” said Mantri.
“Sachin raised his hand. He opened against an attack comprising West Indian fast bowlers and scored 92. This is Sachin Tendulkar for you,” he said about the maestro in in the making.
Reproduced from Mail Today. Copyright 2013. MTNPL. All rights reserved.
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