I look back with great fondness at the fact that Sachin and I made our debut in the same series. Prior to the Indian senior side’s tour of Pakistan in 1989, India ‘A’ had come to Pakistan, if memory serves me right. As is customary, we got talking about emerging talent in our respective countries and I remember Ajay Jadeja telling me about one Tendulkar. He also mentioned Kambli, but much of the talk was about Sachin.
Sachin wasn’t on tour because he had to write his exams and while our interest had been piqued by the repeated references to him, we didn’t give it too much thought until the Indian team arrived in Pakistan towards the end of 1989. We were all very surprised to see this little kid in the Indian side. And when I say little, I mean little in every sense of the word. Not only was he very young, he was also quite short and we wondered why India, with a proud, rich history of batsmanship, had picked a schoolboy.
It didn’t take us long to realise why. He could bat. I was very happy that I dismissed him relatively cheaply in the first Test, but by the end of the series, he was showing us what he was made of. In the last game, I struck him on the face and blood was streaming down his mouth. But Sachin didn’t show any pain, he didn’t flinch. He just carried on with his innings and made an excellent half-century.
Over the years, we have had many occasions to be impressed by Sachin. What has stood out the most are his dedication and his discipline. To play cricket for more than 24 years is no easy task. Unless you are completely dedicated to the sport, you just can’t continue to keep on playing, and I haven’t seen a better example of dedication. The discipline to keep working on his game, on his fitness, to keep waking up day after day and turn up for practice with the same enthusiasm, that to me is as impressive as all the runs and records that Sachin has against his name.
HAWKEYE / CHIVACH SPORTS