From the pages of history: How Sachin Tendulkar outwitted Chris Cairns at Mohali
There have been numerous stories about Sachin Tendulkar over the past quarter of a century. The entire cricketing world knows about how Tendulkar flew back to England during the 1999 World Cup after the death of his father, how be restrained himself from playing the cover drive on his way to a magical 241* at Sydney, how he batted with tissues in his underwear during the 2003 World Cup against Sri Lanka.
The ‘Master Blaster’ is widely considered by many as one of the greatest cricketers to have ever wielded the bat. Tendulkar holds just about every single batting record in the Test and ODI forms of the game and is venerated as ‘The God of Cricket’.
There is one incident from his career, however, that not many would know about.
India were taking on New Zealand in a Test at Mohali, and Rahul Dravid and Tendulkar were out in the middle for India. New Zealand bowler Chris Cairns was getting the ball to reverse viciously, causing plenty of trouble to the two legendary batsmen.
In fact, Tendulkar says that they were getting beaten around 2-3 times an over. That is when he came up with a brilliant strategy to counter the menace.
“We were sort of clueless because we couldn’t see the shine. I told Rahul, ‘I have an idea.’ I am closer to the bowler and when he is walking back on his run up I would be watching him closely and the ball,” Tendulkar said a few years ago while recalling the incident.
“Whichever side is shiny; I will hold the bat in that hand. If he going to bowl an out swinger the bat is in my left hand. If he going to bowl an in swinger, the bat is in my right hand at the non-striker’s end," he added.
The idea soon began to work like a charm for the two batsmen. They went from getting beaten 2-3 times every over to smacking boundaries through the cover and mid-wicket region, making the bowler wonder what was going wrong.
Eventually the Kiwis started suspecting that Tendulkar was up to something. So Cairns bowled a cross seam delivery to Dravid, in a bid to steal a march over the two batsmen. But they didn't realize that Tendulkar had already prepared for such an eventuality.
“I had also warned Rahul that if I don’t know what’s coming, I would hold the bat in the middle. In short, it is just being a step ahead of the opposition,” Tendulkar said.
The Little Master was a genius on the cricket field, and this incident just goes to show the kind of cricketing brain he possessed. He was always looking to be one step ahead of the opposition, and it is no surprise he has so many achievements and records to his name.
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