Former Indian cricketer Ajay Jadeja recently revealed that Sachin Tendulkar would have loved to be the fastest bowler in the world. He also recollected his first meeting with the Indian batting maestro at the MRF Pace Foundation.
Ajay Jadeja mentioned that bowling fast is the dream of all young cricketers while speaking to Gaurav Kapur on the latter's show '22 Yarns'.
The discussion started with the difficulties Duleepsinhji would have faced in England following in the footsteps of his uncle Ranjitsinhji, who had made a big name for himself while playing for England. Ajay Jadeja highlighted that the same issue would be plaguing Sachin Tendulkar's son Arjun.
"Same thing would be happening to Arjun now. Wherever he must be playing, they would be saying he is Tendulkar's son. And it not easy, luckily he does not enjoy batting as much as his father and bowls instead."
On being asked if Sachin Tendulkar enjoyed his bowling a lot, Jadeja revealed the former's ambition of being the fastest bowler in the world.
"Father would have loved to be the fastest bowler in the world. Just that, he couldn't do it. So he found another way, he started batting. That's what this sport allows you to do. "
He was further asked why two of the greatest batsmen that the world has seen, Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar, always wanted to be fast bowlers. Jadeja gave examples of a couple of more cricketers - Ranjitsinhji and Anil Kumble - and added that any kid growing up would always want to be a fast bowler.
"The greatest players, two you have named, let me add a few more - Anil Kumble, Ranjitsinhji - they also started off as fast bowlers. I think any kid, whatever success they may have enjoyed at international, Ranji or whatever level, would have started in their homes as a fast bowler. Because the pleasure of bowling a fast ball gets the passion ignited. Every human wants to bowl fast, every human wants to run the fastest."
Jadeja added that the benefit of playing cricket is that it allows anyone to play the game the way they can.
"But if you can't, that is why you must play cricket. It allows you to play this sport in the way you can play. Kumble turned out to be a leg-spinner, he used the same action. Somebody ends up being a wicketkeeper, if they are not super athletes to run around. Somebody who is wily becomes a spin bowler. But each of them as kids would have been fast bowlers."
The former Indian captain also gave the example of Sourav Ganguly and added that the latter would have preferred being a fast bowler over scoring all his hundreds.
"I don't know of any players whom I played with, who didn't bowl fast. Sourav Ganguly is another example. Given a choice between all his hundreds and fast bowling, Dada would pick the latter. Fast bowling is the most difficult aspect of the game and that is what we all start wanting to do. And then end up doing whatever we can."
Ajay Jadeja on his first meeting with Sachin Tendulkar
On being asked if Sachin Tendulkar practised his bowling at the nets, Ajay Jadeja recollected their first meeting at the MRF Pace Foundation.
"Of course! First memory of Sachin Tendulkar I have is when we were in Chennai at the MRF Pace Foundation. They had called fast bowlers from all over India when they were starting this foundation. This was way back in 1987."
On being asked about his presence alongside Sachin Tendulkar at the academy, Jadeja narrated how he managed to get there.
"You know how many people were there. You listen to legend stories everyday, I think even Sourav was also there. They called all the coaches around the country and asked them to send their talented players. We were all bowling fast in the nets and if you were a favourite of the coach, then you got to go. So, I got there because of that."
Responding to the original question of Sachin Tendulkar bowling in the nets, Jadeja reiterated that the batting genius always wanted to be a fast bowler and that he bowled at the nets till the time his body allowed him to do so.
"Sachin Tendulkar always wanted to be a fast bowler. And he tried to do that till the last day, till his body allowed. Probably in the last couple of years he stopped bowling in the nets. He enjoyed his bowling."
"There is something about bowling. Bowling is the action of the sport, you decide the action. As a batsman, you never decide the action, you always react. Players are like artists, they like creating things and not modifying things."
Sachin Tendulkar bagged a total of 201 wickets in his international career - 46 in Test matches, 154 in ODIs and a wicket in the solitary T20I he played. A majority of these wickets were claimed bowling a combination of off-spin and leg-spin. But he did provide some crucial breakthroughs in the initial stages of his career as a seam bowler.