Bharat Ratna Sachin Tendulkar, the national treasure, celebrates his 49th birthday today on April 24. With hundred tons in his bag, smashing every record in the book, Sachin isn’t just a cricketer. He is considered the god of cricket. However, the limelight, the attention from a billion Indian die-hard cricket fans and roaring success never got to his head. Every time someone spoke of Sachin, they spoke about his modesty and humility. But there are lesser-known anecdotes around little master that made him the cricketing legend that he is today.
We have compiled a few facts to celebrate him on his birthday.
Sachin Tendulkar once batted with tissues in his underwear
It takes a lot to become a legend. Opening up in his book “Playing it My Way”, Sachin Tendulkar touched upon a certain embarrassing situation he found himself in while playing for the nation.
During the Super 6 match against Sri Lanka in the ICC World Cup in 2003, Tendulkar batted with tissues in his underwear because of an upset stomach.
Tendulkar who managed to score 97 in Johannesburg wrote, “Here I am a bit embarrassed to reveal a very personal secret relating to the Sri Lanka match. On the eve of the match, I had a bad stomach and was feeling dehydrated. This happened because I had not yet fully recovered from the cramp I had suffered while playing Pakistan and as a result had a lot of isotonic drinks.”
I also added a teaspoon of salt to the energy drinks, thinking it would help the recovery, and that caused a tummy upset. In fact, the situation was so bad that I had to bat with tissues inside my underwear. I even had to go back to the dressing room during one of the drinks breaks and was feeling extremely uncomfortable in the middle,” he added.
Sachin Tendulkar played for Pakistan before India
16-year-old Master blaster Sachin Tendulkar may have played his first International cricket match against Pakistan in 1989 but the first time he stepped on an international arena was for Pakistan.
That’s right. During an exhibition match between India and Pakistan on January 20, 1987, Tendulkar was sent as a substitute fielder for Imran Khan’s team.
Recounting the incident in his book “Playing it My Way”, Sachin remembered complaining to a friend later that he could have taken the catch had he been positioned at long-on.
“I don’t know whether Imran Khan remembers this or has any idea that I once fielded for his Pakistan team,” wrote Sachin in his book.
Marcus Couto, Tendulkar’s childhood friend, was quoted by DNA as saying, “Some of the Pakistan players were going to the team hotel to rest. Imran came to Hemant Kenkre (CCI captain) and said that he was short of players and if he could get three-four players to field. Two youngsters were in the vicinity – Khushru Vasania and Sachin Tendulkar.”
“Sachin saw Hemant and asked in Marathi ‘Me Zaaoo Ka?’ (‘Can I go’). Before Hemant could nod his head, Sachin was already in the field as a substitute for Pakistan. It was towards the end of the match and Sachin was on the field for about 25 minutes.”
Sachin Tendulkar lent his bat to Shahid Afridi who went on to score the fastest century
Yes. Boom Boom Afridi scored the fastest 100 using Master Blaster’s bat. On 4 October 1996, 16 years and 217 days old Afridi hit the fastest One Day International century in a 37-ball performance against Sri Lanka. Interestingly, it was also his very first one-day innings.
Young and fresh into the team and lacking basic cricket kit, Afridi was provided with Pakistani spinner Saqlain Mushtaq’s boots and helmet. But the iconic bat was given to him by pacer Waqar Younis during net practice.
“I had just got into the Pakistan team and during nets in Nairobi ‘Wicky Bhai’gave me a bat and said, play with this and see. It is Sachin’s bat,” Afridi told Gulf News.
Sachin Tendulkar and his superstitions
In the Kotla Test against Pakistan where Kumble took a perfect 10, whenever Tendulkar handed Kumble’s sweater and cap to the umpire at the start of an over, Kumble took a wicket. So he continued doing that until Kumble took all ten.
Sachin Tendulkar was the first batsman to be given out by third umpire
Yes. While the little master broke every record that came in his way, Tendulkar also became the first batsman to be given out by a third umpire in the 1992 Test series in South Africa. The umpire was Karl Liebenberg.
India were 38/2 when Tendulkar was batting with Ravi Shastri on the crease. Pacer Brian McMillan was in the midst of a fiery spell when he pitched one up near the good length area and Tendulkar who batting at 11 glided the ball to another legend- Jonty Rhodes. Tendulkar attempted the risky single but was sent back by Shastri.
Andrew Hudson ran to the stumps and collected the throw from Rhodes cleanly and dislodged the stumps.
Cyril Mitchley, the square-leg umpire went upstairs to third umpire Karl Liebenberg, who pressed the red light. Sachin was dismissed at 11.
In 2016 when Tendulkar launched an online retail initiative, he admitted that technology has helped cricket and enhanced spectator experience.
“When it comes to technology, I am always on for it even though I was the first to be given out via technology in South Africa in 1992,” Sachin said.
Sachin Tendulkar’s Test average is lower than Vinod Kambli
While it is unfair to compare their Test match averages, the flamboyant left-handed batsman Vinod Kambli ended his Test career ended in 1995 at an average of 54.20. Kambli managed to pile up 1,084 runs in 17 Tests matches.
While Sachin who has played 200 Test matches ended at an average of 53.78.
Sachin Tendulkar couldn’t celebrate his maiden Test century with champagne because he was underage
A Magnum champagne bottle was gifted to Sachin when he scored his first Test hundred at Manchester in 1990. But he couldn’t open it as British rules didn’t allow those under 18 to do that. Sachin chose to wait for 8 years and popped it at his daughter Sara’s first birthday in 1998.