The former legendary India cricketer Sachin Tendulkar turned 50 today, and birthday greetings are flooding in from around the globe. In the book titled Sachin@50, Chandrakant Pandit, who currently serves as the head coach of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR), recounts an intriguing incident involving Tendulkar.
Pandit disclosed that he was hesitant to play 12-year-old Tendulkar in a practice match at Matunga Gymkhana, despite instructor Ramakant Achrekar’s request. There was a disagreement between Pandit and Achrekar, and Pandit and several senior players believed that Tendulkar’s shots would lack sufficient force.
“We played New Hind Club in an official match at the Matunga Gymkhana. Now, sir came to instruct me in the morning. “Chandu, you must play Sachin, and he must bat among the top five.” You cannot possibly sideline him.”
“Well, I was skeptical that someone so young, approximately 12 years old, could field 50 overs. In addition, it was a senior team’s match, and a few seniors and I were persuaded that Sachin’s shots would not have that much force.”
Pandit also stated that even Achrekar was aware that Tendulkar’s strokes required more force, but after failing to persuade his coach and other teammates, he devised a plan with two or three teammates to run Tendulkar out of the game.
“And believe me, even Sir Achrekar knew he needed to produce more electricity. Since we were unable to persuade Sir, three to four of us agreed that whoever has the first opportunity to run him out should do so, as we require fast runs,” Pandit added.
The KKR coach also recalled how one of the senior players attempted to maliciously run out Tendulkar while he was batting. However, the then 12-year-old successfully avoided the peril.
“Accordingly, when Sachin batted, on my orders, one of our senior players attempted to intentionally run him out by calling him for nonexistent singles at least twice. The ball somehow avoided escaping the goal area and returned to the crease.”
Sachin realized that we were attempting to run him out: Pandit Pandit also recalled that Tendulkar realized that his colleagues were attempting to run him out, and that Sachin’s response left him in awe.
“However, when Sachin realized that we were attempting to eliminate him, he did the unthinkable. It was a simple single, and he called the other man and kicked him out. Certainly, I was momentarily enraged, but his cricketing prowess and sharp intellect have remained with me all these years.”
Sachin Tendulkar made his international debut in a 1989 Test match against Pakistan in Karachi, a few years after the incident. The batting specialist served the national team for 24 years, from 1989 to 2023. During this time, he scored 34,357 runs in 664 international matches, including 100 centuries and 164 fifties.