Had to beg, plead to open innings, says Tendulkar
New Delhi, September 26
Batting great Sachin Tendulkar has said that he had to “beg and plead” to open the innings for India in an ODI against New Zealand in 1994, recalling a major turning point of his career. The switch from the middle-order to opening the innings proved to be a masterstroke as Tendulkar finished with a world record 49 hundreds in the 50-overs format.
In an online video, Tendulkar recollected the moments leading up to that ODI against New Zealand at Auckland. “In 1994, when I started opening the batting for India, the strategy used by all the teams was to save wickets. What I tried to do was slightly out of the box,” he said. “I thought I could go upfront and take the opposition bowlers on. But I had to beg and plead to please give me a chance — ‘If I fail, I won’t come after you again’.”Using that move as an example, the prolific former batsman urged his fans to never shy away from taking risks because of the fear of failure. “In that first match (at Auckland), I scored 82 off 49 balls, so I didn’t have to ask again if I would get another chance. They were keen for me to open. But what I’m trying to say here is, don’t be afraid of failure,” the 46-year-old Tendulkar said.
While he may have ended with 49 ODI centuries, Tendulkar’s first ton in the format came after a long wait of five years since his debut in 1989. It was in September 1994 that he hit his first ODI hundred, against Australia in Colombo, having made the switch from the middle-order to opening the innings. He recorded scores of 82, 63, 40, 63 and 73 in his first five innings as an opener. Tendulkar finished his ODI career with 18,426 runs in 463 matches — the most by anyone in the format. — PTI