Mumbai, Apr 23: To celebrate a glorious career on the Little Master’s 47th birthday on Friday, Star Sports, India’s broadcaster, has lined up a day-long list of programmes that would make any Sachin or cricket fan salivate.
From his historic innings on his debut as an opener in ODIs, to his last interview at the Wankhede weeks after he played his final match, get ready to walk down memory lane with the best of Sachin Tendulkar! It seems only yesterday, but it’s been 17 years since Tendulkar’s iconic 98 guided Team India to yet another victory over Pakistan at the Centurion on March 1, 2003. Pakistan captain Waqar Younis called it right at the toss on that fateful day and opted to bat. Bombastic opener Saeed Anwar’s scintillating century powered Pakistan to 273 for 7 which was a formidable target in those days.
Then came an epic chase where Virender Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar opened the innings for Team India. After a few nervy moves, Tendulkar smashed Wasim Akram's past cover for a boundary. What was special about that shot was Tendulkar’s footwork, a backfoot punch that was pure class! Sehwag too got into the act and launched a few lusty blows before being dismissed for 21 off 14. Up came Mohammad Kaif, who turned out to be the perfect partner for Tendulkar.
Despite suffering a bout of cramps, Tendulkar stitched a 100-run partnership, with Kaif scoring 31, as the duo put Team India in total control. Tendulkar’s cramps became unbearable and Sehwag soon was called to be his runner, but it was short-lived as he ended up on 98 in what was a valiant innings decorated with 12 boundaries and a six. India won that match by 6 wickets and Tendulkar received his Man of the Match award.
A stunning tactical move by then captain Mohammad Azharuddin to promote Sachin Tendulkar to open the innings along with Ajay Jadeja led to a significant turning point in the Master Blaster’s career. The day: March 27, 1994. It was in the 5th match of the series against New Zealand in Auckland when Azhar pulled off a stunning move and asked Tendulkar to open because India's regular opener NavjotSidhu had a stiff neck. Tendulkar took the Kiwi bowling attack - Danny Morrison and Chris Pringle to the cleaners, as he smashed 82 off 49 balls, with a whopping 15 boundaries and 2 sixes to his credit. Team India won the match by 7 wickets with 160 balls to spare. (UNI)