Sachin Tendulkar has been the epitome of batting in Indian Cricket. A child prodigy who burst onto the scene in the late 80s, much to everybody’s surprise, exemplified the batting in the years to come.
The shots he played glorified his stature as a batsman. The master was at his best while his effortless hitting featured pure control and timing. There wasn’t a better sight than seeing the Tendulkar’s trademark straight drive, a shot that still remains a picturesque setting in the minds of many Indian fans.
But today, we take a close look at some of his high percentage shots that boast of having more power but still sounded equally pleasant when the master hits them.
#5 Against Shane Warne in 1999 at Melbourne
A chapter on Sachin Tendulkar’s cricketing journey would sound incomplete without the special mention of Shane Warne. The two have shared one of the greatest cricket rivalries on the field as they were the impeccable masters in their own respective traits.
Known for clean hitting against the spinners, Tendulkar did face a tough time against the Australian legend but, more often than not, it was the Indian maestro who got the better of Warne. It had always been a treat for the cricket lovers to witness such competitiveness that both offered on the field.
One such incident happened when India toured down under in 1999-00. It was the Boxing day test, the second of the series and, for yet another time we saw both the legends face each other.
It was Tendulkar who once again won the battle. In his innings of 116, he smashed Warne for a six over the long off boundary just with the slight extension of his arms. Coming down the track to a good length delivery, he just guided it over the boundary in the gentle most fashions. But, it was in the second innings that Warne returned the favours by trapping Tendulkar in front of the wicket.
#4 Against Glenn McGrath in ICC KnockOut Trophy 2000 at Nairobi
It was one of those days in cricket when even the best team in the world tasted their own medicine courtesy some serious sledging by Tendulkar who took on one of the world’s greatest bowlers, Glenn McGrath.
In 2000, in the quarter-finals of the ICC KnockOut Trophy, when many believed India spring a surprise against the formidable Australian team, the master himself reckons this being one of the few times when he sledged.
In his blitz at the top of the order, Tendulkar did fancy himself as he played all around the park. But it was the one shot through which he made his intentions very clear. On the third ball of the fifth over, using his feet on a good length delivery, Sachin wasn’t reluctant to hit McGrath in the air as he cleared the straight boundary with ease to fetch six runs for his side.
The shot had more importance given the context of the match that somehow pushed the opposition on the backfoot paving the way for a comfortable win over the Aussies. Tendulkar managed a 37-ball 38 that included 3 fours and 3 sixes.
#3 Against Michael Kasprowicz in 1998 at Sharjah
It was the final of the tri-nation Coca-Cola Cup between India, Australia, and New Zealand when the Men in Blue locked horns with the brute Aussie force in Sharjah. It also happened to be the Tendulkar’s birthday when he gave all his fans another reason of delight as he paved his through to a match-winning knock of 134, helping his side to lift the Cup.
Tendulkar’s love affair with the Aussies continued as he once again got better of the Australian bowlers to carve his team to victory.
It was in the 45th over when Michael Kasprowicz came on to bowl, with Tendulkar already batting on 126*, the bowler saw him on the receiving end as Sachin smashed him exactly right of the sight screen for a maximum.
It was a delivery that got pitched in his radar and hitting the middle of the bat it managed enough distance to clear the boundary for a six. It was in a way a revenge for him against the bowler who sledged him in the early part of the innings. His exploits in that innings forced Tony Greig to compare the ‘little man’ as the next nearest thing to the greatest Sir Donald Bradman, there’s ever been.
#2 Against Andrew Caddick in World Cup 2003 at Durban
Tendulkar was in pristine form in the World Cup in 2003. His appetite for runs amazed everyone as he smashed runs in upwards of 600 in that single edition of the World Cup.
In a game against England which is more remembered for Ashish Nehra’s six-for with the ball, also witnessed some of Tendulkar’s astonishing batting at the display. It was in the ninth over of the Indian innings that saw the ‘Master Blaster’ took it to the English spearhead, Andrew Caddick to smash him all over the park.
After hitting him for a boundary earlier in the over, there was Tendulkar special on the third ball that every Indian would recollect from that game against England. On a delivery that was an attempted bouncer from Caddick, Sachin was quickly on to the backfoot to smack it out of the park over the mid-wicket boundary for a maximum.
It was his explicit judgment of the length that impressed even the commentators given he went back across after seeing the ball pitched short. It was a treat to watch an Indian batsman pull the ball so cleanly to help it sail out in the trees as even the great Tony Greig mentions in his commentary stint.
#1 Against Shoaib Akhtar in World Cup 2003 at Centurion
One of Sachin’s greatest contribution to the Indian cricket is his exploits against the arch-rivals Pakistan. More than the numbers, it was the aura which he had that created a certain fear in the minds of Pakistanis.
His knock of 98 in the 2003 World Cup was one to remember given the formidable bowling attack that featured the likes of Akram, Waqar, and Shoaib. Chasing 270+ to win, the men in blue needed a start well and the onus was on the duo of Sachin and Sehwag and they didn’t disappoint as India was off to a flier.
It was the second over of the Indian innings when Akhtar came into bowl. On the fourth ball of the over, the master smacked a six over the third man on a delivery that was pitched wide outside the off stump.
He, in a way, took a subtle dig at the bowler as he just used Shoaib’s furious pace to send it deep into the stands for half a dozen. This was a slight uppercut that he tried to play earlier on the tour but couldn’t really execute it to the perfection. Although this was right on the money as he used the pace to guide the ball over the boundary.