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Bought to book

Herschelle Gibbs – To The Point (Zebra Press)
Take Sachin Tendulkar’s 200 against us in the second ODI in Gwalior, India, early in 2010. He played a brilliant innings — 200 off 147 balls, and the first-ever double ton in an ODI. I was watching his innings on the field that day, and he slowed down in the final four or five overs to make sure he got that record.
Now, I take nothing away from Sachin — the guy is a total genius, probably the best ever – but I would’ve approached those final overs totally differently. Maybe I would’ve gone out within touching distance of the record — like I did in the 438 game, when I had plenty of time to get a double ton — but if I was in Sachin’s position, I would’ve really gone balls-to-the-wall to try to see if I could get my team close to 480 or 500 runs, rather than focus on my own double century.


Good times: Sachin Tendulkar and Australia’s Shane Warne chat in the Colaba’s Taj Mahal hotel lobby in 2001. Pic/Getty Images

 

Duncan Fletcher – Behind the Shades (Simon and Schuster UK Ltd)
We were not able to execute our plan against Sachin Tendulkar (during the 2002 Headingley Test). This was different from the one we employed in India — where we used Ashley Giles to bowl outside leg stump — because of the obvious variation in the pace of the pitches in the two countries. We had noticed that Tendulkar seemed uncomfortable against fast, short-pitched bowling, so we decided to test him out with that, but then suddenly changing to bowling wide outside off stump, frustrating him by not bowling straight to his strength. However, as his 193 at Leeds indicates, it did not always work!

Shane Warne – My Autobiography (Coronet Books)
Although there was no way back from being two nil down (in 1997-98) we showed character to win the final game at Banglaore in last week of March, especially as we had a string of players injured, including Steve Waugh, and conceded 424 in India’s first innings – 177 to Tendulkar in another blistering knock.

Tendulkar was named man of the series and his run of scores, which brought an aggregate of 446 at 111.50, drew comparisons with Sir Donald Bradman. Obviously I never bowled to The Don. But if he was consistently superior to Tendulkar then I’m only glad he was an Australian.

Border & Beyond – Mark Ray (ABC Books)
Two gifted young cricketers (the other being Shane Warne) appeared in this series (India tour of Australia 1991-92). India’s 18-year old prodigy, Sachin Tendulkar, made two centuries and averaged 46 for the series. His magnificent 148 not out in Sydney made him the youngest player to score a Test century in Australia. Tendulkar’s confidence, poise and balanced footwork spoke of a batting genius. When his Sydney innings ended, Merv Hughes ran across the ground and threw his arm around the teenager to offer congratulations, and it seemed, a joke. Tendulkar threw his back and smiled broadly.

David Gower – The Autobiography (HarperCollins Publishers)
Cricketers, by and large, are a very supportive lot, but some pros look at their colleagues and opponents with fairly critical and sometimes
jaundiced eyes.

When Sachin Tendulkar, at seventeen, scored a century at Old Trafford to save India from defeat against England in the summer of 1990, one English player said, ‘Let’s see how he goes at the Oval when the ball will be up around his nostrils.’ It’s the traditional English reaction to someone doing well.

John Wright – Indian Summers (Penguin Books)
Tendulkar was having a quiet series (in Australia in 2003-04), with just one 50. Before the Sydney Test, we talked about his batting, which didn’t happen very often as he knew his own game inside out. People would often ask me how I coached Tendulkar, and I’d say, you don’t, you give gentle advice when it’s asked for.

In Sydney, he decided he was going to keep it very tight; he wouldn’t play through cover or square off the front foot because that was where he’d been getting out.

Having formulated a plan, he went out and executed it, making 241 not out, his highest Test score (at the time), of which only 53 came on the off side.

The word gets done to death, but this was an awesome display of technique and discipline. A month later his wife Anjali, who’d listen in our
conversation, got in touch to say thanks for the chat in Sydney.

Coaches are never really sure whether they’re saying is getting through, so it’s gratifying when someone tells you that you make a difference.

Mark Taylor – Time to Declare (Pan MacMillan Australian)
My close-up look at Tendulkar during that tour (to India in 1997-98) confirmed what I had thought for a long time — that he was the best batsman in the world. Suffice to say that I saw too much of him on that tour – he gave us some terrible beltings. Tendulkar and West Indies’ captain Brian Lara are the best two I have seen in cricket’s recent times. But I believe that Tendulkar is technically a better player than Lara.

Michael Atherton – Opening Up (Hodder & Stoughton)
The match (Manchester Test 1990 versus India) descended into a run feast. There were six centuries scored in total. The biggest was from Mohammad Azharuddin but the loudest cheer was reserved for the home-boy and I became only the second Lancastrian to score a century at home turf. All were outshone, however, by the 100 from the then seventeen-year-old Sachin Tendulkar who gave an early exhibition of his precious talent.  

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