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Gursharan - the man who made Sachin's first Irani century possible

On former cricketer Gursharan Singh's 53rd birthday, we track back time to the day in 1989, where he batted with an injured hand to help Sachin Tendulkar reach his first Irani Cup century.

Sachin Tendulkar would have welcomed greater support from fellow batters at the other end as he worked his way to yet another headline-grabbing century at the Wankhede Stadium yesterday. His dominating innings threatened to be a first innings lead-clinching one, but Mumbai ended the day with only wafer-thin hopes of regaining the Irani Cup.


A young Tendulkar in 1989. Pics/Getty Images, AFP.

One wonders whether Tendulkar thought about his first of four Irani Cup games which was played at the same venue in 1989. He represented Rest of India then and was pitted against Delhi a few days before the Indian team travelled to Pakistan for Tendulkar’s first Test tour.

Injury

Towards the end of the final day, Tendulkar was 11 short of his century when tailender Venkatapathy Raju was dismissed and the scoreboard read 209 for nine. To many, the match was over since Gursharan Singh had returned to the pavilion earlier in the innings when a Sanjeev Sharma delivery fractured a finger on his right hand. But Gursharan walked out to bat, on instructions from chairman of selectors Raj Singh Dungarpur.


Gursharan Singh

Twenty four years later, Gursharan still remembers the conversation between the young Tendulkar and him in the middle. “Sachin asked me to just block and he’ll tackle Maninder Singh. He batted like a champion and got his hundred,” Gursharan told MiD DAY from New Delhi yesterday.

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