When Test cricket was just that for Sachin... Test cricket!
After becoming the youngest Indian (16 years, 197 days) to score a hundred on debut in the Irani Trophy for Rest of India vs Delhi at Wankhede Stadium in 1989, Sachin Tendulkar embarked on his maiden Test tour to Pakistan.
Raj Singh Dungarpur’s selection committee was divided on whether it was the right time to blood a 16-year-old in the big world of Test cricket — that too — in Pakistan where India had never won a Test before. Tamhane, the late wicketkeeping great broke the deadlock among the selectors with the words, “Sachin Tendulkar never fails.”
Tendulkar said later that he was very keen to play well in the tour games to “put some pressure on the tour selectors.”
On November 15, he realised his ultimate dream by walking out on the field as an India player. He was given his India cap by manager Chandu Borde at a time when there were no formal presentations. “It was a great moment for me,” he said.
He was knackered on his first day of Test cricket and revealed: “I was very tired. Normally, you come to the hotel and have a cup of tea, but I just dozed off at 6 pm and got up at 9 pm. Had my dinner and slept again to wake up on a day when I was going to bat,” he said in 2009.
Pakistan were bowled out for 409 and India replied in disastrous fashion. At 41 for four, Tendulkar walked in to join Mohammed Azharuddin. Wasim Akram was in menacing form and testing the debutant, who was bowled by Waqar Younis for 15. Tendulkar expected Akram to bowl his famous yorkers to him. But he got four bouncers instead. “Welcome to Test cricket,” Tendulkar told himself.
After his 24-ball innings, the young batsman was convinced that Test cricket is too hard. He had a word with senior pro Ravi Shastri, who was the right go-to man. After all, he had scored two Test centuries in Pakistan. “He (Sachin) did not have it easy during his debut at Karachi. The occasion got to him. He was in an international arena with some big players and he seemed to be in a hurry.
1989 Pak Tourists
“He realised that one has to respect the bowling as well as the other playing conditions and it will take some time to get a hang of things. He did exactly that from there on,” Shastri told this writer a couple of years ago. Tendulkar went on to play 197 more Tests.