Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar might be considered one of the greatest to have played the game but had it not been for his begging and pleading to Indian team management for a chance to open the innings in an ODI in 1994, his career might have taken a different shape.
While there’s no question about the talent the batting maestro possessed, he had to make some extra effort that went beyond sweating it out in the nets to hone his skills. In an interesting revelation, Tendulkar has recalled the time when he had an ‘out of the box’ idea to change how Indian batsmen could neutralise opposition bowlers.
“In 1994, when I started opening the batting for India, the strategy used by all teams was to save wickets,” Tendulkar said in a video on LinkedIn. “What I tried to do was slightly out of the box. I thought I could go upfront and take the opposition bowlers on. But I had to beg and plead to please give me a chance. If I fail, I won’t come after you again.”
True to his words, Tendulkar, opening the first time for India against New Zealand in Auckland, belted 82 off 49 and thus sealed the opener’s slot for good. “In that first match (vs New Zealand), I scored 82 off 49 balls, so I didn’t have to ask again if I would get another chance. They were keen for me to open. But what I’m trying to say here is, don’t be afraid of failure,” he said.
Tendulkar recorded 82, 63, 40, 63 and 73 in his first five innings as an opening batsman. Soon, he would hit first of his 49 ODI centuries – 110 vs Australia in Colombo. The rest as they say is history.
Tendulkar finished his ODI career with 18426 runs – the most by any in the history of the format.