He could do anything with the ball

* Venkatesh Prasad

Whether it was his leg-spin, off-spin or medium pace, Sachin Tendulkar could almost summon out any ball at will during a match.

Frankly, he could do almost anything with the ball and that was what made him a special bowler.

There was a period in India's ODI cricket when Sachin was not only depended upon to bowl a few overs but also perform the role of one of the main bowlers and bag wickets for the team. And most often than not, he delivered and went about his role rather brilliantly.

I used to marvel at how he got all the basics right; the right seam position and the correct wrist position whether he was bowling in-swingers or out-swingers.

He could bowl a deceptive slower one as well as a googly, which wasn't very easy to pick. As bowlers, we used to wonder how he managed to bowl so many different deliveries with such ease and control, while we ourselves didn't have as much variety.

His prowess as a bowler may have something to do with his initial unsuccessful attempt at becoming a medium pacer at the MRF Pace Academy, which indicates that he always had a keen interest in bowling. Over the years he honed these skills by practicing hard in the nets.

He approached his role as a bowler with sheer enthusiasm and commitment and these virtues also rubbed off on us. I recall that as skipper he would sometimes find it difficult to comprehend why we couldn't bowl a particular ball when a match situation demanded it.

I bowled a lot of leg-cutters but there were times when he wanted me to bowl an in-swinger and I really couldn't at that moment. As it was easy for him to bowl most types of deliveries, he found it hard to believe that others couldn't.

... contd.

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