'When I bowled to a 16-year old Tendulkar and beat him three times'

Sachin TendulkarAmong the promising cricketers was one who had just turned 16 Sachin Tendulkar.
It was the summer of 1989. Former Rajasthan cricketer Kailash Gattani took Star Club of India, a talented Under-19 team, on a tour to England. Among the promising cricketers was one who had just turned 16 Sachin Tendulkar.

Star Club played their first match near London against Hayes Cricket Club. I happened to be the overseas player for Hayes. Before that match, I had told my teammates about that mammoth record partnership between Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli in a Mumbai school match. And also that the childlike Sachin was vastly talented and would one day play for India.

Ajay Jadeja was out early. In walked Tendulkar, with short strides and baby-faced demeanor. As my teammates looked at him with amusement, I prayed that my aspirations for the young boy would someday become reality. As the young boy took guard, Steve Beakhouse, my captain, brought me on to bowl, and positioned himself in the slip cordon. Three leg breaks spun across the face of Tendulkar's bat, and into the wicket keeper's gloves.

Early look

Beakhouse, overestimating the prospects, added another slip to the close-in circle. Tendulkar came out of his crease to the next two deliveries and smashed one through the covers and another through mid on for two arrogant boundaries.

Off the last ball of the over, he took a single and crossed over.

It showed that Tendulkar had already learned not to let bowlers dominate. From the other end, Beakhouse brought on Simon Green, a dibbly-dobbly bowler. Playing him off the back foot, Tendulkar scooped a simple catch to Bob Clark standing in the covers.

As the Hayes players got together at the fall of his wicket, we wondered when he would play for India. It didn't take long.

He toured Pakistan later that year for his debut series, and a year later came back to England to score his maiden Test century, a match-saving innings at Old Trafford.

Kambli and Jatin Paranjpe put on a big partnership that day, but it is Tendulkar we continue to talk about. Even now, Clark and Green can be found at the club's bar, recalling that dismissal over beers, speaking about their famous bunny with pride. Their cricket career was fulfilled and blessed that day. And so was mine.

The author is a former club cricketer who bowled to Tendulkar before his international debut

Sandeep Joshi

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