Who Is The 2nd God Of Cricket – To mark the Young Master’s 50th birthday, we look back at his incredible two-month spell against the Australians in 1998, focusing on the three-Test series in India and his battle with Shane Warne.
Adam Burnett is a features editor at. He has written for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Saturday Paper and Wisden Monthly.
Who Is The 2nd God Of Cricket
VVS Laxman had completed eight Tests in his memorable Indian career when he was called back to the XI for the second match of the series against Australia in March 1998.
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From the sidelines of the much-loved batting line-up, Laxman has been watching the preparations – and performances – of the 18-month-old who many consider the best player in the world in recent weeks.
In fact, like other Indians, he watched almost every move that Sachin Tendulkar made for almost a decade.
Laxman said: “I wanted to play for the country myself, I watched all the matches that were played by India and were broadcast in India. Ever since (Tendulkar) started in India (in November 1989) this event has really took the country because at the age of 16 to play against the powerful Pakistan and to do so and hit without fear… there was no doubt that he had a gift, but what struck me mostly it’s the confidence and aggressiveness that he showed as a great hero. I remember that very fondly.”
Laxman first met Tendulkar four years ago. Although the Young Master has been hesitant in international matches, his future Indian teammate shone for the national under-19 team against Australia. In three matches, the young genius dominated the ‘Test’ series with scores of 88, 5, 151, 77, 36 and 84, impressing Tendulkar in the process.
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Laxman recalls: “Then I met Sachin at the Hyderabad match. “He knew about my performances, how I was batting. He looked at the young men who were doing well and knew their strengths and how they could continue to progress as ers. So it was a very encouraging conversation.”
Within three years, Laxman made his first test against the Proteas, captained by host Tendulkar.
He says: “The first experience, you were surprised to share the dressing room with him, but Sachin himself broke the ice. “He would be the one who would make every kid of walk into the locker room feeling comfortable.”
Twenty-two years for the first time was enough to get the 22-year-old Laxman on the plane to South Africa for the return series in January 1997, but that trip ended sadly he had to retire injured in the third Test in Johannesburg. . . Again it was Tendulkar who calmed him down.
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“I broke my left arm and was ruled out of the series,” says Laxman. “I couldn’t control my emotions and I was sitting in the dressing room with tears streaming down my face. All the players came and comforted me.
“When everyone left and I was alone, Sachin came to me and what he said was amazing. He said that I will have a good career because they are not young people. many will take the difficult journey to South Africa, but here I am, feeling and not wanting to go back to India.
“That told him that I had a mindset that I wanted to compete with the best, and he felt that mindset would serve me well in my career.”
About the time Laxman felt his career was beginning, thousands of miles from Sydney, the seasoned champion would meet his fate.
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Blues tweaker Gavin Robertson was selected for the ODI tour of Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the spring of 1994 and started alongside his Government colleagues and long-time friends Mark Taylor and Mark and Steve Wow.
Robertson has been on the domestic circuit since 1987 and was regarded as an economic player, if not a gamer. However, his national representation came to an end soon after the last two games.
In Australia and Australia’s famous one-day series in 1994-95, he made five more appearances for New South Wales before finding himself out of the national team.
“I didn’t have a contract,” he says. “I was a mess. “Five weeks after I played those finals I was on the Parramatta Centrelink line and after three weeks of Centrelink I couldn’t cope at all.”
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“Monday to Friday I would drink and read the newspaper and hide in Parramatta Park all day. I did that in less than four months.”
Robertson regained his purpose and drove to his new job and continued to return to New South Wales for training when time allowed, often in the evenings. He was selected to play eight one-day games for the Blues over the next two summers, but his big break came when Stuart MacGill was absent for the Sheffield Shield match in Adelaide at the weekend before Christmas 1997.
The then 31-year-old tore through South Australia in his second innings and finished with match figures of 7-92 to help the Blues to a 10-wicket victory.
“And then I went back to work,” he smiles. “Six weeks later I was selected again to go to Australia.
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This time Robertson was on board for a four-week tour of New Zealand. He played every match and finished the series as the leading wicket-taker with seven.
According to Robertson, the men behind the selection were leading Test duo Taylor and Steve Waugh, with MacGill also named in the squad.
He adds: “They are the two who put me in.” “They said they were looking for someone who would bowl the ball in a different direction than ‘Warnie’ (Shane Warne) and that’s the only reason they chose me.
All the talk leading up to the three-Test series focused on the battle between Tendulkar and Warne. It was a market dream: A 24-year-old Indian batting against a stubborn Australian blond bamboozler.
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Warne had recently rocked South Africa with an 11-wicket haul in the third Test in Sydney, passing 300 in the Baggy Green in the process, while Tendulkar had 58 Tests and 14 centuries in his remarkable career, almost played in ICC matches. above. 10 teams since his 19 years.
However, the two have not met in a Test since the Australian summer of 1991-92, when Warne’s solo appearance began in Sydney (where Tendulkar hit 148 not out).
“Tendulkar vs Warne was considered the heavyweight match of the decade,” Warne wrote in his autobiography.
Although he often took it lightly, Tendulkar also knew exactly where everyone’s eyes were, so like the diligent student that he was, he set about the task of his homework.
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“I have always said that this series is a contest between two teams and not between two people, although in my heart I knew it was a very important game against Warne,” he wrote.
“Knowing I was going to face him soon, I studied Warne’s bowling carefully in that (South Africa) series. blast.” if he hits with a traditional side position.
“As a result, I decided to open Warne’s position a little and stand a little outside the leg stump. I also planned to play him more from the wicket and as early as possible.”
“After working on the theory, I now needed to practice against the type of delivery that Warne would use when under pressure.
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“I started training towards the end of January, with a month left in the series, and I asked the best spinners available in Mumbai to encourage me from wicket to thick leg stump. I was sure Warne will do it.” when I was able to attack him when he shot across the goal.
“That whole performance in Mumbai… was very good and when the Australians came to India in February 1998, I felt ready to face Warne.”
The cat and mouse games started when the Australians were surprised to see Tendulkar coming to Mumbai for their first tour match. There were doubts that the hosts would keep their trump card away from Warne et al, lest they find a weakness to target during the Tests.
Tendulkar was clearly unfazed by such an opportunity and after Australia won the toss and hit 8-305 during the day, the late night announcement meant that the superstar’s time was almost over. arrive.
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Queensland skipper Adam Dale, making his debut for Australia, found himself in front to take the wickets of opener Sulkashan Kulkarni.
Dale didn’t concede a run until his 27th delivery, but eventually Warne came in as the first innings and immediately started with what later proved to be a measured backup.