Success has many fathers. Some play a minor role, while others’ contributions are so vital in shaping the whole thing.
One such story has come to light after Sachin Tendulkar revealed what made him the most successful batsman of his time. Thanks to Mohammad Azharuddin, India got one of its greatest openers in Tendulkar.
In the early 1990s when Tendulkar had already established himself in the Indian Cricket team, an opportunity knocked his door when opener Navjot Sidhu pulled out of a match owing to a stiff neck. Tendulkar spotted the chance and approached the then captain Azharuddin.
Following a discussion with him and the coach, Tendulkar got what he wanted – the opening slot. And the rest, as they say is history. His career transformed for good.
Talking to cricket expert Aakash Chopra on his YouTube channel, Tendulkar revealed the conversation between him, captain Azharuddin and Ajit Wadekar, who was the coach.
“When Sherry (Navjot Singh Sidhu) informed that he had a stiff neck and would not be able to play, I told Wadekar sir ‘Can I be considered (to open) because I am feeling very confident about playing my shots. I told Azhar if I fail, I will never come back to him again’,” said Tendulkar.
India was to take on New Zealand in an ODI to be played in Auckland. Tendulkar told them that he needed one chance so he could play his shots in the beginning, rather than building partnerships at a later stage. He told them he wanted to attack and put pressure on them.
To this, both Azhar and Wadekar graciously agreed. “If you are so confident, we will back you,” they said. Tendulkar smashed a memorable 82 runs off 49 runs in that match. He never had to ask for opening again.
“I had played 60-70 ODIs by then and after that match, I did not have to ask again. They were more than happy to have me as the opener,” Tendulkar said.
Tendulkar performed his best opening for India. He scored 15,310 runs at an average of 48.29 in 344 matches.