New Delhi. Cricket is as much a game of the mind as it is of the bat and ball. There have been only a few such cricketers, who have played cricket with the mind along with the bat-ball. And one of them is Sachin Tendulkar. Sachin Tendulkar himself shared a story related to this mind game and told how he failed both his line and length by playing a maze against Chris Cairns at the non-striker’s end during the match against New Zealand in Mohali Was. It was a matter of time when New Zealand was touring India in 1999. He was playing a Test match in Mohali. Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar were batting brilliantly for India, suddenly the ball started reversing and troubled Dravid. New Zealand bowler Chris Cairns was the leader of their bowling attack, who was bowling at his peak. Then Sachin Tendulkar played a mind game and rolled the dice.
Sachin Tendulkar said, “I was batting with Rahul Dravid. The ball was reverse swinging and Chris Cairns was beating us a couple of times. We were kind of clueless because we couldn’t see the glow of the ball. I told Rahul that I have an idea. I said that I am close to the bowler and when he is taking the run up, I am watching him and the ball closely.
Then came the Master Blaster’s master stroke, which only he could have thought of. He said, “Whichever side shines, I will hold the bat in that hand. If he is going to bowl an outswinger, the bat will be in my left hand. If he is going to bowl an inswinger, the bat is in my right hand at the non-striker’s end.”
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Sachin Tendulkar’s idea of holding the bat according to swing worked. Rahul Dravid hits a cover drive to Chris Cairns and immediately one over mid-wicket. Sachin Tendulkar further said, “Suddenly you see some cover drives for boundaries, on-drives hitting mid-wicket and mid-on, then even the bowler starts doubting. In such a situation, Chris was surprised that I was beating these people many times in every over and now suddenly I am giving boundaries. Something is definitely wrong.”
New Zealand players understood it very quickly and then Chris Cairns was very clever and he did a cross seam delivery, but Sachin was also one step ahead of the opposition. He told Rahul Dravid, “Chris didn’t realize that I had also warned Rahul that if I didn’t know what was going to happen, I would hold the bat in the middle.”
FIRST PUBLISHED : March 14, 2023, 14:37 IST