Indian off spinner Ravichandran Ashwin recalled fond memories of the stunning knock that Sachin Tendulkar played at Sharjah on the 22nd of April 22 years ago in an Instagram Live Session on Thursday.
In an live session with Stand up comedian SA Aravind, Ashwin paid his tribute to the great man by reminiscing that special knock at Sharjah. He said, “Appa(my father) woke me up during the Sharjah game saying that, wake up, something fabulous is happening! Tony Grieg in the commentary box was saying, ‘that man is going for the target, he’s going for the target, can you believe it.’ Those were the days…then I wake up and see that there was a sandstorm happening at the ground, I was completely shocked, and then Sachin goes on to take us to the final.”
He went on about the experience of watching and playing with the Little Master, “So for me, seeing Sachin and watching Cricket only for him and having a lot of butterflies seeing him bat, to actually playing with him and sharing some of the most historic cricket moments, all I can say is, thank you Sachin, and may God bless you for this icon that you have been for Cricket.”
The duo also talked about the connection Tendulkar had with the crowd at Chepauk.
“The whole aura around CSK and the crowd has built up over the last ten years, CSK gets an arousing reception whenever they walk out to play, but initially, I remember, until CSK started winning IPL trophies, then the connection between the franchise and the crowd started to build. But during 2008-09, the whole crowd would erupt whenever Sachin went out to bat for Mumbai Indians.”
The duo also went on to talk about how Tendulkar’s most memorable knocks took place at Chepauk. Recalling the Test match against England in 2008, Ashwin said, “I remember Chennai Super Kings losing the final of the IPL that year. That year, we qualified for the Champions League. Just as we were about to start the Champions League in India, the attacks took place, and the tournament was cancelled. Right after that, Sachin got that unbeaten hundred against England at Chepauk, which helped us chase down 387 in the fourth innings.”
Inspired by Michael Bevan’s 101 and Mark Waugh’s 81, Australia scored 284/7 in their 50 Overs. India required 285 to win the game or 254 to qualify for the final ahead of New Zealand with a better net run rate. After a great start, India were 107/1, with Tendulkar and Mongia adding 69 for the 2nd wicket. Azharuddin and Jadeja followed a few overs later, Jadeja to an absolutely stunning catch by Adam Gilchrist behind the stumps off Steve Waugh’s medium pace, as India slumped to 138/4 after 29 overs. Two overs later, a sandstorm blew across the ground, interrupting play. The target was reduced to 276 off 46 overs, and 237 to reach the final. Tendulkar launched into the most iconic onslaught in Indian Cricket against the Australian bowlers, hitting them to all parts of the ground. It did not help Australia’s case that Damien Martyn dropped him with 14 runs for India to qualify. By the time Tendulkar was out caught behind, India were 244/4, well past the target of 237 for the final.
Two days later, on this day, Australia and India met in the final. Australia set a target of 273 for India, aided by 70 each from Steve Waugh and Darren Lehmann. Tendulkar picked up from where he left off, and on his 25th birthday, gifted the millions of Indians with an amazing exhibition of batting, with a 134 off a 131 deliveries, which ensured that India were able to chase down the target and win the Coca Cola Cup.