Former India batsman Sachin Tendulkar recalled his first tour of Australia in 1991/1992, explaining how the five-Test series changed him in a good way and taught him so much about what being an international cricketer is all about. Tendulkar was only 18 when he went to Australia for a Test series, but he came out with flying colours, scoring two hundreds in an otherwise forgettable series for India.
The bowling line-up which Tendulkar was up against comprised Craig McDermott, Merv Hughes, Mike Whitney and Paul Reiffel. At that moment, Tendulkar knew he was no longer a teenager and that the opposition would be baying for his blood. Tendulkar started the series with scores of 16, 7, 15 and 40 before notching up his second Test ton – first in Australia – 148 in Sydney.
“They were top-class bowlers and I had grown up watching them. From being a ball boy in 1987-88, suddenly in 1991-92, I was playing against them. I knew that once I was out there competing, no one was going to look at my age,” Tendulkar said in a video posted on his YouTube channel.
“They were going to do all possible things to get me out, to send me back to the dressing room. And I was ready to face those challenges. That particular tour changed me as a player. It taught me a lit. Not just technically, but mentally… how to approach a big game.”
Reminiscing his century at Perth, where Tendulkar scored a brilliant 114 at the fiery WACA surface, the former batsman revealed he discovered an interesting nugget while he batting. Primarily a front foot batsman, Tendulkar altered his gameplay and showed a lot of maturity to get on top of the bowlers mentally.
“People talk about steep bounce and pace. Steep bounce and pace mean that the good length area for the bowler becomes small. It becomes that much tougher for the bowler to find that ideal spot. So if the batter goes out to bat with a positive approach… looking to score runs and just keep blocking, there are many scoring opportunities,” he said.
“I looked at it that way. Early on it was about getting on top of the ball, but as time went by, my thinking evolved. I thought why do you always have to get on tip off the ball. When there is no third man, you can get under the ball and use their pace. If they falter on the shorter side, I would go over slips, or gully, and even if I don’t get it right because of the pace and bounce, it was going to carry.”