In his just-released autobiography ‘Playing It My Way‘, Sachin Tendulkar reveals how tough it was when he padded up against the pace legends Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis in 1989- the experience that left him so scared that he doubted his ability at the highest level.
“It was baptism by fire. So much so that after my very first innings in Test cricket, during which I was all at sea against Wasim and Waqar, I began to doubt my ability to bat and question whether I was ever going to be good enough to play at international level.
“What made it (my debut) event more significant was that we were playing against Pakistan in Pakistan and their bowling attack included fast bowlers of the quality of Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Aaqib Javed, not to mention the leg-spinners Mushtaq Ahmed and Abdul Qadir – quite a test for any debutant.
“I was on strike to him for the third ball of the over, which turned out to be a vicious bouncer. Having studied Wasim’s bowling, I was convinced the next ball would be yorker and was mentally prepared for it.
“It turned out to be another bouncer, which I left. While I kept expecting a fiery yorker, balls five and six also turned out to be bouncers, and at the end of the over I said to myself, ‘Welcome to Test Cricket‘,” Tendulkar writes in the book.
Tendulkar also talked about the delivery from Waqar Younis in the fourth test at Sialkot that left his nose bloodied.
“I had just scored my first run when Waqar bowled a short delivery, which I expected would rise chin-high. I misjudged the bounce of the ball. It rose six inches higher than expected and hit me on the flap of the helmet before deflecting and hitting my nose.
“My vision was blurred and my head felt heavy. After the impact, the ball went towards the slips and my natural movement was to see where the ball had gone. It was then that I noticed all the blood spattered on my shirt,” Tendulkar said.
“As I was trying to recover from the blow, I was amused by Javed Miandad’s comments. In an attempt to psyche me out, he was saying things like ‘Arre tujhe toh abhi hospital jana parega; tera naak tut gaya hai.’ (You may have to go to the hospital; your nose is broken). To add to my discomfort, a banner in the stands read, ‘Bachhe ghar ja ke dudh pie ke aa.”
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