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Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What the 2011 World Cup means to Sachin Tendulkar - 1992 World Cup

Sachin Tendulkar has gone back to India early from South Africa, because of a hamstring injury. Even though it might not be as serious as the one that is troubling Michael Hussey of Australia, the legend wants to ensure that he takes ample rest to keep himself fit for the six weeks during the World Cup. There is no doubt that Sachin will recover in time - he will even play matches on crutches, if it comes to that! This will be his last chance to play in a World Cup and a fitting farewell for him will be a resounding victory for his home team in his backyard,  Mumbai. What a dream run that will be?

Sachin will join Javed Miandad as the only player to play six World Cups in its history so far. There are many who have played five but no one else has lasted long enough to enjoy one more. Sachin, in fact, must consider himself unfortunate that he had to wait for three long years after his debut to play in a World Cup (1992). But for this wait, he might have beaten Miandad's record also - what a record of longevity that would have been! Let us go through each edition that Sachin has played along with players who have gone on to occupy higher positions in other areas. This post will be about the first World Cup that Sachin played - 1992.

Sachin played the 1992 World Cup under Azharuddin in the Australasian Continent right after the disastrous test series. Sachin had shown enough glimpses of his talent to the world in the series - remember the century scored on the fast Perth pitch against the mighty Aussie attack. The morale of the team was low - they didnt have the self-belief that they could make a difference, forget win the tournament. There was rain in the air that contributed to shortened matches and the famous D/L method came into use at various games. Azhar, Sachin with the bat and Prabhakar with the ball were the consistent performers in this Cup that the Indians would love to forget.

What one can remember from this World Cup were very few nuggets, not all positive ones from an Indian perspective:
  • India-Australia match that ended with a 1-run win for the hosts. Javagal Srinath and Venkatapathy Raju were the batsmen at the crease facing Tom Moody while David Boon was keeping wickets. Srinath thought that he had hit a six when in fact it was a catch to the outfield. The catch was missed but the batsman was run-out resulting in a win for the Oz. The India-Australia match in the previous World Cup (1987) was also a close encounter with Maninder Singh and Steve Waugh involved.
  • Ajay Jadeja's catch in the outfield to dismiss Allan Border in the same match. This was one of the highlight of the Indian fielding throughout the World Cup. This catch can be recollected by all Indian fans even to this day. Jadeja had clearly made a mark as an outstanding fielder in the Indian team.
  • Kiran More and Javed Miandad getting into an argument in the Indo-Pak match. More was known for his excessive appealing. When you have him keep wickets close to the combustible Miandad, there were bound to be fireworks. Miandad imitated More in a manner only he can. Watch the video below for more details!
  • Sachin's fifty against arch-rivals Pakistan and his partnership with Kapil Dev. After a slow start, the Indian innings came to life from a cameo by the Young Master, who came together with the veteran all-rounder to restore some respectability to the Indian score.
  • Kapil Dev promoted to open the batting in one of the matches! Due to the frequent rain interruptions, the Indians went to the extent of changing the batting order and requested Kapil Dev to partner Srikkanth in one of the match. The experiment did not last long however.
The team had Praveen Amre (from the same school of Sachin Tendulkar) who started with a bang - century overseas against South Africa on his debut in a situation that called for action from heros. Amre later faded away from the scene and eventually became the coach of the Mumbai cricket team.

Another player from the same school played in this World Cup (as well as the 1996 one) but his exploits were more off the field than on it. Vinod Kambli had famously stated that he took the staircase to success when Sachin took the elevator. He is part of the list of players who have a test average of more than fifty. His troubles against the short ball were well-documented and he was targeted by bowlers all around the world. Of late, there were reports that he had opened a Sports Academy in Mumbai. He tried to contest in the local elections but lost badly.

This was also the last World Cups for Kapil Dev, Ravi Shastri and Krishnamachari Srikkanth who were all part of the 1983 winning team. Kapil would go on to be the coach of the Indian cricket team before associated with the now-defunct ICL. Shastri got in and continued to be involved with commentary on television and later the IPL bandwagon. Srikkanth is currently the Chief Selector of the Indian cricket team as well as the Brand Ambassador for CSK in the IPL.

Kiran More also bid good-bye to this stage after his antics with Javed Miandad during the high-voltage match. He became the Chairman of the Selection Committee in 2002 before joining the rebel ICL league. Subroto Banerjee was another then-youngster who played in his only World Cup - he made his test debut in the same match that Shane Warne did but his name rings very few bells.

This performance must have brought a lot of discontent to the young Sachin Tendulkar and he must have sworn vengeance on all the bowlers in the subsequent World Cups. From the dismal performance put up by the Indian team, things were going to go in one direction only, up.

Next post is on 1996 World Cup in the Sub-continent.

Javed Miandad and Kiran More

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