Master Blaster Sachin Tendulkar made heads turn during his maiden Test tour of Australia in 1991/92 as an 18-year-old prodigy. Tendulkar, who had made his debut as a 16-year-old against Pakistan in November 1989, was already two years into his Test career and had already tasted success during the previous overseas trips to New Zealand and England in 1990.
But, as is the case with any batsmen from the sub-continent, Sachin Tendulkar’s biggest challenge was tipped to be the Australian tour during the winter of 1991-92. Fans, as well as pundits, were intrigued as to how the prodigy will counter the pace and bounce of the tracks Down Under.
Tendulkar did that with disdain as he stroked two hundred in the four-match series, with the best of the lot coming on a fiery track of the WACA in Perth. The Master smashed a chanceless 114 laced with sumptuous on-drives and even more picturesque backfoot punches even as his experienced teammates fell like nine pins. However, Tendulkar also learned a key lesson during his innings in Perth which involved then Australian skipper Allan Border.
In a recent chat with India Today’s Boria Majumdar, Sachin Tendulkar recalled the incident.
“I was playing in Perth and I played a back foot defence. The fielders were standing far from me and we were not taking singles because bowler was on his follow through. I saw Allan Border running to get the ball and I thought of just picking the ball and giving it to the senior player (Border). But he said, “don’t you touch the ball’. That was a big lesson to me. Then I thought that whenever I play a dead defence let them come and pick the ball,” Sachin Tendulkar told India Today.
Sachin Tendulkar recalls his preparations for the 1991/92 tour of Australia
Tendulkar impinged himself as a force to reckon with courtesy his performances in Australia. When asked about his preparation for the tour, the ‘Little genius’ said that he used to practice with a rubber ball on hard concrete wet surfaces prior to the series in order to get accustomed to the pace and bounce of Australian wickets.
He also added that having already toured countries like Pakistan, New Zealand and England, he was mentally prepared for the battle.
“Before going to Australia I was practicing with a rubber ball on a wet surface, a concrete surface. So those wet rubber balls will really take off and they would go at a reasonable pace. I would ask my friends to even throw from 70 yards, they were supposed to hit me and those were the sessions I felt was a little out of the box because you do normal things in the nets,” Sachin Tendulkar said.
“I was prepared to do whatever gave me satisfaction, enjoyment and simultaneously I was preparing and learning to deal with different things. When it comes to Australia everyone talks about how steep the bounce is, how hard the surfaces are. so I had to prepare myself for that but I would say I was mentally prepared right from Pakistan to New Zealand (series’),” he added.
When John Wright became our coach I used to teasingly tell him that, ‘You sledged me when I came in to bat’. School kid comes out to bat and all those things and that started from Pakistan, did not stop. When I went to Australia I knew that players are going to say something but then you choose to ignore and when you want to respond you respond. I learnt that from that tour,” Sachin Tendulkar signed off.