Former legendary batsman, Sachin Tendulkar was invited to Sir Don Bradman’s 90th birthday on August 27, 1998, to his house in Adelaide. He was accompanied by Australian leg-spinner, Shane Warne. Tendulkar and Warne were reaching their peaks in 1998 and an invitation to celebrate the birthday of the greatest Sir Bradman was a cherry on the cake.
Tendulkar recalls him and Warne being nervous before meeting Bradman. When the leggie asked the Indian opener to start the conversation with Bradman, he riposted by saying being an Aussie that Warne should be the one to break the ice.
“It was a big moment because I still remember from the hotel, Warnie was with me. Warnie was driving and he said ‘I am tensed, I am worried, what to talk to him about batting? You’re a batter, so you need to talk to him,” recalls Tendulkar while speaking to India Today.
“I said, ‘no, Aussie first’. I told him to start the conversation and I would follow up. So Shane Warne went inside and started talking a little bit.”
Bradman’s witty reply to Sachin Tendulkar’s question:
Curiously, Sachin Tendulkar asked the former Australia captain about the current bowlers and whether he could have been able to score his much-revered average of 99.94 against them. To which, Bradman funnily replied that he could touch 70- which would still be great for a 90-year-old!
Sachin Tendulkar said, “Obviously, the natural question was ‘Sir Don, if you were batting in today’s era, what would you have averaged?’. He took about 10 seconds to think and said ‘maybe around 70’. The obvious reaction was ‘why only 70? Why not 99?’.
“He said ‘common kid, it’s not bad for a 90-year-old man’. That was his response. He enjoyed watching cricket. He was up with the game. Those were special moments.”
Sachin Tendulkar was one of the few – now Steve Smith in the current era – who has been compared with the Don. In fact, Bradman himself has opined that the Indian legend bats like him, and both have a similar style of batting. Bradman’s average of 99.94 is considered as the pinnacle in Test cricket, so is Sachin Tendulkar’s 34,000 runs for India and 100 international centuries.
“I saw him playing on television and was struck by his technique, so I asked my wife to come to look at him. Now I never saw myself play, but I felt that this player is playing with a style similar to mine, and she looked at the TV and said yes, there is a similarity between the two…his compactness, technique, stroke production – it all seemed to gel,” Don Bradman said.