On the 14th of August 1990, Sachin Tendulkar [17 y, 107 days] became the youngest Indian batsman to score a Test hundred. With India battling to save the game, the ‘Little genius’ showed incredible calmness and patience beyond his years to script a match-saving heist for the Men in Blue at Old Trafford in Manchester.
It was a typical Tendulkar innings, laced with sumptuous on-drives, astounding backfoot punches, delicate flicks, and ferocious square cuts. It was innings that laid in the first brick in the Tendulkar ‘Hall of 100 Centuries’; an innings that once again testified the reputation that he had built in domestic cricket. Bur for Tendulkar the seeds of that epic Old Trafford knock were sown during the Sialkot Test in his maiden series against Pakistan, seven months ago.
With India battling sat 4-38 in the fourth innings, Tendulkar coped a blow on his nose courtesy a ferocious bouncer from Waqar Younis. It later emerged that the right-hander had broken his nose. But the 16-year-old prodigy continued to bat and ended up scoring a match-saving 57. That knock gave Sachin the confidence which ultimately translated into a three-figure score a few months later.
”I scored that 100 on August 14 and next day was our Independence Day, so it was special. The headline was different and that hundred at least kept the series alive till next Test at the Oval. The art of saving a Test match was a new experience for me,” Tendulkar said but added he knew he could save a game when he batted with a “bloodied nose” and a blood-soaked jersey after being hit by Waqar Younis,” Sachin Tendulkar told PTI on the eve of the 30th anniversary of his maiden international hundred.
“In Sialkot where I got hit and scored 57, we saved that Test match, too, from 38 for 4. Waqar”s bouncer and playing through pain defined me. After those kind of hits you are either stronger or you are nowhere to be seen.” he added.
‘My pain threshold was fairly high’- Sachin Tendulkar
Amazingly, Tendulkar was once again hit by a bouncer courtesy Devon Malcolm during the first innings of the Old Trafford Test. But, as the Master himself revealed, that his pain threshold was ‘fairly high’, a trait in-built in him thanks to coach Late Ramakant Acherkar.
Sachin Tendulkar revealed how his childhood coach prepared him to handle all sorts of pain by making him bat on the same pitch for 25 days straight at the Shivaji Park Gymkhana.
”Devon and Waqar, during that phase, were easily the two quickest bowlers in the world bowling at 90 mph. Yes, I didn’t call the physio as I didn’t want to show them that I am in pain. My pain threshold was fairly high. Its okay to get hit. So what. You don’t show your pain to the bowler,” Tendulkar added.
“I was used to getting hit on my body from my days in Shivaji Park as Acherkar sir would make us play on that and it would have enormous wear and tear. The same pitch we played a match on one day and next day we were back for nets. So balls would just jump off length and hit my nose. In fact, I would just throw the ball up and take it on my body to absorb the pain.” Sachin Tendulkar revealed.
Sachin stiched a dodged 160-run-stand with Manoj Prabhakar in the fourth innings. The Master Blaster said that it was a case of showing patience while also crediting Prabhakar for his knock.
“It was a case of showing patience and credit to Manoj that we had a 160-run stand. No way till the last over. We came together when we were six down (183/6) but me and Manoj together said ”yeh hum kar sakte hain, match bacha lenge” (we can save the match). Also England had attacking field as they could only win from that position,” Tendulkar said.
Sachin Tendulkar also recalled getting a white shirt as a gift from Sanjay Manjrekar after his maiden Test ton.
“Sanjay Manjrekar presented me a white shirt which was a gift for scoring a hundred. I was really touched,” he concluded.
Sachin Tendulkar went on to add 99 more international tons to his tally before finally calling it quits in November 2013.