There’s little doubt that Magic Monday belonged to Sachin Tendulkar, but he was quick to point out that there were two other heroes for India in this historic win. When asked what the mood in the dressing room was when Sehwag was blazing away, Tendulkar could only chuckle. “We are quite used to that. You kind of expect something, which is not expected. When Viru is batting it is always entertaining and full of surprises,” said Tendulkar.
“He set it up brilliantly. How many players in the world can do that? Without any doubt, in the end, it was Viru’s contribution that mattered.”
If this innings finally sets Yuvraj Singh’s career on track, he can thank Tendulkar profusely, for the senior man was constantly talking to his younger partner. “I told Yuvraj not to be tense, to play his natural game. If there’s a ball that should be hit then go for it, don’t stop yourself. I said to him: ‘Ignore whatever else is happening and let’s focus on each other and feed off that energy,’” Tendulkar explained.
“People have been talking about whether Yuvraj is a Test player or not and I think that is just loose statements. Anyone can have a bad phase but that doesn’t mean he is not capable of scoring runs at Test level.”
What the innings did for Tendulkar himself was, lay to rest the ghosts of that emotional 1999 loss to Pakistan at the same venue. “When Yuvi played a shot off Monty that landed between short midwicket and long-on I said to him: ‘wait till the last run is scored. We need to make sure that both of us complete the runs.’ On a track like this when you lose a wicket it can become hard for the new batsman.”
In many ways life has come full circle for Tendulkar. In 1999 he was livid when some of his team-mates played loose shots and scuttled what would have been a great win. This time, Tendulkar ensured the job was done. “That (loss to Pakistan) would always be there in the back of my mind. Today I feel extremely happy. It’s something every batsman dreams of — to finish a game in the fourth innings and score big runs. This is something I wanted to do. Score a 100 in the fourth innings and win a match for India,” said Tendulkar.
“I would put this one right up there given the circumstances and the surface, the weather and the target.”