Sachin Tendulkar must have thought of his coach, Ramakant Acharekar, as he walked back to the dressing room after being run-out in the World Cup opener against Bangladesh.
One of the coach’s favourite lines, which he drilled into his favourite pupil’s head all the time, was: “Run-out is nothing but suicide.” And Sachin believes firmly in this. So he must have felt rotten, really, and especially so because he knew he had missed out on a big score.
But he didn’t bring the suicidal act upon himself. He played the spinner to widish mid-on, called Sehwag for a single, and took off. When you do that, you don’t really think your partner is busy looking back – at the ball. It’s elementary: it’s not done. Virender Sehwag ought to have been looking at Tendulkar. But somebody has to pay the price for amateurish cricket, and Tendulkar did.
Sehwag knew, then, that when he got back to the dressing room, he’d have to say, “Sorry.” He also knew it would sound a little more convincing if it were backed up by runs on the board, and he got more than what Tendulkar would’ve asked for.
So I’m sure Sehwag has been forgiven. Plus, apart from the win itself, there’s the consolation that the 28 runs scored were well-earned.
Tendulkar began with a lovely glance for four, using the pace of the ball intelligently, and one ball bowled on the legs was put away majestically, with the authority of a classical Indian batsman who says bowlers have no business pitching it anywhere in that region.
He refused to hook when the fast bowlers bounced in order to tempt him into playing risky shots, and he played the left-arm spinner, brought on early by the opposition after Sehwag’s assault, carefully but positively.
This showed intent to bat for at least 40 overs. Tendulkar knows he’d have to bat for a major part of the innings if India have to do consistently well in the tournament. And even after that, he’d hate to be run-out..
(Vaibhav Purandare is the author of Sachin Tendulkar: A Definitive Biography, published in India and the UK. He is senior associate editor, Hindustan Times, Mumbai)