Go back and bowl again as I’m still here: How Sachin Tendulkar countered Glenn McGrath in 1999
Sachin Tendulkar taking guard and Glenn McGrath at the top of his mark used to be a dream setting for any Indian cricket fan in the late 90s and early 2000s. World’s premier fast bowler against one of the greatest batsmen of the game - the McGrath vs Tendulkar contest was enough to draw the attention away from match-situation and focus only on the genius of the two. Whether it was the 1999 Test series in Australia, the ICC Champions Trophy in Kenya in 2000 or the 2003 Word Cup final in South Africa, Tendulkar and McGrath have produced duels to cherish for generations.
Tendulkar sometimes tried to unsettle McGrath by taking the attack to him, McGrath a few times bowled only on side of the wicket to block Tendulkar’s famous flick shots. Remembering one such tactic used by McGrath during the Adelaide Test in 1999, Tendulkar said how the Australian quick had tried to frustrate him.Tendulkar revealed how he managed to win a game of chess on the field against the player of McGrath’s quality.
The ‘Master Blaster’ explained how he first remained calm and patient when McGrath was in full flow but cut loose the next morning and put pressure back on the bowler.
“In 1999, in our first match at Adelaide... the first innings there was hardly 40 minutes to go in the day’s play. Glenn McGrath comes and bowls five or six maiden overs to me,” Tendulkar told Star Sports during a video chat that was tweeted by BCCI.
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“That was their strategy... ‘let’s frustrate Sachin. 70 per cent of the ball should go to (wicket-keeper) Adam Gilchrist and 10 per cent close to his bat. If he plays or chases deliveries outside the off-stump we have succeeded’.
“So I kept leaving as many deliveries as possible. There were some good deliveries where I was beaten as well. But I said ‘well bowled and now go back and bowl again as I am still here’,” he added.
“I remember hitting him for a few boundaries the next morning because it was a fresh day and we both were at the same level. They had a strategy but I knew their strategy was to frustrate me.
“I thought this evening I am patient but tomorrow morning I am gonna play the way I want. You won’t control how I want to play but I would control where you are going to bowl.”
Tendulkar also had a word of advice for current cricketer as to how to keep themselves mentally fit during lockdown. Due to coronavirus pandemic, all cricket across the world has been postponed for the time being and Tendulkar stated sometimes it is good to stay away from the game for a brief period.
“First of all I would like to tell them to recharge their respective batteries. It is important to have some off time. When you are playing regularly it is not easy to be at the top of your game. It is good to move away from cricket for a while to recharge your batteries,” he said.
(With agency inputs)