'I wanted to get Sachin's autograph but realised it wouldn't look good for my first impression,' says Australia legend
The great Sachin Tendulkar wasn't only the greatest batter of his era, but also one of the most respected cricketers. It has been nine years since Tendulkar retired but he is still one of the most revered legends of all time. Tendulkar was one of the few players who would draw cheers from the opposition crowd, such was his era. Many bowlers have called him the greatest batter ever bowled to and given the plethora of batting records he has left behind, it is not hard to imagine why.
Tendulkar's battles with some of the champion bowlers of his era such as Glenn McGrath, Wasim Akram, Allan Donald, Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralitharan, Shoaib Akhtar James Anderson and more are the stuff of legends, but one bowler holds a record that none of these legends do. Former Australia pacer Brett Lee has dismissed Tendulkar 14 times in international cricket, the most by any bowler. The battles between Lee and Tendulkar have been countless, and in fact, on Brett's Test debut for Australia, Sachin has scored a hundred during the Sydney Test in 1999.
However, ahead of the three Test series, Lee got the opportunity to bowl to Tendulkar for the first time in a three-day practice game. For Lee, it was one of his fanboy moments as he wanted Tendulkar to sign an autograph for him; however, Lee decided against it and here is the reason why.
"The first time I met Sachin Tendulkar was way back in 1999. We were in Canberra and I was playing for the Prime Minister's XI against the touring Indian team. And of course, Sachin Tendulkar was in that game. He came out to bat and I realised I am bowling to the great Sachin Tendulkar. I actually wanted to get his autograph – I thought I'll give him the ball and say 'hey mate, could you please sign this?' But then realised it wouldn't look good for my first impression against the great Tendulkar," Lee said on his YouTube channel.
The occasion got sweeter for Lee, who had dreamt of bowling to Tendulkar, as he managed to get Sachin out in that game. It was a cherry on top moment for Lee, and as the world would go on to witness, the first chapter in the memorable battle between him and Tendulkar that would unfold over the next 13 years.
"Me as a young kid growing up watching him and here I am with the ball in hand thinking how am I going to get this guy out. I managed to nick him off. We shook hands at the end of the game and I was in absolute awe of this wonderful man," added Lee.