'We needed 241 in 40.5 overs. Closed the game in 38': Tendulkar recalls ODI that helped shape India's white-ball cricket
- Sachin Tendulkar has admitted it several times that it was India's win at the 1983 World Cup that triggered his ambition of being a cricketer. But not many are aware that Sachin gives credit to another ODI that he believes helped shaped Indian cricket for the era that was to come.
Sachin Tendulkar has admitted it several times that it was India's win at the 1983 World Cup that triggered his ambition of being a cricketer. But not many are aware that Sachin gives credit to another ODI that he believes helped shaped Indian cricket for the era that was to come. From playing their first ODI in 1974 to today being one of the most formidable units in the 50-overs format, Indian cricket has witnessed some tremendous highs, most notably being winning the 2011 World Cup, which is the highest point in Tendulkar's cricketing career.
But did you know? Despite the euphoria of April 2, 2011, an ODI played in the year 1997 is the one match which Tendulkar feels went a long way in triggering a change in Indian cricket took place during a tri-series featuring New Zealand and South Africa.
Led by Tendulkar, India faced Zimbabwe in the final league game in a must-win encounter. The Zimbabwe of 1997 was a far more fierce and tough opponent that now, and recalling the ‘important’ match, the former India batter felt it deserved a mention.
"We needed to get the target of 241 runs against Zimbabwe in 40.5 overs to make the final of that tri-series which also involved South Africa. Zimbabwe were two points ahead of us, so we needed to qualify for the final on the basis of a better net run rate. We eventually closed that game in about 38 overs (39.2). I scored a hundred (104). Zimbabwe was a much better team [then], formidable at the time, and the outfield was laden with thick grass. Hence, I feel it was an important game that comes to my mind straightway," Tendulkar had told ESPNCricinfo.
Tendulkar was 10 years old when India lifted the 1983 World Cup in England. Despite piling numerous batting records – leading run-scorers in Tests and ODIs and scoring 100 international centuries, Tendulkar’s biggest dream of winning a World Cup came true in his sixth attempt.
"I also watched the World Championship of Cricket final in Australia. But 1983 World Cup final was the turning point of my life. That motivated me a lot. Till then cricket was played for fun, but after that I played cricket with purpose. When you win a World Cup nothing matches that. The best day of my cricketing career," added Tendulkar.