When Sachin Tendulkar pretended to be Dennis Lillee on the cricket field

Sachin Tendulkar wished Dennis Lillee on his 68th birthday recalling their first meeting where the fast bowler had advised him against pursuing his dreams to become a fast bowler.

cricket Updated: Jul 19, 2017 12:30 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
Sachin Tendulkar,Dennis Lillee,Indian Cricket Team
Sachin Tendulkar wanted to be a fast bowler at one point but Dennis Lillee suggested him to be a batsman.(AFP)

Former Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee turned 68 on Tuesday and while there were a number of wishes from former cricketers and fans across social media, the most iconic one came from a legend of the game who admitted that he “pretended to be a Dennis Lillee in the nets”.

What made it iconic is that the legend is none other than former India batsman Sachin Tendulkar. With over 34,000 runs to his name in his international career, Tendulkar is regarded as arguably the best batsman in the history of the game with comparisons drawn alongside the legendary Sir Don Bradman. It isn’t a secret anymore that Tendulkar wanted to be a fast bowler at one point, but that didn’t happen, and instead he rolled his arms as a part-time leg-spinner later in his career.

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In a video posted on Facebook by Tendulkar late on Tuesday night, he wishes Lillee on his birthday before stating: “I can’t ever forget the day I met you in Chennai in 1987. I was there to become a fast bowler, but this is something most of the guys don’t know. I was always a batter but while catching the train from Mumbai to Chennai, my brother told me ‘It won’t be a bad idea to carry your batting gear because after bowling for a while, you might be standing there doing nothing. And that time you can pad up and play against all those fast bowlers.’ I actually ended up doing that for the rest of the week. You correctly said ‘I think this young lad should go out and bat and forget about bowling.’”

Well, Lillee seemed to have seen the talent hidden in that 16-year-old back then and the rest is history. However, Tendulkar admits that it wasn’t the end of his dreams of becoming a fast bowler and added: “But that desire continued and instead of bowling in matches, I used to fulfill all my desires at the nets, bowling from 17 yards (and) sometimes also pretended to be a Dennis Lillee at the nets.”

First Published: Jul 19, 2017 12:30 IST