‘You could not give a bad ball to him’: James Anderson, Dale Steyn recall bowling against Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar is regarded as one of the legends of cricket. The India batsman etched his name in the record books, as he surpassed numerous feats in his career that were once considered impossible. He became the first player to register 100 international hundreds, a record which no one has been able to surpass yet. He also retired with most runs in both ODIs and Tests, and still holds the top position in both the formats. In his historic career, Tendulkar indulged in several on-field battles with some of the best bowlers in the world - two of them being England’s James Anderson and South Africa’s Dale Steyn.
Speaking on Star Sports Podcast, both Steyn and Anderson recalled what it was like to bowl against Tendulkar, and why he was a difficult opponent to deal with.
“I don’t remember having a specific game plan against Sachin Tendulkar,” Anderson said. “Once he came on, I would just think that I cannot bowl a bad ball here, he was that kind of player. He was a key for India as well. If you get him out in India, the whole atmosphere, in the ground changes. He was such a big wicket.”
“You just try on bowling your best ball, top of off-stump, the whole time and hope he miss a straight one. In England, he might knick the odd one, but generally, I’d try and get him out LBW early. I had some success against him, but he had success against me as well. He got runs against us quite a lot,” he added.
Steyn agreed with Anderson, and said that it was difficult to get Tendulkar out LBW. “When he came in, you had to up your focus and think on how you are going to hold that length and try and hit the top of off stump. Especially in India, if you could just get the ball to get back in, you could get him out LBW. But he was so good, he rarely got out that way,” he said.
He further talked about the impact Tendulkar had on the crowd in India. “You never want to bowl a bad ball to him. If you bowl a bad ball to him and he hits you for four, especially in India, it feels like the world is closing in on you. He might just be on 4* but he might as well be batting on 500,” he said.
“You don’t want to bowl a bad ball and you would think to just bring the pace down a little bit, and bowl at the right place for as long as you possibly could. And then you just hope; because he’s got it covered, he has every shot in the book. You just hope that one ball would do something off the seam or he’s got an off day and it goes in your favour,” Steyn said.