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Sachin Tendulkar Rates 1999 Australia Test Series As Toughest Of His Career

NDTV logo NDTV 17/05/2017
© AP Photo

India batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar on Tuesday rated the 1999 series against Australia as the toughest in his 24-year long illustrious international career. The Steve Waugh-led side dominated the three-match Test series, handing India, captained by Tendulkar, a 3-0 whitewash. Australia won the first Test at Adelaide by 285 runs. They followed their dominant display with a 180-run victory in the second Test at Melbourne, and an innings and 141-run win in the third Test in Sydney. "The toughest series without any doubt was in 1999 when we went to Australia and they had a great side. In a team of 11, you had literally seven to eight match winners and the rest were also very good," Tendulkar said at a promotional event in Mumbai.

Photos: Sachin Tendulkar: The cricket legend's life in pics

Bangladesh v India, Asia Cup Cricket Match at the Sher-e-Bangla National Cricket Stadium, Dhaka, Bangladesh - 16 Mar 2012 Sachin Tendulkar reacts after scoring his 100th international century Sachin Tendulkar: The cricket legend's life in pics

The batting legend added that other teams admired the Australian style of play and wanted to emulate them.

"I still remember in Melbourne, Adelaide and Sydney, the brand of cricket they played, impressed the whole world. Everyone wanted to play that brand of cricket. Though we all respect our styles of playing, but everyone felt that the brand of cricket they played was special. They were able to do that consistently. It was a world class team," he said.

Picking the longest format of the game as his favourite, Tendulkar said, "If I have to compare Test cricket and ODI cricket, without any doubt, the greatest satisfaction is when you do well in Test cricket and you do something special for the team."

Watch: Sachin the leg spinner, off spinner or medium pacer?

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Sachin was occasionally beaten by deliveries that whizzed past the outside edge, but he was good enough to delete them from his memory bank and focus on the next ball. For him, it was the ‘one-rupee coin’ challenge, all over again. At the Shivaji Park nets just a few years previously, his coach Ramakant Achrekar would make him do five consecutive batting stints in the nets, the last of which would be the toughest. After batting in four different nets, the boy would be pitted against the best bowlers in the fifth. At stake would be a one-rupee coin, which the coach would place on the top of the middle stump. The bowler who would get the batsman out would bag the coin. Conversely, the batsman would get to keep the coin if he defied the bowlers and his own fatigue to remain unbeaten. The teenager had made it a habit to win those one-rupee coins; he had, in fact, preserved all of them, and he valued them more than any of the awards that he had won.

Ahead of the release of his film Sachin: A Billion Dreams, the God of cricket revealed that the coin was no less than an Olympics medal for him. “It was a medal for me. When someone competes in the Olympics and wants to win a medal and we used to compete like that. When Sir used to put the Rs 1 coin on the stump all the bowlers used to bowl with a lot of enthusiasm to bowl me out. It did not matter who was taking the catch. If there was a street vendor around and he takes the catch then you are out. All this forced me to keep the ball on the ground.”

Having had many encounters against world class bowlers, the 44-year said that he did not relish facing former South Africa captain Hansie Cronje.

"From 1989 when I started playing there would be at least 25 world class bowlers. But someone I didn't enjoy batting against was Hansie Cronje. For some reason I got out and over a period of time I realised that I am better off being at the non-striker's end. I would talk to whoever was (the other batsman) on pitch I would say if (Allan) Donald or (Shaun) Pollock is bowling from other end I will manage but take more strike of Hansie," he said.

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