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1996 World Cup propelled ODI revolution: Tendulkar

Source: PTI
February 04, 2022 22:17 IST
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'Now, we have very different setting including changes in  rules with two new balls and the fielding restrictions are very different. But ODI fever started in the 1990s. On-field noticeable changes, early to mid 90s was okay, but from 1996 things changed at rapid pace.'

With India set to play their 1000th ODI in the series opener against the West Indies on Sunday, Indian cricket legend, Sachin Tendulkar reminisces about his legendary ODI career and reveals his five best one-day knocks.

Sachin Tendulkar tore into top-class Australian bowlers to score 143 and take India final of the Austral-Asia Cup in Sharjah on April 22, 1998

IMAGE: One of his most memorable knocks, Sachin Tendulkar tore into top-class Australian bowlers to score 143 and take India final of the Austral-Asia Cup in Sharjah on April 22, 1998. Photograph: Shaun Botterill/AllSport/Getty Images

Sachin Tendulkar has played 463 out of the 999 One Day Internationals that India has played in the last 48 years and when he says the "ODI revolution" started during the 1996 World Cup in the sub-continent, there is contesting that thought.

 

British author Mike Marqusee's seminal work 'War Minus Shooting', based on his journey through the sub-continent during the 1996 World Cup, has recently been re-published and whatever he observed during those six weeks in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka finds resonance in Tendulkar's words.

Economic liberalization happened in 1991, Brand Tendulkar emerged in a gigantic fashion around the same time, and it was the Tendulkar in Blue that fans embraced.

"I totally agree that the dream was to play Test cricket for India. That was the only thing that was in my mind and along with that ODI came. But you don't dream of ODIs when you were a kid in that era," Tendulkar told PTI on the eve of India's 1000th ODI, against the West Indies.

"The hype of ODIs happened in the 1996 World Cup and that was when biggest transformation happened. Before that 1983 happened and it was magnificent. Yes, there were full capacity stadiums but post 1996 World Cup, things started changing and those changes were visible changes.

"I experienced those changes and a new dimension was given to ODIs," Tendulkar said, speaking about the commercial behemoth that the format eventually became, after being called 'Pyjama Cricket' during the Packer era.

 

Sachin Tendulkar in action against Kenya during the 1999 World Cup in Bristol. This was one of Tendulkar's emotional hundreds and he rates his as his top innings

IMAGE: Sachin Tendulkar in action against Kenya during the 1999 World Cup in Bristol. This was one of Tendulkar's emotional hundreds and he rates his as his top innings. Photograph: Files

Featuring in India's 200th, 300th, 400th, 500th, 600th, 700th and 800th ODI, Tendulkar had played those red ball 50 over games in the hazy single camera Doordarshan era and also the glitzy proper 50-over night games till 2012.

However, having played most of his cricket with a single ball in use and field restrictions that allowed extra fielder outside the 30-yard circle, one wonders if his 18000 (18426) plus ODI runs would have shot up to 22 or even 25,000 runs in this era.

"I had seen it all. If I remember correctly, we played ODI in whites till as late as 2000-01 against Zimbabwe. I remember my first white ball experience was day games in New Zealand in 1990 tri-series.

"In India, the first D/N game I played, we were given coloured T-shirts and white trousers at JLN football stadium in Delhi," he recollected.

He reckons the first time India became serious about Day/Night cricket was in the 1993 Hero Cup at the floodlit Eden Gardens.

"But even during that era, there would be white ball games starting at 8:45 am or 9 am in the eastern part of the country. There was one white ball and when it got dirty, it would be difficult to sight and it also reversed. Now you have two white balls," he said.

"Now, we have very different setting including changes in  rules with two new balls and the fielding restrictions are very different. But ODI fever started in the 1990s. On-field noticeable changes, early to mid 90s was okay, but from 1996 things changed at rapid pace," he observed.

"Post my retirement one morning white ball ODI comes to mind where I think a boy from Pakistan -- Junaid -- really got help and dismissed Indian top-order at Chennai. The white ball in those conditions in Chepauk did a lot and I had just retired from ODIs."

My five best ODI innings

The 200 against South Africa in Gwalior 'is a memorable knock as it was a good South African attack and it was the first time someone scored a double hundred in an ODI. It was special'

IMAGE: The 200 against South Africa in Gwalior 'is a memorable knock as it was a good South African attack and it was the first time someone scored a double hundred in an ODI. It was special.' Photograph: ICC/Twitter

"It's very difficult to choose five memorable ODIs. I would keep the World Cup final out of list as it's a feeling beyond words. You can't mix that with other games as it was the best day of my life," Tendulkar said.

The two 'Desert Storm' hundreds against a quality Australian attack in Sharjah would rank among his finest, besides the 200 against South Africa in Gwalior.

"That's a memorable knock as it was a good South African attack and it was the first time someone scored a double hundred in an ODI. It was special," he said.

Talking about ODIs, the six off Shoaib Akhtar and those 98 smashing runs against Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup at Centurion finds its pride of place among the top five.

"It was a pressure game and I could bat the way I wanted to. Centurion knock will be one of my best in World Cups."

Last but not the least is the hundred against Kenya at Bristol, just after the death of his father, professor Ramesh Tendulkar.

"I had come home and seeing my mother, I became very emotional. She was crestfallen after my father's death. But even in that hour of grief, she didn't want me to stay and wanted me to go back on national duty.

"I was in a deeply emotional state when I played that knock, and hence, it would be among my top five ODI innings," he said.

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