Sachin Tendulkar is celebrating his 46th birthday on April 24.
DH lists some interesting facts about the batting maestro’s life and career:
Sachin Tendulkar wanted to be a medium pace bowler. He was rejected by Australian great Dennis Lillee, who was heading the MRF Pace Academy in Chennai. In the end, this rejection turned out to be a good thing.
The 16-year-old’s maiden international tour was to Pakistan. In the fourth Test in Sialkot, he was hit on the nose by a bouncer from Waqar Younis. A deep cut and a bleeding nose did not deter the teenager. He just washed his face, took strike and dispatched the next ball to the boundary.
Tendulkar walked out to bat in the first Test of the 2003-04 series in Australia. India were 62 for 2 when he came in to bat. A rising delivery from pacer Jason Gillespie hit the Indian high on the front leg. Umpire Steve Bucknor, who did not have a great relationship with the Indian team, surprisingly gave Tendulkar out. Though it was clearly not out, nothing much could be done about it.
Virender Sehwag’s 309 against Pakistan in Multan in 2004 was a first among Indian batsmen. A young Sehwag was batting with Tendulkar at the other end. Sehwag has always acknowledged Tendulkar’s guidance, even during that triple century knock.
A self-confessed fan of cars and Formula 1 racing, Tendulkar had met seven-time world champion Michael Schumacher during the latter’s Ferrari days. Years later, during the inaugural Indian Grand Prix in 2011, Schumacher expressed keenness about meeting Tendulkar. The driver, with the Mercedes factory team, presented a happy picture meeting Tendulkar and his wife, Anjali.
Waving the chequered flag is something a race official usually does. Sometimes, celebrities get that chance to do so. And in the inaugural Indian GP in 2011, who else to wave the chequered flag but Tendulkar.
Tennis ace Maria Sharapova earned the wrath of Tendulkar fans during the 2014 Wimbledon tournament. The cricketer was present with other prominent players, including footballer David Beckham, in the Royal Box on Centre Court watching her play. In the post-match press conference, Sharapova referred to Beckham as an incredible player and nice person. When quizzed about Tendulkar, the Russian was clueless. Indian cricket fans were livid and the #whoismariasharapova tag was trending for quite a while on Twitter.