Had to beg and plead to open innings for India, says Sachin Tendulkar

Sachin Tendulkar, Indian cricket legend, batsman, opening innings, New Zealand, Australia, September 1994, world record
Tendulkar finished his ODI career with 18426 runs in 463 matches -- the most by any in the history of the format. File Photo: PTI

India’s batting legend Sachin Tendulkar says he had to “beg and plead” to open the innings for the national team in an ODI against New Zealand in 1994 which became the major turning point in his limited-overs career.

The opening was marked his switch from a middle-order batsman to an opener which proved to be a masterstroke as Tendulkar ended his career with a world record of 49 centuries in the 50-over format.

The former skipper shared a video on LinkedIn recollecting the moments that led up to the Auckland one-dayer against the Kiwis.

“In 1994, when I started opening the batting for India, the strategy used by all teams was to save wickets. What I tried to do was slightly out of the box,” he said.

“I thought I could go upfront and take the opposition bowlers on. But I had to beg and plead to please give me a chance. If I fail, I wont come after you again,” he added.

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The prolific former batsman took a risk which turned his life into what it is now and he urged his fans to conquer the fear of failure and never shy away from taking risks.

“In that first match (against New Zealand at Auckland), I scored 82 off 49 balls, so I didnt have to ask again if I would get another chance. They were keen for me to open. But what I’m trying to say here is, dont be afraid of failure,” the 46-year-old Tendulkar said.

While the 46-year-old may have 49 hundreds, his first ton came after a five-year-long wait against Australia in September 1994 in Colombo where he opened the Indian innings.

He recorded scores of 82, 63, 40, 63 and 73 in his first five innings as an opening batsman.

Tendulkar finished his ODI career with 18426 runs in 463 matches — the most by any in the history of the format.

(With inputs from agencies)