You can recall Sachin Tendulkar’s cover drives. You can also remember his straight drives. You can even picture him coming out on the front foot and hitting bowlers out of the park.
But can you really recollect him sledging?
For most of his career, Sachin chose to let his bat do the talking, but there were a few occasions when he did open his mouth to taunt an opponent: like the quarterfinal of the 2000 edition of the Champions Trophy.
India vs Australia, in Nairobi.
Two years after Desert Storm, the stakes were high when India met Australia in the quarterfinal clash of the Champions Trophy. Back then, the tournament was known as the ICC Knock-Out Cup and having knocked hosts Kenya out in the first match, Australia were up next for India.
The match marked Yuvraj Singh’s batting debut for India. Though the 18-year-old was in the team in the game against Kenya, he had not been required to bat. The southpaw scored an 80-ball 84 against Australia, which featured 12 boundaries.
But there was a little incident involving Sachin and McGrath earlier that day which added fuel to the fire.
If you recall, there was an incident involving the two cricketers in Adelaide a year previously where umpire Daryl Harper had adjudged Tendulkar leg before wicket when he was ducking a McGrath delivery. That incident had not gone down well, even though Sachin who was India captain at that time never spoke about it.
But it seemed like he was out for revenge in Nairobi.
He pulled at a McGrath delivery which went straight up but the breeze carried it just over the boundary rope for six. The bowler felt that at any other position that would’ve been out and he made the cardinal mistake of sledging Sachin.
BIG, BIG MISTAKE!
Sachin would later recall that he actually sledged McGrath back. He had told his skipper and strike partner Sourav Ganguly before the match that he would wind the pacer up and he did just that by telling the Aussie that he “would hit him out of the ground”.
And that’s exactly what he did!
In the fifth over of the match, he came out on the front foot twice, launching McGrath for a straight six the first time and then for a four. In McGrath’s next over, Sachin hit him for yet another six over deep square leg.
The assault didn’t last as long as he would’ve liked and Sachin ultimately departed for just 38 off 37 but the mini blitzkrieg that featured 3 sixes and 3 fours had set the tone for the match. McGrath and Australia lost the plot then and there and would ultimately proceed to lose the match by 20 runs.
On his first outing with the bat, the 18-year-old Yuvraj picked up the Man of the Match award for his well-made 84.
He became the second youngest Indian to win a Man of the Match award on debut and also the second youngest to score fifty plus on debut. To this day, both those records belong to Sachin Tendulkar (obviously).