“Bahut sleepless nights ho chuke the”: Sachin Tendulkar reminisces how he was persistently reminded for a year to win vs Pakistan during 2003 World Cup

Gurpreet Singh
|Published 18/03/2023

The legendary Sachin Tendulkar’s 98-run knock off 75 deliveries against Pakistan during the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, is right up there in his pretty long list of all-time great innings across his 24-year long stellar international career.

These match-winning runs had been scored before the deadly fast-bowling trio of Shoaib Akhtar, Wasim Akram, and Waqar Younis, while chasing a stiff target of 274 runs. The knock had tasted really sweet, and the ‘Master Blaster’ seemed to be visibly happy to have maintained the winning streak against Pakistan in World Cup matches. When he mentioned the fact that India have registered four consecutive wins against the arch-rivals while collecting the ‘Player of the Match’ award, the Centurion crowd had erupted in euphoria.

A couple of his shots during the match – the upper cut for Six towards the Third Man region off a pacey Shoaib Akhtar delivery, and a back foot punch through the gap between Mid-Off and Covers off a Wasim Akram delivery, would be registered in the fans’ memory till the sport exists.

Sachin Tendulkar reminisces how he was persistently reminded for a year to win vs Pakistan

During the India Today Conclave 2023 a couple of days ago, Tendulkar was asked to re-create the aforementioned memorable Six he had hit off Shoaib Akhtar, as people present there were going through some of the rare, unseen pictures of the ‘Master Blaster’ over the years.

Before posing for the shot which he had hit a couple of decades ago, Tendulkar began by stating how hyped-up this very match against Pakistan was, and how people wanted him to win for India no matter what.

Usse pehle bahut sleepless nights ho chuke the kyunki India-Pakistan game is obviously a big game. Logon ne almost when they got to know close to maybe 10 months or ek saal pehle hi baat karni shuru kar di thi, ki baaki ke games ka jo bhi ho jaaye theek hai, ye game jeetna hai. To uss tarah ka pressure tha, expectations the [Had spent many sleepless night before that (shot against Akhtar) because India-Pakistan game is obviously a big game. People had began telling me around maybe ten months or a year ago that they don’t care about rest of the matches, but the Pakistan match needs to be won anyhow. Such was the expectations and pressure],” remarked Tendulkar.

Tendulkar didn’t bat in the nets during the 2003 World Cup

Tendulkar ended the 2003 World Cup as the highest run-getter of the tournament, with 673 runs at an average of 61.18, with the help of six half-centuries and a century.

However, as revealed by Rahul Dravid once, the ‘Master Blaster’ surprisingly did not bat in the nets during the entirety of the tournament.

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Gurpreet Singh

Gurpreet Singh

Even before persuing his post-graduate diploma in English journalism from IIMC, Gurpreet was certain that Cricket had to be the driving force to keep him sane and optimistic in all life-related matters. Hailing from Ranchi and having represented Jharkhand at the Under-14 level, he believes that the more you keep digging in while understanding the nitty-gritty of a sport, the more humble you become with the realisation that you hardly know anything!

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