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“Chris is like wondering”: How Sachin Tendulkar’s unique idea helped Rahul Dravid tackle Chris Cairns’ reverse swing during 1999 Mohali Test

Gurpreet Singh

"Chris is like wondering": How Sachin Tendulkar's unique idea helped Rahul Dravid tackle Chris Cairns' reverse swing during 1999 Mohali Test

The two legendary Indian batters in Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid have given their fans countless memories which will be cherished until the beautiful sport exists.

Then there were also some infamous incidents involving the two, like the 2004 innings declaration by then skipper Dravid, with the ‘Master Blaster’ just six runs short of a fine Test double century.

And then there’s a third category, which attests to the beautiful bonding and trust the two had for each other during their playing years for the Indian Cricket team.

This story is about one of such incident, where a certain New Zealand fast bowler had managed to beat the two all ends up with some fine display of swing bowling, which however, did not last pretty long courtesy of a brilliant idea by the ‘Master Blaster’ himself.

Sachin Tendulkar’s unique idea helped Rahul Dravid tackle Chris Cairns’ reverse swing

It was the 1999 New Zealand’s tour to India, and its first Test match in Punjab’s city of Mohali. During India’s second innings, with the duo of Sachin and Dravid batting beautifully for the team, the Kiwi pacer Chris Cairns managed to reverse swing the ball.

Bowling at his peak during the time, a lethal Cairns had begun beating their bat’s outside edge two-three times with his excellent exhibition of swing bowling. A cunning Cairns had also made sure to hide the ball just before going for his delivery stride, and made it almost impossible to determine which side of the ball had the shiny part in order to determine the direction of swing.

Having always laid emphasis on being a step ahead of the bowler while batting, Tendulkar did the same this time around as well, although from the non-striker’s end.

He quickly interacted with Dravid, and explained to him an idea which would help him tackle Cairns. He explained him that since he is nearer to the bowler, he would watch his hand closely all the way through to his run-up, so as to determine the shiny part of the ball.

“Whichever side is shiny, I will hold the bat in that hand. If he is going to bowl an outswinger the bat will be in my left hand. If he is going to bowl an inswinger, the bat is in my right hand at the non-striker’s end,” stated Tendulkar in the year 2017, during an event in Melbourne.

Dravid trusted Tendulkar, and the idea worked. Anticipating the swing before the delivery, the duo began smashing a flurry of boundaries on both sides of the wicket, leaving Cairns scratching his head.

The Kiwi players figure the plan out

Upon figuring out the idea, a clever Cairns then decided to bowl cross-seam deliveries. However, much to his amazement, Tendulkar had already explained Dravid the cue for such a case as well.

“Chris didn’t realise that I had also warned Rahul that if I don’t know what is coming I’m going to hold the bat in the middle,” Sachin further added as the audience sitting there burst into laughter.

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About the author

Gurpreet Singh

Gurpreet Singh


Gurpreet Singh is a Cricket writer at The Sportsrush. His platonic relationship with sports had always been there since childhood, but Cricket managed to strike a special, intimate nerve of his heart. Although his initial dream of playing the sport at the highest level couldn't come to fruition, Gurpreet did represent the state of Jharkhand at the under-14 level. However, almost like taking a pledge to never let the undying passion for Cricket fade away even a tad, he made sure to continue the love relationship by assigning the field of journalism as an indirect Cupid. He thus, first finished his bachelor's in journalism and then pursued the PG Diploma course in English journalism from the Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC). Soon after and since 2019, he has been working at The Sportsrush. Apart from sports, he takes keen interest in politics, and in understanding women and gender-related issues.

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