Sachin Tendulkar has broken many records and been a part of several memorable wins during the course of an illustrious cricket career, which came to an end on Saturday. But between the many highs, there were a few more conspicuous moments as well.
India's legendary cricketer called time on a 25-year first-class career, during which he was widely regarded for being exemplary in the way he conducted himself on and off the field. The 40 year old, however, was in the spotlight for the wrong reasons on a rare few occasions.
To get a sense of the full scope of Sachin's career, we look at a few of these less glorious Tendulkar moments.
1996 – India were favourites to win the World Cup in 1996. But an inspired Sanath Jayasuriya took three wickets including that of Tendulkar (65) as India collapsed from 98 for one to 120 for eight – chasing 252 to win the semi-final – sparking riots in the stands at Eden Gardens, Kolkata. The match was called off and Sri Lanka entered the final.
1999 – Arguably his best Test innings came in a losing cause: against Pakistan in Chennai. Needing 271 to win, the little man battled severe back problems to score 136 even as wickets kept falling at the other end. He eventually got out himself as India lost by 12 runs. It was a performance people remember but the man himself supposedly tries to forget.
2003 – Another World Cup heartbreak for Tendulkar, this time it came in the final against Australia. Chasing 360 to win, the right-hander hit a boundary off Glenn McGrath early in the first over. The fast bowler, though, dug one in short, forcing Tendulkar to pull. He miscued it giving McGrath a ‘caught and bowled’. India eventually lost by 125 runs.
2006 – Tendulkar was booed by fans at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai after being dismissed for a low score in a Test against England. Never before booed by Indian crowds, it was doubly shocking it happened at his home ground – possibly because in the last six Test matches, Tendulkar had averaged only 18.66 and aggregated only 112 runs.
2007 – Tendulkar struggled both as a player and team man between 2005 and 2007 under the management of Greg Chappell, the former Australia captain. Chappell himself conceded in his book Fierce Focus he wrongly questioned Tendulkar’s commitment and unsettled him by shuffling the batting order. India’s was a split camp by the 2007 World Cup, which they crashed out of in the first round.
1997 – Tendulkar, not known to give controversial remarks to the media, was said to be unhappy with the team picked to play in the Asia Cup. The then-captain allegedly said he was given a 'B grade team', which he has since vehemently denied saying. He, however, was unhappy about the exclusion of Vinod Kamble and Nayan Mongia.
1999 – He collided with Shoaib Akhtar, the Pakistan fast bowler, during a Test in Kolkata, resulting in his being ruled run out by the third umpire. Supporters, believing he was wrongly given out, threw bottles and fruit at players despite Tendulkar’s attempts to pacify them. The rest of the match had to be played inside a near-empty stadium with most of the 60,000 spectators sent home.
2001 – He was handed a suspended one-Test ban by referee Mike Denness for not informing umpires he was cleaning the seam of the ball during the Port Elizabeth Test against South Africa. Denness was vilified and even called a racist for punishing five other India players on various charges ranging from cheating to excess appealing in the same game. He was dismissed by the two boards much to the ire of the International Cricket Council.
2002 – After receiving a Ferrari 360 Modena at Silverstone from Michael Schumacher – the Italian company’s gesture after he equaled Don Bradman’s 29 Test centuries – Tendulkar was offered a custom duty waiver from the Indian government. Considered illegal to grant an exemption for a gift, the decision was met with backlash from activists and a litigation, forcing Fiat India to pay the import duty.
2008 – He denied Harbhajan Singh had made a racial slur at Andrew Symonds, the Australia all-rounder, in the Sydney Test. The Australian media and the then captain Ricky Ponting insist – even to this day – that they were taken aback by Tendulkar’s statement defending the India off-spinner, which saved him from punishment.