Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Slide #2

Easy, upright stance. Beautifully balanced, with the weight evenly spread on both feet. Head still. Eyes straight.... Sachin was 14, when this picture was taken at the Wankhede Stadium, Bombay. And he was there because he had just become the youngest ever player to be picked for the Bombay Ranji Trophy team - no mean feat, given that the Bombay side at that time boasted no less than six Test players.

 

The elite of Bombay cricket gathered at the Wankhede Stadium for what was, after all, an ordinary Ranji Trophy match against Gujarat. What brought them there was a sense of history in the making - for it was here that a diminutive schoolboy, aged all of 14, was scheduled to make his debut in first class cricket, becoming in the process the youngest ever to turn out for the champion side. Watched by, among others, Sunil Gavaskar and Eknath Solkar (second and third from left), the five foot two inch schoolboy takes guard to the off-spin of Nisarg Patel. The first two balls are played forward in defense. The third - a flighted delivery on the off stump - is driven through cover for four. 129 balls later, his score reads 100, with 12 fours - the youngest centurion in this class of cricket, and that too on debut...

 

Bear in mind that Sachin was 14 years and counting when he debuted for Bombay against Gujarat in the Ranji Trophy championship. Now check out the array of strokes that fetched him a century on his debut... and compare it with his strokeplay today... the basic arsenal, you will find, is the same, the technique impeccable even then... what the intervening years have added are more power... and more confidence...

 

The cover drive is played, as always, with a full flourish of the bat, the shot played through the line of the ball. There is never anything hesitant about Sachin's driving - when he plays the shot, it is with conviction... timing... and impeccable placement...

 

The square cut - a favourite stroke, and one he plays at the slightest opportunity. This picture, taken at the end of the stroke, shows the weight transferred to the right leg, the bat following through in a scything arc to almost touch his back, the head turned and eyes focusses on the ball's eventual destination - the point fence...

Click here to view the next slide