Batting legend Sachin Tendulkar was not too happy when he was asked by his then captain Sourav Ganguly to bat at number four in ODIs in 2002-03, according to a book.
Ganguly, who captained the recently-retired Tendulkar in 143 of the 341 international matches they played together, recalled that the Mumbaikar was brought back as opener during the 2003 World Cup in South Africa.
“You say, please, do it for a short while; of course you’ll be back up, let’s see how long it goes. Once he settled down to the idea and saw it work, it was fine. When things went a bit wobbly at the 2003 World Cup, he was back up straight away,” Ganguly said.
In an article featured in ESPNcricinfo’s new anthology ‘Sachin Tendulkar: The Man Cricket Loved Back’, Ganguly said that Tendulkar’s record as captain was better than people made out to be.
“He led on some very tough tours – South Africa, West Indies, Sri Lanka, Australia – and it must be said he didn’t lose eight in a row. This when he didn’t have a very good team around him. The older players were fading and the newcomers were too raw.”
“When it came to being Sachin’s captain, it was about giving him due respect: treating him like a team-mate but also as the special player he was. He was central to the side doing well. He had to feel relaxed and comfortable.”
Former teammates such as Rahul Dravid, V V S Laxman and Yuvraj Singh also paid tributes to Tendulkar in the book.
Dravid, who made a record 6920 Test runs with Tendulkar, said, “One sure indicator that (Tendulkar) was in good touch was when he played the flick to the leg side. Cricket is a game where you naturally have more fielders on the off side, and especially in limited-overs cricket, bowlers like to bowl tight lines.
“(Tendulkar) would be on his toes, on top of the bounce, and would often beat midwicket to the fielder’s right.
Sometimes he even beat square leg to his right with that flick, not to the full ball but the ones pitched short of a length. That made you marvel from the other end.”