“They treated it as his failure”- Ravi Shastri says Sachin Tendulkar felt ‘lonely at times’ due to burden of expectations

Tendulkar made his India debut in 1989 and retired from the game in 2013.

Sachin Tendulkar walking back after scoring his maiden Test ton in Manchester in 1990 | GettyFormer India all-rounder Ravi Shastri spoke about the burden of expectations the great Sachin Tendulkar carried on his back during his playing days and how any failure of the team was seen as his failure and it made him feel lonely at times.

Before Tendulkar, many regarded cricket as only a sport rather than a fierce passion. It underwent a significant alteration in the first ten years of Tendulkar's career. Tendulkar brought India together as a nation as he began to accumulate batting records.

When Tendulkar's career reached its pinnacles, cricket in India turned into a sport obsessed with records. In Sachin's case, it was the fascination of hoping to witness him hit a century each time he came to bat.

Out of the 49 ODIs in which Tendulkar scored a century, India emerged victorious in 33, resulting in a win percentage of over 67 percent.

During his 24-year career, Sachin Tendulkar dealt with multiple types of pressures but former India coach Ravi Shastri reckons none came close to the pressure of expectations Sachin dealt with.

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"Every time he went out, you know, the entire nation would sit up and watch. When is he going to get a hundred? They treated it as his failure if he didn't. I know he might have felt very lonely at times. When you reach those heights, it can be a very lonely place to be because you are the only one there who understands what's happening," Shastri said on ABC Australia's documentary 'Bradman and Tendulkar – the untold story of two of cricket's giants'.

Shastri played with Tendulkar for the first three years of his international career. The youngster had made his Test and ODI debut in Pakistan in 1989 at the age of 16, and scored his maiden Test ton in Manchester against England in 1990 to help India save the game.

Ravi Shastri and Sachin Tendulkar | GettyBut it was the 1992 tour of Australia, where the world sat up and took notice of Tendulkar’s brilliance as he notched up 2 centuries in the five-Test series. One was a brilliant 148 in Sydney, during which Shastri shared a lengthy partnership with him as he scored a double ton himself.

However, the century in WACA, Perth, considered to be the fastest pitch in the world, put Tendulkar in the leagues of batters to watch out for going forward.

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"That's when I first saw greatness from 22 yards. It is one thing getting runs and another thing watching a kid who is 18 years of age dominate an Australian attack the way he did. You felt that this guy was in a different league now. This is where he's moving from Tendulkar towards Bradman," he added.

There are many tales from Sachin Tendulkar’s debut Test series in Pakistan where he faced fast and furious Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis along with experienced Imran Khan and the guile of spin legend Abdul Qadir.

"By the time he was 16, he might have played more matches than any 22-23-year-old. When he played his first Test, he was in overdrive already. And then to go and play the pace attack like that - Imran, Wasim, Waqar - he just battled through," he mentioned.

(Hindustan Times inputs)


By Jatin Sharma - 29 Mar, 2023

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