His is a name closely associated with India-Pakistan rivalries in the World Cup. Sachin Tendulkar has played in as many as five encounters against the arch-rivals and bagged the Man of the Match awards in three of them. His 98 in 75 balls in Centurion in the 2003 edition remains one of the best in the history of the quadrennial tournament. In the run-up to yet another World Cup clash between the two powerhouses, Tendulkar has spoken out as a player who has seen closely the pressure that comes with such an encounter.
The 46-year-old former batting maestro is currently engaged in commentary in this edition of the World Cup. He recalled his memories of the game from the 2003 edition that India had won by 6 wickets. Tendulkar revealed that the hype around the match played at the SuperSport Park on March 1 had begun just after the fixtures were announced a year ago.
He even said that the team members could not sleep properly the night before. The game is still remembered for the way Tendulkar had taken on Pakistan speedster Shoaib Akhtar and plundered 18 runs from his first over to push the opponents to the backfoot.
India was chasing 274 after Pakistan opener Saeed Anwar scored a ton. The total seemed tall, given the bowling attack that Pakistan had, but the maestro decided to attack from the word go and it paid off.
The guys were so excited about one particular game
“I can tell you for sure in 2003 when the dates were announced, people made their calculations and this conversation started on March 1, 2002. The guys were so excited about one particular game. The pressure builds without any doubt. The night before the game, we were tossing and turning in bed thinking how we are going to play,” Tendulkar was quoted as saying by India Today.
“And on the morning of the match, you are focussed on your journey and see so many fans landed with high expectations. Standing in the middle of the stadium with the national anthem playing is the greatest feeling in the world.”
The man, who played 463 ODIs scoring over 18,000 runs, said the key to be successful in a game against Pakistan is about absorbing pressure and staying in the present. He also said that though players try to play a Pakistan clash down, they know that it is a different game as people react to it differently.