Former New Zealand pacer Danny Morrison has recalled an incident when legendary Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar was on the cusp of becoming the youngest batsman to score a Test hundred but fell just 12 runs short of it. Danny Morrison beautifully described Sachin Tendulkar’s 1990 innings in Napier and compared him to a snowball coming down the hill, he got bigger and bigger during the course of his innings before finally “busting” at the score of 88. Morrison said it was Tendulkar’s adreanaline rush of youth which got the better of him.
Tendulkar was batting in his ninth Test innings when he came very close to breaking the then-record of former Pakistan cricketer Mushtaq Mohammad, who had scored a Test century at the age of 17 years and 68 days. Danny Morrison described how Tendulkar showcased exuberance of youth and marched fearlessly, facing the toughest of bowlers including legendary Richard Hadlee.
Sachin Tendulkar was touring New Zealand on the back of some gutsy fifties which he scored against the fierce fast bowling attack of Pakistan. In the first Test match of the tour Sachin Tendulkar had registered scores of 0 and 24 in the first and second innings, respectively.
“Here he was playing international cricket and looked beautiful getting into line, sometimes leaving Richard Hadlee with a beautiful shape and that. I mean, early on, it’s going to be intimidating, like for all of us, your first Test match, first series. I think he had played one Test against Pakistan. This was the actual first full series he was getting and he was up against Hadlee, who was… I mean, yeah, at the end of his career, but still, one hell of a bowler.
“When I look at that and remember, yeah, a couple of shots… I remember the 88 he got in Napier, and he was in such a hurry! I think he hit me for three fours in this one over, and you could see that impetuous nature of the youth and he wanted to keep going, he ended up smashing me to John Wright (at mid-off).
“That was it, and hence saying he was so impetuous because he could have been the youngest ever, and you could see it took him an age to get off the ground. [It was] like a snowball rolling down the hill, getting bigger and bigger, just getting boom, boom, boom until it went bust, sort of hit a tree down the mountain, which was a shame for Indian fans because he was going so beautifully. Got out for 88.
“But that’s the game, he could have been out on the second ball or whatever, playing a shot like that, but he was on a roll. Real talent, no doubt about that,” Morrison said on The Edges & Sledged podcast.
Cricketer-turned-commentator also recalled the moment when Ken Rutherford, one of the captains of of President XI team for the tour matches, called the Indian child-prodigy a “very special talent’. Danny Morrison had then thought that the statement was “ridiculous” as Tendulkar looked like a schoolboy.
“Ken Rutherford captained one of the President’s XI [teams], against [India] and Sachin played the tour game, and I remember Rutherford discussing at a team meeting, ‘This guy has a lot of time and looks a very, very special talent.’ I suppose, in a way, it was sort of ridiculous because he was like a guy who could have been in the first year of school. He was 17,” Danny Morrison said.
Sachin Tendulkar scored a hundred later that year against England in Manchester at the age of aged 17 years and 107 days. Mohammad’s record stood for 40 years before former Bangladesh captain Mohammad Ashraful scored a century against Sri Lanka at the age of 17 years, 61 days.