Stranded on 194 when stand-in skipper Rahul Dravid declared the Indian innings in the 2004 Multan Test, Sachin Tendulkar has spoken about the anger and shock he felt by the decision which “did not make any sense”.
In his autobiography ‘Playing It My Way’, Tendulkar reveals how hurt he was at the declaration and he told Dravid to “leave him alone” so that he could come to terms with his disappointment of missing out on a double century.
“I assured Rahul that the incident would have no bearing on my involvement on the field, but off the field, I would prefer to be left alone for a while to come to terms with what had happened,” Tendulkar writes in the book.
However, the batting legend said that the incident didn’t have any adverse effect on his relationship with Dravid.
“Despite this incident, I am glad to say Rahul and I remained good friends and even on the field, our camaraderie remained intact until the end of our careers. We continued to have some good partnerships and neither our cricket nor our friendship was affected.”
In the book, published by Hachette India, Tendulkar has narrated the entire story of the Multan declaration and what happened behind the scenes after he was back in the dressing room.
Tendulkar writes, “At tea-time, I asked stand-in skipper Rahul Dravid, who was in charge because Sourav was out with a back injury, and coach John Wright what the plan was. I was informed, we were looking to give Pakistan an hour to bat, so would put them in with 15 overs left on the second day. It was perfectly sensible and I went about my business after tea with this plan in mind.”
Tendulkar said that he paced his innings in a manner that he could reach double century in time to give Pakistan 15 overs to bat as per plan.
“But then, a little more than half an hour into the post-tea session, Ramesh Powar, who was substituting in the game came on the field and asked me to accelerate. I even joked with him, saying I was aware that we needed quick runs but with the field totally spread out, there was only so much we could do”, he writes.
“A little later, when I was on 194, he came out again and said I should try and get my double hundred in that over itself because Rahul had decided to declare. I was startled to say the least, because in my mind I still had 12 balls in which to score the remaining six runs before 15 overs were left for the day”, Tendulkar writes.
But as it happened, Tendulkar did not get to play a single ball in that over.
“…As it happened, I did not get to play a single ball in that over with Yuvraj on strike against Imran Farhat. He blocked the first two balls before picking up two runs off the third ball. He once again blocked the fourth ball and was out to the fifth ball.
“Then just as Parthiv Patel, the next batsman started to come out, I saw Rahul gesturing us to go back to the pavilion. He had declared the innings with me stranded on 194 and with 16 overs left for the day — one more than we had agreed.
Tendulkar admitted that he was indeed “shocked” at Dravid’s decision.
“I was shocked as it did not make any sense. It was Day 2 of the Test match and not Day 4, as it had been in Sydney, a month earlier.”
“Disappointed and upset, I made my way back to the dressing room and could sense that the whole team was surprised at the decision (Rahul Dravid declaring with me stranded at 194). Some of my team-mates perhaps expected me to throw my gear about in the dressing room in disgust and create a scene.
However, such things are not in me and I decided not to say a word to anyone about the incident.
“I calmly put my batting gear away and asked John Wright for a little time before I went out to field because I was feeling a little tight after batting for so long. Inside, I was fuming.
“Just as I was washing my face in the bathroom, John walked up to me and apologized. He was sorry about what had happened and said he had not been party to the decision. I was surprised and said to him that as coach he was one of the decision-makers and there was no reason for him to be sorry if he believed in what had been done.
Tendulkar told coach Wright that what has happened can’t be reversed now.
“I also said that what was done could not be reversed and it was best to leave it alone. Finally, I couldn’t help reminding him that the declaration was contrary to what had been discussed at tea and it was strange that I was not given even one ball to get to my double hundred after a message had been sent out asking me to get there as quickly as possible”.