Sunday, October 1

Suresh Raina used to bunk last two periods of school to watch Sachin Tendulkar batting

Sachin Tendulkar and Suresh Raina. (Photo Source: Twitter and Getty Images)

The whole world bowed down to the ‘Little Master’ when he smashed two consecutive tons against Australia in Sharjah in 1998. Tendulkar enchanted the fans with batting display and established himself as one of the best across the international circuit.

Among the two centuries, the first ton, popularly known as ‘The Desert Storm’, is still etched in the mind of every cricket fanatic. Even after 22 years, glimpses of that iconic knock remain as fresh as a daisy. The ‘Master Blaster’ smashed one of the most memorable innings of his life as he amassed 143 runs against Sharjah, where the temperature was soaring to 41 degrees Celcius.

Although Sachin’s century came in a losing cause, it helped India qualify for the final. The ‘Master Blaster’ followed it up with another ton in the final as he smashed a sizzling 134 to steer India to lift the Coca Cola Cup. Tendulkar, at that time, was an icon and a role model for many Indian kids who had hopes of breaking into the national side one day.

Suresh Raina, who was yet to turn a teenager when he witnessed Tendulkar’s enthralling knock, reminisced the time and revealed how he skipped school to witness batting of his favourite cricketer.

‘I was just 12 at that time’: Suresh Raina

“We had TV at home, an Uptron, but with only Doordarshan on it,” Raina told Times of India. “We used to bunk the last two periods of school because the tournament in Sharjah was going on. Sachin paaji used to open in that era. We used to watch only Sachin paaji’s batting or Dravid bhai’s. But once Sachin got out, we would leave,” he added.

Raina said that he was just 12 when he was left mesmerized by seeing Tendulkar bat. While recalling the blistering knock, Raina said that it was Tendulkar’s amazing batting along with Tony Greig’s engaging commentary which kept him glued to the television.

“We were just kids. I was just 12 at that time, used to study in the seventh standard. Sachin Tendulkar was a big name,” said Raina, who shared the dressing room with Tendulkar when India lifted the World Cup in 2011.

“Paaji (Tendulkar) made two consecutive hundreds, hit Michael Kasprowicz for huge sixes. On top of that, the commentary of Tony Greig, who was also a big name. The form that Paaji was in and the kind of commentary, though our English wasn’t that good at the time, the excitement his voice generated added another flavour,” said the Uttar Pradesh batsman.

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