Kolkata: Former Pakistan pacer Aaquib Javed is one of the few bowlers who has the rare honour of dismissing Sachin Tendulkar for a first-ball duck. Currently the UAE team coach, Javed looked back at one of his fondest memories in cricket.
Speaking to Gulf News, Javed said: “The first wicket during my hat-trick over was of Ravi Shastri, then Mohammad Azharuddin, and I got my hat-trick through Tendulkar. It made my hat-trick very special.”
Javed eventually finished the match with seven wickets for 37 runs.
Though Javed dismissed Tendulkar for a duck, his respect for the batsman is enormous because, way back in 1989, he was witness to a particular feat that marked out a remarkable talent. “We went to Peshawar to play a warm-up game against the visiting India team. Tendulkar was stroking beautifully and hit Mushtaq Ahmad for two sixes. Soon, Abdul Qadir was introduced and, before bowling his first ball, he went up to Tendulkar and told him: “Bacha [boy] this is not Mushtaq but Qadir, understand?
“Tendulkar didn’t say anything, took guard and hit Qadir’s first ball over long on for a six, the second, he hit him over long off and the third ball again over long on while the fourth ball went over mid wicket. We were stunned to see a 16-year-old boy batting with such confidence and authority and hit four consecutive sixes.”
Javed considers bowling to Tendulkar a thrilling experience. “I enjoyed bowling to him because, first of all, playing against India itself was a pressure game. To bowl against a batsman like Tendulkar doubled the pressure. I am one who enjoys playing pressure games and loves tense moments and to bowl against Tendulkar was a thriller because you never know what he can and will do to you.”
Javed went on to elaborate the qualities that make Tendulkar one of the greatest batsman of his era. “Tendulkar is one batsman whom I have bowled to who did not have weak areas. Almost all top batsmen, however good, will have one area where we can bowl and exploit. For example, even a batsman like Ricky Ponting is vulnerable in the early part of the inings if you try and bring the ball into him. He will fall because his frontfoot is often slanting but Tendulkar is so balanced that a bowler will have no clue where to bowl at him. I have noticed that, with many batsmen, their heads are not steady, but when I bowl at him, I could see how balanced he is at the point of delivery with his eyes totally focused on the ball.”
Javed feels Tendulkar deserves all the honour. “Tendulkar is the complete cricketer. He deserves all that he has achieved because I cannot imagine how someone can have so such fame without not once being involved in a controversy.”
Javed urged youngsters to emulate Tendulkar as their role model. “Tendulkar’s batting is exactly out of the coaching book. There is a lot to learn from him off the field too. In his career, he never made the headlines through unwanted comments. He talked through his batting and through his runs.”