07 February 2020

Why Sydney is so special to Sachin Tendulkar

For more than two decades, Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar entertained the SCG crowds as much as they wanted his wicket to fall.

Returning to the SCG alongside fellow Indian icon Yuvraj Singh to promote Saturday’s Bushfire Cricket Bash – a match originally set down for play prior to the BBL09 final between the Sixers and Stars – Tendulkar paid respects to the ground where he made his first Test century on Australian soil.

Retiring from Test cricket in 2013, Tendulkar credited the lessons learned in the harbour city early in his career – those which set him on his way to be later remembered as one of the best-ever batsmen to grace the game.

“It’s fantastic to be back in Australia, especially at this venue, it is my favourite venue outside of India. It is a lucky ground for me,” Tendulkar said of the SCG on Friday morning.

 “Australia has always been dear to me. In 1991 as an 18-year-old, I remember coming here. I spent almost four months here… I almost had an Aussie accent when I went back to India.

“The competitive cricket that I played here at the age of 18 helped me a lot in my career. I’ve got a special feeling for Australia, and for the Australian people.

“(Australians) are extremely competitive on the field, and that’s how it’s meant to be… but when someone comes here and performs well, they’re the first ones to applaud.” 

Much to the disappointment to the people of Sydney, Cricket Australia confirmed on Thursday (February 6) despite the much-needed rainfall, the charity match would go ahead at Junction Oval, Melbourne.

“The cause that we are here for is really, really important,” Tendulkar said.

“I’m hoping that everyone is with us to support us so that we can raise some money … (the bushfires are) an alarming situation, it’s catastrophic, and that’s an understatement.

“But I’m so happy that I am here in whatever possible way to support the cause and to raise money.”

Watching on from afar and filled with sadness as many Australian communities were left torn by bushfires over the Summer, Tendulkar jumped at the opportunity to give back to the Australian community and will coach the Ponting XI in the T10 fundraiser.

“I received a message from Brett Lee (seeking support and involvement) … I’ve got some injuries, I’m struggling with my shoulder. I was advised not to play,” Tendulkar said.

“My [coaching] tips? I’ll be trying to keep the dressing room as jovial as possible. But there is something happening around the corner, it might be a surprise for us there.

“You never know, I might just pick up a bat.”

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