Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Legendary India batsman Sachin Tendulkar has revealed that the 2007 World Cup in the West Indies was one of the “worst moments of my cricketing career”.
Since India lost to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka during that tournament, they were knocked out in the group stages.
“The most forgettable ICC [International Cricket Council] Cricket World Cup for me has to be 2007 edition in the West Indies. The early exit from the tournament ranks among the worst moments of my cricketing career,” Tendulkar wrote in a column for the ICC. “We had a fantastic team but it was not to be! My pursuit to be a part of the World Cup winning team continued. The disappointment in the tournament served as a boost to prove many naysayers wrong.”
However, fastforward four years later to the 2011 World Cup and Tendulkar’s words are very different since India won the World Cup on home soil.
“In defeating top sides like Australia, Pakistan and eventually overcoming Sri Lanka in the final, India emerged as the first nation to win the World Cup on home soil,” he wrote. “It was even more special as I had finally been part of World Cup winning team after 22 years of pursuit. The victory in 2011 was the highest point of my career as a nation unified in its celebrations.”
Tendulkar also recalled that his inspiration and determination to represent India stemmed from his days as a ball-boy during the the 1987 World Cup.
“On June 25, 1983, India won the ICC Cricket World Cup 1983 and images of the team holding the trophy were inspirational for the entire nation,” Tendulkar wrote. “I was just 10 years of age and have fond memories of that victory. My parents allowed me to celebrate the victory till late in night. I was also inspired to take up playing the game with the season (hard) ball after the World Cup victory.
“My first ‘live’ piece of World Cup action was during the 1987 ICC Cricket World Cup, which was co-hosted by India and Pakistan. I was fortunate to be among the volunteers to be picked as a ball boy for the matches played in Mumbai. As I stood there watching Indian greats on the field, I kept telling myself that I need to be a part of action in the middle.”
Tendulkar also conceded that the 1992 World Cup had been extremely tough for him personally since his father passed away midway through the tournament.
“It was very difficult as I tried to focus on the game in spite of my grief,” Tendulkar wrote.
Tendulkar also reminisced about how he was dismissed in the 1996 World Cup semi-final against Sri Lanka, who went on to win the tournament.
“The ICC Cricket World Cup 1996 was special as it was jointly hosted in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka,” he wrote. “My dismissal in the semi-final against Sri Lanka rankled me for a long time as it was the start of a batting collapse, which brought an end to the India campaign.
“I scored my first century in an ICC Cricket World Cup during this tournament and also scored another one against Sri Lanka, the eventual champion, during the league stage. The highs experienced during the league stage came crashing down and we were left to enjoy the brilliant batting of Aravinda de Silva, whose partnership with Arjuna Ranatunga on television set as Sri Lanka won its first World Cup defeating Australia.”
Looking back at the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, Tendulkar admitted that the national team had been “a little too charged up” when taking on Australia in the final.
“The ICC Cricket World Cup 2003 was the closest I had come, till then, to lift the coveted trophy,” he wrote. “The entire team had been playing well and we were extremely charged up to take on Australia in the final. A little too charged up, as we realised, as we lost losing the final by a big margin!
“I had a memorable tournament scoring 673 runs in 11 matches – the most by any batsman in a single World Cup. The player of the tournament award I received was little consolation for ending up as the second best side.”