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Sachin Tendulkar's ODI Debut and Vivek Razdan

by achettup

Indian cricket fanatics probably know the stats off the top of their heads, right from his test debut, where he scored 3 runs less than Bradman did in his first innings, debuting alongside Waqar Younis. They'll know for certain that he scored a duck in his first ever ODI. These are questions they'd probably have heard several times at school quizzes, before they quickly went out of fashion and hard core questions about particularly special innings found their way to quiz-masters' handbooks. I can confess that I never saw Sachin's first match, indeed it would be two years before I held a bat in my hands and a few months further still before I watched a cricket match with interest... we lost, the infamous 1992 world cup match against England that resulted in Shastri's parent's house being pelted with chapals.

Back to Sachin's debut. The series prior to that point appears to have been largely forgettable. All the tests were drawn, and Sachin had made a decent impression of his abilities against one of the best pace attacks of that generation. The first ODI at Peshawar was abandoned without a ball being bowled, so Sachin would make his debut in the second match. The scorecard for that match makes fascinating reading. For starters, the match was reduced to a 16 over contest, and Sachin came in at the unfortunate Raman Lamba's dismissal, with the score reading 34/3, chasing Pakistan's total of 87. There don't seem to be stats related to when Sachin came out to the middle, but it at the very earliest would have been at 7.3 overs, we can only tell that Aaqib Javed had just dismissed Lamba. Which would have meant India need to chase 54 at a bit more than a run-a-ball.

Tendulkar was dismissed for nought, the second ball he faced, bowled by Waqar and caught by none other than Wasim Akram, who had made his debut all of five years earlier. Akram had tormented the Indian batting line-up a few times already by then, including this match at Sharjah three years earlier, returning with stunning figures of 7.2-4-4-2! He didn't bowl to Sachin in this match, but they'd already done battle during the preceding test series. Pakistan would go on to win the match by 7 runs, and Sachin would suffer the ignominy of being dropped for the remaining match (actually two, the originally scheduled third and final match was abandoned after Prabhakar had Pakistan reeling at 28/3 off 14.3 overs with a spell of 5-2-5-3, and the fourth match was another shortened affair, which Pakistan won convincingly) and replaced by Sanjay Manjrekar (one can only imagine... anyway, not relevant) who'd had an excellent test series.

It does seem to have been a bit harsh to have dropped Sachin given those circumstances and it certainly gave no indication of his future exploits in the format... of course, he would go on to become the greatest ever ODI batsman, single-handedly carrying the hopes of a generation of Indian cricket fans for the next decade. But it was even harsher on another young debutant, 20 year old Vivek Razdan, who bowled all of 2 overs in that match. On his test debut during the second match of the series, Razdan - a right arm medium pacer - hardly got much of a bowl and was promptly dropped for the third match, which was perhaps a blessing in disguise given the run-fest it ended up becoming. But he ended up with the best bowling figures (5/79) in the final test, quite an achievement when you consider that the other bowlers in the match included Imran Khan, Akram, Waqar, Qadir, Kapil Dev and Prabhakar!

Kapil, who had sat out Tendulkar's ODI debut, returned during the abandoned 3rd ODI, replacing Razdan, but he once again sat out during the 4th ODI, and Razdan's bowling figures certainly don't indicate he did much wrong. He would play only one more match, almost a year later against Sri Lanka, and after 4 overs wherein he conceded 31 runs, would never represent India again, relegated to obscurity, a sadly recurring tale for too many Indian pace bowlers. Perhaps it does highlight how batsmen get many more opportunities to prove their worth, but bowlers often just get a few spells to impress and very often luck plays a big role in whether they get that foothold to display their talent over a more prolonged period.

I know the circumstances are obviously completely different, what with a prodigiously talented 16 year old run machine being given the opportunity to showcase his skills in the Test arena, but just imagine if Sachin had been given few opportunities in the test series and played just one good innings out of say 3 or 4, and if he was dropped for good after that ODI debut? The 21 year old Razdan played 29 first class matches in total (and maybe we should ask why he was given the opportunity at the tender age of 20 in the first place?), who knows if he was disheartened, but it makes you wonder doesn't it?


Gaurav Sethi said...

A, I remember that Razdan spell, it was fast. Also vaguely recall one ball that bowled someone, really sharp, ball of the match. I never really got why they dropped Razadan, but I always had that spell.

Then a few years back, I was standing alongside him, he is A TALL MAN in every sense of Shastri's word. He was crouched to sign in a guest register, appeared even taller bent - I was thinking of that spell, as he signed his name. I didn't say a word, he seemed too far away, think sport does that to its wronged ones. A little later I ran into Dhanraj Pillay, who had been through a really rough one, I almost saluted him with words.

achettup said...

Thanks for sharing NC, I never saw the guy, forget the spell, and always wondered how good he was.. Apparently a Kashmiri cricketer (according to Wikipedia) and he ended up as a coach in Delhi... I sometimes wonder, if Robin Singh hadn't gotten the Waughs early in his career in that ODI, or Ishant didn't catch the eye because of everything that happened in Sydney, if either would've been given the same treatment... and then I think of Piyush Chawla, Amit Mishra, hell lets throw the kitchen sink, Nohit Sharma... and wonder how the Manoj Tiwaris and Vivek Razdans must feel..

Shivam said...

Tendia was kid then and still looks like one after so many years.

price per head said...

I did not that thing you talked about on here about Sachin Tendulkar and I find it rather interesting

Sabu said...

Naked Cricket ............ It was Salim Malik who was bowled neck and crop. He was beaten for pace. Salim Malik at that time was regarded as the TOP BATSMAN of the world along with Dean Jones.This ball show cased potential of Vivek Razdan to bowl quick and for fast bowler starved Indian fans Razdan raised a few hopes for futue of India cricket regarding fast bowling. But Bishen Singh Bedi is said to have destroyed Vivek Razdan with his excessive training methods.

Anonymous said...

Hmm I do remember watching this series and tendulkar taking Abdul quadir to the cleaners in the last over of the 3rd odi.