Clad in dark blue pants and sky-blue jersey, tricolour shining below the BCCI logo on the helmet and gloved fingers itching to hold the bat again on the cricket pitch, images of young Sachin Tendulkar waiting ardently for the wild sandstorm to recede trigger memories among the kids growing up in the 90s. The indelible innings 'Desert Storm' against the invincible cricket team of the time - Australia - was played by the batting maestro after the match was suspended for 25 minutes as the storm swept through the stadium, some 22 years back.
Master Blaster smashed 143 off 131 balls including nine boundaries and five sixers, unreservedly dismantling the likes of Shane Warne, Damien Fleming and Michael Kasprowicz in distinctly humid and warm conditions. Even as Tendulkar was dismissed on the last ball of the 43rd over and India lost by 26 runs, he had done enough, by then, for the team to tiptoe into the finals in April 1998.
The story hasn't concluded yet. Some days later on April 24, on his 25th birthday, Tendulkar played another gem.
In the final match of the tournament, he smashed 134 against the same robust bowling attack. The classic knock helped India chase Australia's 9-272 to win the series. And, the rest is history.
Remembering the special innings by Tendulkar, former test cricketer VVS Laxman (known for his fondness for Aussie bowling attack) recently tweeted: "All I remember is the Aussies were blown away by the desert stonamed sachin."
Tendulkar's Desert Storm !!#OnThisDay in 1998 🇮🇳Need 238(46ovr) to qualify for finals.— CrickeTendulkar Sachin🇮🇳Tendulkar FC (@CrickeTendulkar) April 22, 2020
SACHIN TENDULKAR did it alone With His Blistering 143 Runs.
Next HS: 35
How Old were you when Sachin smashed #DesertStorm?#CelebratingSachinpic.twitter.com/TSVwNVUYPH
The Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 is scheduled to kickstart its latest edition on Saturday.
Sharjah will host its first IPL match on September 23 and in total will hold 12 games. Not many would be able to stop themselves from once again drifting down the memory lane.
Cricket enthusiasts in India would assuredly fancy seeing someone recreating the same atmosphere just like what legendary Sachin Tendulkar did to power India to a tri-series title in Sharjah and proclaim his status as the best player of his generation.
In a recent interview with India football skipper Sunil Chhetri on Instagram, Indian cricket team skipper Virat Kohli, often compared with Tendulkar for batting technique and consistency, picked Tendulkar's 'Desert Storm' innings as one knock he wishes he played. It would be cherry on top for Indian cricket fans if Kohli manages to replicate 'Desert Storm' innings in spirit. Without an actual sandstorm, certainly.