Never was an innings break so anticipated in a game of cricket. It lasted for five-odd minutes but for Sachin Tendulkar devotees, even that is good enough time if their ‘God’ is out there on the 22 yards in a country where he is revered no less than his own. And those five minutes of just putting bat to ball towards raising funds for the Bushfire charity cause will be archived with as much care as his hundred international hundreds.
With a dodgy shoulder, Tendulkar didn’t take part in the charity game but played an over from Australia’s superstar woman cricketer Ellyse Perry during the break. Perry had challenged Tendulkar to face her for an over in a video message on social media which the Indian legend had accepted. Used to seeing him either in spotless whites or the light blue (once navy blue) India colours, the fans at the Junction Oval ground in Melbourne must have been chuffed watching him come out in Australian yellow.
The helmet was yellow, the pads weren’t ultra-light and the bat sported a logo different to the ones Tendulkar endorsed over his professional career, but who cared for those five minutes. The first delivery by Perry was tucked off his hips and the fielder at short fine-leg let it go, much to her embarrassment, and the crowd was happy. He repeated the shot towards deep square leg and got a couple.
“It’s an incredible feeling to bowl to Tendulkar and watch Brian Lara bat,” said Australia’s double international Perry, who would play a key role in the tri-series final against India. Perry has also represented Australia in football.