Dale Steyn, the South Africa pace ace, was convinced he had Sachin Tendulkar trapped plumb in front when he was on the verge of scoring the first double-century in ODIs, but was denied by umpire Ian Gould, who said, ‘mate, if I gave him out, I won’t make it back to the hotel!’
Steyn was speaking on the Sky Sports Cricket Podcast, with England pacer Jimmy Anderson, former England captain Nasser Hussain and Rob Key, the former England batsman. Steyn and Anderson were discussing how difficult an opponent Tendulkar was, when Steyn revealed this nugget.
It was a frenzy in Gwalior in 2010 when Tendulkar neared his 200. He would go on to become the first player to reach the figure in ODI history, but Steyn came close to denying him that.
“He [Tendulkar] did score a lot of runs against us. He scored the first double-hundred in ODI cricket, and it was against us in Gwalior,” said Steyn. “And I actually remember – I think I got him out lbw when he was about 190-odd. Gouldy [Ian Gould] was the umpire, and he gave him not out.
“And I was like, ‘why, why did you give him not out!? That’s so dead.’ And he was like, ‘mate, look around – if I gave him out, I won’t make it back to the hotel’.
Trapping him in front was a rarity, though, with Steyn saying Tendulkar had “everything covered, he’s got every shot in the book” and that playing in India when Tendulkar was batting was a challenge like no other.
Presenting Sachin Tendulkar’s brillinat 146 v SA at Cape Town 2011 including footage from his epic battle with @DaleSteyn62 who bowled 66 balls over two spells & Sachin negotiated 48 of them by some masterful defending & some luck. He played as many as 5 back to back Steyn overs. pic.twitter.com/nVVT0lsWFy
— Mainak??️ (@desi_robelinda) April 3, 2020
“He was so good, and very rarely got out lbw. And, like Jimmy said, you just didn’t want to bowl a bad ball to him,” said Steyn. “Especially in a place like India. You bowl a bad bowl, and he hits you four – he’s on nought and he hits you for four in Mumbai, it feels like the world is closing in on you. He’s only on 4 not out, he may as well have been on 500!
“You feel like, ‘maybe I could bring the pace down a little bit and really focus on getting the ball in the right place for as long as I possibly can’. You just didn’t want to bowl a bad ball. And you just hope. He’s got it covered, he’s got everyone shot in the book – you just hope one will do something off the seam or he’s got an off day, and it goes in your favour.”