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When an ‘impetuous’ Tendulkar narrowly missed out on being the youngest Test centurion ever

Tendulkar Morrison
by Wisden Staff 3 minute read

Former New Zealand quick Danny Morrison, speaking on The Edges & Sledges Podcast, recalled his face-off with an inexperienced, “impetuous” Sachin Tendulkar in 1990, who narrowly fell short of becoming the youngest-ever Test centurion.

Tendulkar, months short of his 17th birthday, travelled to New Zealand for his second overseas tour after a debut in Pakistan, featuring in three Tests and two ODIs.

Morrison, who was three years into his international career at the time, explained how the New Zealand camp was wary of the youngster’s special talent.

“Ken Rutherford captained one of the President’s XI [teams], against [India],” Morrison said, “and Sachin played the tour game, and I remember Rutherford discussing at a team meeting, ‘This guy has a lot of time and looks a very, very special talent.’ I suppose, in a way, it was sort of ridiculous because he was like a guy who could have been in the first year of school! He was turning 17!

“Here he was playing international cricket and looked beautiful getting into line, sometimes leaving Richard Hadlee with a beautiful shape and that. I mean, early on, it’s going to be intimidating, like for all of us, your first Test match, first series. I think he had played one Test against Pakistan. This was the actual first full series he was getting and he was up against Hadlee, who was…I mean, yeah, at the end of his career, but still, one hell of a bowler.”

Bouncing back from scores of 0 & 24 in the Christchurch Test, Tendulkar, batting at No.6 at Napier, struck 88 against an attack featuring Hadlee and Morrison, along with Martin Snedden, John Bracewell and Rutherford. He narrowly missed out on his maiden Test ton, eventually reaching three figures for the first time in Manchester later that year.

“When I look at that and remember, yeah, a couple of shots … I remember the 88 he got in Napier, and he was in such a hurry! I think he hit me for three fours in this one over, and you could see that impetuous nature of the youth and he wanted to keep going, he ended up smashing me to John Wright (at mid-off).

“That was it, and hence saying he was so impetuous because he could have been the youngest ever, and you could see it took him an age to get off the ground. [It was] like a snowball rolling down the hill, getting bigger and bigger, just getting boom, boom, boom until it went bust, sort of hit a tree down the mountain, which was a shame for Indian fans because he was going so beautifully. Got out for 88.

“But that’s the game, he could have been out on the second ball or whatever, playing a shot like that, but he was on a roll. Real talent, no doubt about that.”

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