Former Australia captain Ian Chappell has compared the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic with a five-day game, saying the need of the hour for every individual is to display patience, determination and initiative – key attributes of a Test cricketer – to tide over the crisis.
To support his point, Chappell cited the example of two influential innings; one of them of fellow Australian opener Ian Redpath and the other an unforgettable knock for many Indian fans by Sachin Tendulkar.
“The current testing times are demanding a lot of citizens round the world. I’ve learned that rules that apply to athletes prospering at sport are also helpful in living life,” Chappell wrote in a column for ESPNCricinfo.
Chappell handpicked Tendulkar’s memorable innings against Australia in a 1998 Test in Chennai, where he dominated Shane Warne with his attacking approach.
“To highlight the point I’ve chosen two particularly influential innings. The first one is a Sachin Tendulkar masterpiece in Chennai in 1998. His brilliant second-innings 155 won the Test for India, but it wouldn’t have happened without the initiative displayed by Tendulkar in the lead-up to the series,” the Aussie legend said.
Chappell recollected how seriously Tendulkar took Ravi Shastri’s advice to devise an attacking option to combat Warne bowling in the footmarks and prepared himself ahead of the contest that was so eagerly anticipated.
“Following that sound advice, Tendulkar spent time at the MRF nets - where he deliberately scuffed an area outside leg stump - facing the wristspin of former Indian leggie Laxman Sivaramakrishnan,” he wrote.
The master blaster’s initiative and determination stood out for Chappell.
“Fast forward to the fourth day of a tightly contested match where India are in trouble. Tendulkar, having been dismissed cheaply by Warne in the first innings, strides to the crease with his team two down and only 44 runs in front. The ball is spinning sharply and Warne, boosted by a four-wicket haul in the first innings, is confident.
“Tendulkar struggles to assert any authority early on and Warne, sensing his opponent is vulnerable, opts to come round the wicket. It’s rare that a Test match is so finely balanced on the fourth day with the champions of each team doing battle with each other. At that moment the result was on the line,” he said.
“Tendulkar’s determination and initiative were rewarded when he put his well-thought-out plan into operation. He immediately attacked deliveries pitching in the footmarks, and after a series of electrifying shots reached and cleared the boundary, Warne reluctantly went back over the wicket. Tendulkar had won the battle and India would go on to win the Test.”
The other innings chosen by Chappell was the one by Redpath at the MCG in 1976.
Read Ian Chappell’s column here.