Sachin has always had one of the most powerful arms in cricket history. I remember during our 1989 tour to Pakistan, Sachin, then only 16, and Kapil Dev used to have a throwing competition. They used to stand at the centre wicket and challenge each other to fling the ball into the stands. Even at that tender age, Sachin was extremely strong, and he matched Kapil, who was easily India’s best outfielder, throw for throw.
The greatest thing about Sachin though was that he was ambidextrous enough to attempt the feat with his left-arm. And in those days, he used to succeed in doing so as well. He was also aware of how dangerous his throw was. And Sachin would make it a point to fire in some bullet-throws early in the opposition innings in an attempt to intimidate them. Basically, he wanted to tell them how risky it was to take a chance against his arm, and put that fear into them. Personally, I was always worried about those throws. Because they used to come towards me at a rapid rate.
His arm wasn’t the same after the shoulder operation he underwent later in his career. But even now it hasn’t lost its bite completely.
The thing about Sachin in his young days was that he was super charged-up always. He used to be in my ear constantly during the times he stood at slip. Sachin had an opinion about every delivery that was being bowled, and every shot that was played. Not to forget the field placements. He was forever bubbling with ideas. At times, he could get annoying. I remember, Sachin often used to be banished to the fine-leg or long-on fence. But even from there, he would have a thousand suggestions. It was just a case of staggering amounts of energy and an unimaginable commitment and passion towards the game.
He was also among the safest catchers in the team. He possessed the perfect technique for taking catches, regardless of where he was positioned. He was never a great diver, and you will rarely see Sachin putting in a very graceful dive. And he was very conscious of that. His strength was in his strong legs, and his ability to cover ground very quickly. Sachin used his agility to get to the ball to lessen the chances of him having to put in a dive.
—as told to Bharat Sundaresan
(More and Tendulkar played 43 ODIs together between 1989 and 1993)