Their rivalry was intense, their battles were fierce and cricketing passions almost always reached new highs when batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar faced-off against the spin wizard Shane Warne. The two legends of the sport have since bid international cricket farewell but tales of their numerous showdowns continue to light up the glorious past.
In a recently-released video on www.shanewarne.com, the two heroes greet each other at Lord's and recount fascinating details of their duels. " I first came across Sachin in my first Test match when I was picked for Australia. It was the 1991-92 series. We were in Sydney and I had obviously heard a lot about him," said Warne. "Sachin came out and smashed us all over the park. It was our first sign of him." Sachin - batting at No. 6 scored an unbeaten 148 in the match which eventually ended in a draw.
While Tendulkar followed up his century with another ton in the following Perth Test, the legendary batsman says that it was easy to see why Warne would go on to do great things as well. "We heard the Aussies had a new leg-spinner and he turned up in a Porche," remembered Tendulkar. " He did not have a great Test at Sydney but it was evident that there was a spark and that this guy would do something special." While Tendulkar finished his international career with 15,921 Test and 18,426 ODI runs, Warne too ended with a massive tally of 708 Test scalps.
The two greats have indeed been pioneers of the sport but Warne feels Tendulkar deserves to be known as the best cricketer of his years. " I don't like comparisons but it was hard to bowl to Sachin. He would dominate you but he would have all the shots (too). What set him apart was how quickly he judged the length of the delivery."
Tendulkar too feels facing Warne was a daunting task and therefore, to pick one particular battle would not be easy. " It was always a challenge to play him. Even if he was not having a good day and bowling the last over, you knew Warnie was up to something," he said. "Warnie just won't let you bat peacefully."
While there was no peace on the field, the sheer roar from the stands each time the two played each other was deafening. While the proverbial 'cricket was the real winner' holds weight, the two stars indeed battled the best in the business when they took each other on.
Â Watch full Sachin Tendulkar vs Shane Warne video (courtesy www.shanewarne.com):