Employing psychological tactics, bowlers engage in sledging or banter, with fast bowlers often using these techniques to provoke opposition batsmen. While this strategy might prove effective against certain batsmen, legends adopt a different approach, responding with their performance on the field.
During the Caribbean tour of 1994, England’s fast bowler Andrew Caddick had already experienced the consequences of inciting Brian Lara. Now, he chose to challenge none other than Sachin Tendulkar. The trajectories of India and England diverged during the 2003 World Cup.
India started cautiously against the Netherlands and suffered a substantial defeat against Australia, only to resurrect their campaign afterward. On the other hand, England secured three consecutive victories, but their forfeited match against Zimbabwe left them on shaky ground. Consequently, both teams found themselves locked in a pivotal must-win encounter in Durban.
Having smashed a splendid century against Namibia, Tendulkar became the focus of Caddick’s attention prior to the crucial match. Caddick’s words were sharp: “India’s pride shouldn’t stem from scoring 300-plus against Namibia. Their batting strength was aided more by the fumbling Namibians. Even Sachin’s century doesn’t alter the fact that he didn’t perform well. Sachin is just one among the many batsmen in the Indian squad, and there are several others.”
With Caddick’s comments resonating, the Indian opening duo of Virender Sehwag and Tendulkar took to the crease. Tendulkar swiftly demonstrated his intent by dispatching a boundary off the second ball he faced from Caddick. As the opening partnership continued to accumulate runs from the English pacers, the eighth over held a special significance.
Tendulkar seized the moment, guiding the first delivery through the leg side for a four. The third ball, pitched short and wide, witnessed the masterful batsman pivoting and lofting the ball high over the midwicket boundary. This shot, hailed as the standout moment of the tournament, remains a cherished memory to this day.
Although Tendulkar eventually departed for 50 from 52 balls, caught by Andrew Flintoff at point, he had already scored 36 of those runs against Caddick in just 19 balls, including six fours and one six. Caddick concluded his 10-over spell with figures of 69/3, with all three wickets coming in the final over. India’s total of 250/9 proved sufficient, largely thanks to Ashish Nehra’s outstanding spell of 6/23. Consequently, India secured a berth in the super six stage, advancing in the competition.