Sachin Tendulkar is renowned for his world class batting, as he continues to rule the batting charts despite announcing retirement almost a decade ago. He is the leading run-scorer in both Tests and ODIs and has slammed a total of 100 centuries in his illustrious international journey. The road, however, was never easy for the Master Blaster, who started his career smoothly but was troubled by series of injuries during the latter stages. Some that we vividly remember are the back spasms in 1999, the fractured ankle in 2001 and the dreaded tennis elbow.
However, another big injury that went unnoticed was a broken rib, which Tendulkar sustained off Shoaib Akhtar‘s bowling during an encounter in 2007.
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The incident took place when Tendulkar was batting alongside Sourav Ganguly, and both knew that some damage was definitely done. Despite the tensed situation, Ganguly tried to pump up Tendulkar, which the Master Blaster recently revealed while speaking at an Infosys event.
Narrating the incident, Tendulkar said that Ganguly walked over to him and said: “Tu toh champion hai rey, you won’t go back to dressing room!” (You are a champion…)
Despite the broken ribs, Tendulkar was in no mood to leave the field, but he couldn’t convey it to his partner as he was in excruciating pain. “Dr Ganguly was at the non-strikers’ end! He heard it (sound of ball crashing into the ribs) obviously. I told Ganguly chup! (Keep quiet, I can’t talk!). And I am not leaving this place, don’t worry. It was a serious blow; like someone punching you at 95 kms per hour.
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“I said I will play on. I knew something was drastically wrong. The first thing I felt was the sensation of throwing up. I had to control that. I didn’t want to show the bowler that I am injured. It’s about controlling what you want to show and what you don’t want to the bowler. It’s about mind games as well.
“Dada (Ganguly) was I think the captain and was worried that I would go to the dressing room. So, I told him don’t worry, I am going to continue batting.”
Tendulkar battled the pain and continued to bat in the match. He then traveled to Australia with the injury as a special chest guard was designed for him.
“I couldn’t sleep for long time or even cough. I couldn’t lie on my back. I couldn’t even laugh. There were some characters in the dressing room; so I had to choose my evening partners carefully!” Tendulkar said.
Following the conclusion of the Australia series, Tendulkar returned to India to and had a check up for other injuries, which he sustained during the tour. “That’s when the doctor did a scan and hotspot showed my ribcage. He said you have broken your ribcage! I knew that but couldn’t share it with any body. It’s not just me, there are number of athletes who play with broken parts all over the body. Playing for India is a huge honour and nothing can replace that,” he said.