How Sachin Tendulkar Countered Shane Warne’s Spin Threat, Ex-India Star Recalls

Arguably the biggest Test rivalry in the world at the moment, India and Australia are set to square off in a 4-match Border-Gavaskar Trophy starting February 09. Since arriving in India, the visitors have been gearing up for the series with some interesting training strategies. To counter the Ravichandran Ashwin threat in the Test series, Australian batters have been practicing against the off-spinner’s “duplicate” Maheesh Pithiya, who was flown from Gujarat, in the nets of Alur, that too on a doctored pitch.

While a lot has been written and said about Australia’s unique preparations, former India leg-spinner Laxman Sivaramakrishnan has recalled a similar incident from Australia’s tour of India in 1997/98.

The build-up around 1997/98 India vs Australia Test series was around the battle between Shane Warne and Sachin Tendulkar.

Sivaramakrishnan recalled how the former India batter called him to a camp, mainly to replicate the late great Aussie leggie’s deliveries and help him prepare for the series.

“Most people think about the exact purpose of those training sessions. I was never going to be replica of Shane Warne. But what worked for me was that I also had big leg-breaks. One can never replicate the other bowler,” Sivaramakrishnan said in his interview with Times of India.

Since there were no video analysts back then to assist the team, Sivaramakrishnan explained how an “observant” Tendulkar’s feedback helped him in recreating Warne’s deliveries

“Those were the days when you didn’t have video analysts and exposure to the wide range of videos like you have now. We spoke a lot. He gave me feedback from his experience of facing Warne. Sachin very vividly described the pace off the pitch that Warne could generate. Also, he gave me a clear picture of the variation of pace, trajectory and angles Warne used. That’s how observant Sachin was. I just tried to implement that,” he added.

Sivaramakrishnan further revealed how Tendulkar had planned to counter Warne, who focused on making the most of the rough patches outside the leg stump.

“Sachin had bought new shoes with sharp spikes. He scratched the surface very hard and created the rough. The groundsman was not happy with what we were planning. So, we decided we will use just one pitch for the week-long session. By the third or fourth day, the pitch became very tough to bat on,” he recalled.

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