Former Australia pacer Brett Lee recalled his first interaction with legendary batsman Sachin Tendulkar on his 49th birthday on April 24 (Sunday). Lee who was involved in several on-field battles with Tendulkar during their playing days shares a great camaraderie with the former India batter off the field.
Lee, who was one of the fastest bowlers of his generation, dismissed Tendulkar most times in international cricket – 14.
The former Aussie pacer recalled the first time when he met the batting maestro in 1999 when he represented Prime Minister’s XI against the touring Indian team.
Lee revealed what was going through his mind when he was bowling to Tendulkar in that match.
“I met Sachin for the first time way back in 1999 in Canberra. I was playing in the Prime Minister’s XI against the touring Indian team, which of course had Sachin in it. It was a practice match when he came out to bat and I’m bowling to the great Sachin Tendulkar. I actually thought, ‘I might get an autograph. Get the ball and say, ‘Hey mate, can you please sign this’. I thought that would look cool as my first impression,” Lee said in a video shared on Brett Lee TV on YouTube.
The 45-year-old said that he managed to get Tendulkar out in that match and then shook hands with him after the game.
As a young kid growing up, I watched the wonderful Tendulkar and here I was, bowling to him. I managed to nick him off and we shook hands at the end of the game. I was in absolute awe of this wonderful man,” Lee added.
Tendulkar was one of the few players who were not from Australia but was admired by their fans whenever he went out to bat there, which Lee also admitted.
“Most players who are not from Australia receive a fair bit of flak. They normally get booed. The crowd appreciate the players but doesn’t want to show it… that’s the Australian culture. But every time Sachin walked out to bat, there was massive applause, not only from the Australians but also from the touring Indians who were a part of fans that flew in from around the world to watch Sachin.”
Every time Sachin managed to get a fifty or a hundred, we used to hear a huge noise. I haven’t seen any other player who toured Australia to get that response… get that standing ovation after reaching 150. Just an incredible guy!” Lee further added.