South Africa fast-bowler Dale Steyn is convinced he had Sachin Tendulkar lbw as he approached the first individual double-century in ODIs only to be denied by umpire Ian Gould’s fear he wouldn’t make it back to his hotel if he gave the India great out.
The historic innings took place in front of a lively India home crowd at Gwalior in 2010.
Discussing how tough it was to dismiss Tendulkar with England paceman James Anderson during a Sky Sports cricket podcast, Steyn said: “He scored the first double-hundred in ODI cricket, and it was against us in Gwalior. And I actually remember — I think I got him out lbw when he was about 190-odd. Gouldy was the umpire, and he gave him not out. And I was like, ‘why, why did you give him not out!? That’s so dead’. And he was like, ‘mate, look around –- if I gave him out, I won’t make it back to the hotel’.”
Steyn, however, was full of admiration for Tendulkar, international cricket’s all-time leading run-scorer and century-maker, saying he had “everything covered, he’s got every shot in the book”.
“He was so good, and very rarely got out lbw,” added Steyn of the ‘Little Master’, who retired in 2013.
“And, like Jimmy said, you just didn’t want to bowl a bad ball to him. Especially in a place like India. You bowl a bad ball, and he hits you four — he’s on nought and he hits you for four in Mumbai (Tendulkar’s home town), it feels like the world is closing in on you. He’s only on four not out, he may as well have been on 500. You feel like, ‘maybe I could bring the pace down a little bit and really focus on getting the ball in the right place for as long as I possibly can’. You just didn’t want to bowl a bad ball. You just hope one will do something off the seam or he’s got an off day, and it goes in your favour.”