Sachin Tendulkar testing positive on Saturday for Covid-19 has overshadowed an event that forever changed the career path of the legendary batsman on this date, 27 years ago.
On March 27, back in 1994, opener Navjot Singh Sidhu suffered a stiff neck and wasn't available to open in the second ODI against New Zealand in Auckland.
The team management reluctantly let Tendulkar open. The right-handed batsman had volunteered to open the Indian innings to which the team think-tank initially objected as they didn't want to lose their best batsman to new ball.
However, he opened and made a 49-ball 82 to help India chase down a 143-run target in 23.2 overs and win the match by seven wickets.
Sachin Tendulkar, the opener
That knock cemented his place at the top of the order. He made 45 of his 49 centuries batting as an opener.
Prior to him opening the batting, he had batted in positions from No. 3 to No. 7, scoring 1758 runs in 69 matches at an average of 30.84 with 13 half-centuries. Most of his fifties in that pre-opening period came at No. 4.
Since this day 27 years ago, when he opened an ODI innings for the first time, Tendulkar scored 15,310 runs in 340 innings as opener, averaging 48.29.
Overall, since 27 March, 1994, he made 16,668 runs in 386 innings at an average of 47.08. He batted 35 times at No. 4 (scoring four centuries), nine times at No. 3 and once each at Nos. 5 and 6.
(With inputs from IANS)