Had to 'beg and plead' to open innings for India, says Sachin Tendulkar

Bengaluru, September 26: Had to "beg and plead" to open the innings for India in an ODI against New Zealand in 1994, recalled India batting great Sachin Tendulkar.

The switch from middle-order to opening the innings at Auckland proved to be a masterstroke as Tendulkar finished with a world record 49 hundreds in the 50-over format.

In that match, India led by Mohammed Azharuddin, beat New Zealand with Tendulkar opening the batting for the first time with Ajay Jadeja.

And recently, via a video shared on LinkedIn, Tendulkar recollected the moment which was a major turning point of his career.

"In 1994, when I started opening the batting for India, the strategy used by all teams was to save wickets. What I tried to do was slightly out of the box," he said.

"I thought I could go up front and take the opposition bowlers on. But I had to beg and plead to please give me a chance. If I fail, I won't come after you again," he added.

The prolific former batsman used that moment as an example to urge his fans to never shy away from taking risks because of the fear of failure.

"In that first match (against New Zealand at Auckland), I scored 82 off 49 balls, so I didn't have to ask again if I would get another chance. They were keen for me to open. But what I'm trying to say here is, don't be afraid of failure," the 46-year-old Tendulkar said.

While he may have ended with a 49 ODI centuries, Tendulkar's first ton in the format came after five years since his debut.

It was in September 1994 that he hit his first ODI hundred, against Australia in Colombo, having made the switch from the middle-order to opening the innings.

Tendulkar recorded scores of 82, 63, 40, 63 and 73 in his first five innings as an opening batsman and finished his ODI career with 18426 runs in 463 matches - the most by any in the history of the format.

(With inputs from PTI)