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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 June 2006, 10:05 GMT 11:05 UK
Sachin's glorious comeback
By Oliver Brett
BBC Sport at Fenner's

Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin readies himself for another big shot (pic - Dheeraj Dixit)

They came in their hundreds to see Sachin Tendulkar's comeback innings.

There were students killing post-exams hangovers with yet more beer, elderly jacket-and-tie club members, but above all a noisy throng of Indian cricket fans of every age.

The venue was Fenner's in the centre of Cambridge, where the city's University team took on celebrity side Lashings.

Tendulkar was playing his first cricket match since a shoulder operation in March and he opened the batting for the illustrious visitors.

Spectators watched nervously as the first ball was bowled, dreading an ignominious duck for the great man.

But a series of bouncers just outside off-stump by University captain Tom Savill failed to unsettle the 'Little Master.'

Savill, lacking the pace of Steve Harmison or Makhaya Ntini, was unable to intimidate Tendulkar and in his second over the Indian superstar pulled him effortlessly for the first of 25 often exquisite boundaries.

Tendulkar's glorious exhibition was later appreciated by the man who finally dismissed him for 155, Ben Jacklin.

"He was pretty awesome," said the 22-year-old veterinary student.

He is still the most dangerous player in cricket right now and I love to play with him

Lashings star
Rashid Latif

"From about ball one there wasn't one ball he didn't time the pants off and smash to the boundary."

Jacklin saw Tendulkar and Kiwi star Chris Cairns loft his right-arm medium pace straight back over his head for several sixes.

He added: "One thing I've really noticed is that with any ball on his legs he's known exactly where fine leg is and he's put it either fine of the man or straight of the man for four.

Jacklin, whose final bowling figures were 1-74 in five overs, finally got his man with a slow, low full toss driven to mid-on.

"I had just had him dropped on the boundary the previous over, so if I hadn't got him out afterwards I would have been demanding a few drinks off the fielder who had dropped the catch," he said.

Sachin Tendulkar
Tendulkar was in his element in his comeback in Cambridge

Lashings predictably went on to win by 104 runs, after Cairns had hammered nine sixes - one an astonishing blow over cow corner that was still rising when it hit a sixth-floor balcony of a block of flats.

Cambridge, who began their run chase needing 343 to win from 40 overs, were never in the frame despite some generous bowling. But Fred Owen had a day to remember, with 82 from 73 balls.

The main topic of conversation around the boundary edge continued to be Tendulkar, however.

"He looked like he had been playing all summer really," said former England all-rounder Phil DeFreitas, Lashings' 12th man.

"He's a world class player. He's been out through injuries but touch and class never go away and he's shown it today."

Rashid Latif, former Pakistan captain and the team's wicket-keeper, has often been an adversary of Tendulkar's, but confessed to having always been a fan of his batting.

"He is 33 but is still the most dangerous player in cricket right now and I love to play with him," he said.

"Great batting talent never dies. Steve Waugh played until 38 and Graham Gooch too played great cricket late in his career.

"Sachin was the top-run-scorer in the last World Cup - maybe he can be the top run-scorer in the next one.

"He needs to work on his cricket again and it will be difficult but I hope he will be back to his best soon."



SEE ALSO
Sachin injuries taking toll - Lal
19 May 06 |  International Teams
Clare Connor column
12 Jun 06 |  Women's cricket
Feeling the Lash
29 Aug 03 |  Cricket


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