April 24, 1998: When crowd jeered Damien Fleming for trying to prise out birthday buddy Sachin Tendu
Damien Fleming shared an interesting memory of crowd jeering him for trying to prise out his birthday buddy Sachin Tendulkar during the famous final in Sharjah on April 24, 1998.
India legend Sachin Tendulkar, who is revered as the ‘God of Cricket’ by ardent cricket fans, turned 47 on 24 April. Coincidentally, former Australian pace bowler Damien Fleming also celebrates his birthday on 24 April and has credited Sachin Tendulkar for helping him improve during his career.
Fleming, who turns 50 on Friday, has enjoyed his duels with Tendulkar whom he dismissed five times in 20 ODIs and twice in four Tests. Fleming shared an interesting memory of crowd jeering him for trying to prise out Sachin Tendulkar during the famous final in Sharjah on April 24, 1998.
"I remember halfway through the innings, they put 'Happy 25th Birthday Sachin Tendulkar' on the scoreboard. It drew a massive roar from the crowd and he seemed to kick on from there, taking more control. As he brought up his hundred, there was another massive cheer. The game drifted away from us. As we were losing, they put up 'Happy 27th Birthday Damien Fleming.' And it was booed by 15 thousand people," Fleming told TOI.
On his birthday in 1998, Sachin Tendulkar had guided India to a memorable six-wicket win over the mighty Australians in the Coca-Cola Cup final in Sharjah. A young 25-year-old Tendulkar hit 134 off 131 balls, studded with 12 fours and three sixes in his amazing knock. India won the match by six wickets and lifted the trophy.
"In a way, he not only helped me improve but also other Australian bowlers, because when we first bowled to him we had no idea (where to bowl). But you have got to compete.
Obviously, you started bowling better and better because the margin of error got smaller and smaller. He forced you to be more accurate. If there's any swing, you have to make most of it. If you bowled a bouncer, you needed to be right on the money," he said.