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When Sachin shunned nets to rake in runs

New Delhi (PTI): Sachin Tendulkar produced a fairytale run in the 2003 World Cup, which, in his own words, included the biggest match of his career, without facing a single ball in the nets, according to former team-mate Rahul Dravid, who says the iconic cricketer “defied imagination”.

No cricketer ever has scored more runs than the 673 recorded then by the Indian legend in a single edition of a World Cup. The highlight was the 98-run knock that saw him take on the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar with aplomb.

“It (his preparation) changes from time to time. In the 2003 World Cup, Sachin Tendulkar didn’t bat a single ball in the nets, right through the tournament. He only got throw-downs. He just received hundreds of throw-downs through the whole tournament,” Dravid said.

“All of us were wondering ‘Why is he doing that?’ When I asked him, he said, ‘I’m feeling good. I don’t want to go into the nets and waste the touch. I want to feel good about my batting. If I have that sort of feeling, I will score runs when I go in.’ And that’s what happened!”

Calling the Mumbaikar the greatest player he has played with, Dravid said Tendulkar changed the landscape of Indian cricket.

“He’s changed the landscape, both on and off the field, for Indian cricket over the last two decades. It’s almost mindboggling. A whole generation has grown up with Tendulkar. They’ve seen his ups and downs and lived their lives and dreams through his feats. So many people in India want to be a cricketer,” Dravid said on a cricinfo show.

“For the last 24 years, there’s been a whole generation of people who’ve had this privilege and opportunity of claiming to say ‘We were there when Tendulkar was the best batsman in the world.’”

The former India captain said Tendulkar defied imagination.

“A legend. The greatest player that I’ve played with as a batsman. He’s been a huge inspiration. To see a 16-year old boy do what he did was unbelievable. It defied imagination and was a huge inspiration for me. I felt like if he could do it then I should also try to be a Test cricketer,” Dravid said.

On Tendulkar being accused of selfishness, Dravid said: “I think it’s a little bit unfair. All of us want to score hundreds, all of us want to score runs and the team does benefit when you score runs.”

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