The pep talk with Sachin that inspired Zadran to notch up historic ton

Mumbai, (UNI) Ibrahim Zadran on Tuesday became the first Afghanistan batsman to score an ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup century, and he later revealed how a talk with India legend and ICC Global Ambassador Sachin Tendulkar had contributed to the feat.

Zadran’s special innings came against the five-time champions Australia at the Wankhede, with the towering new statue of Tendulkar overseeing the proceedings.

The Master himself addressed the Afghanistan team last night, inspiring a group that has made waves at the World Cup so far.

Prior to this tournament, Afghanistan had only secured a single victory in their Cricket World Cup history, in 2015.

In the current campaign, they have delivered extraordinary performances, triumphing in four out of seven matches so far, including three consecutive wins, and are in the running for a semifinal spot.

Zadran’s feat was another feather in Afghanistan’s remarkable campaign – the opener scored an unbeaten 129 to carry Afghanistan to their highest Cricket World Cup total.

“I had a good chat yesterday with Sachin Tendulkar,” Zadran said at the innings break.

“To be honest, he gave me lots of things that I can’t express. He shared with me lots of knowledge from his 24 years of experience.

“He said that he was the ball-picker here [at Wankhede] before starting international cricket. So that’s why I didn’t have good memories from that ground in Under-19 times.

Zadran went on to credit Tendulkar, stating that the talk inspired him to play the historic knock against Australia.

“But I said before the match that I will make it like Sachin Tendulkar did,” said Zadran. “So I’m very thankful to him for sharing that experience with me.

“It gives me lots of confidence and energy. That’s why I played that kind of knock and became the first [Afghanistan] player to get to the [World Cup] hundred.”

The chat between Zadran and Tendulkar was exclusively captured by Tendulkar told Zadran to “just address the ball” and to forget about big runs.

“The best thing to do is not to think too much about big runs all the time,” Tendulkar told Zadran on the eve of the match. “Just address that ball and play that ball to the best of your ability. Because sometimes we go too far ahead of the game.

“Batting in the fifth over you can’t be thinking of the 45th over. You [should] think about who’s going to bowl, whether that bowler is bowling well or not, who’s going to bowl, whether that bowler is bowling well or not.

Talking of restraint and identifying the right time to go after an attack, Tendulkar said that getting a grasp of the game situation was key.

“You can’t go bang bang bang all the time sometimes you just need to understand the situation and say that ‘okay, I may not get as many loose deliveries, but I’m going to hang around and possibly four overs down the line doors might open for me and then the best thing is to surrender yourself to your natural instincts.’

“That is when you are playing at your best because when you stand at the striker’s end your focus has to be at the bowler’s end.

“But you stand here at the striker’s end and your focus is also on your technique, what you are going to do when you are in trouble because you’re not watching what the bowler is looking to do.”

The profound influence of Tendulkar’s words was reflected in Zadran’s incredible knock that laid the foundation for a dominant performance from Afghanistan at the Wankhede.

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