India cricketer Harbhajan Singh trolled Suresh Raina on social media, asking him how he could bunk school to watch Sachin Tendulkar’s ‘Desert Storm’ knock against Australia in Sharjah in 1998 when the one-day match itself started at 4pm IST.
Rated as one of the greatest innings in 50-overs cricket, Tendulkar smashed 143 off 131 balls against the likes of Shane Warne, Damien Fleming and Michael Kasprowicz at Sharjah Cricket Association Stadium in the 6th match of the Coca Cola Cup on April 22.
Tendulkar waged a lone battle while the rest failed miserably as India lost the match by 26 runs, after getting a revised target of 276 in 46 overs due to a sand storm.
Tendulkar’s century was later christened the ‘Desert Storm’ after play was suspended for 25 minutes while the wild sand storm swept through the stadium.
Suresh Raina, who was studying in his 12th grade at the time, claimed in a recent interview that he used to bunk his school to watch Tendulkar bat in that tournament.
“We used to bunk the last two periods of school because the tournament in Sharjah was going on. Sachin paaji used to open in that era.
“Paaji ki batting hi dekhte the uss time pe, ya Rahul (Dravid) bhai. Paaji out hote the to fir nikal lete the ghar (we used to watch only Sachin’s batting, or Dravid’s; but once Sachin got out, we would leave for home),” Raina, who won the 2011 World Cup with Tendulkar, told the Times of India.
But Raina’s claim was questioned by Harbhajan, who was part of the Indian squad in that series. Bhajji wondered “how” Raina bunked school to watch the match which started at 4pm in India, whereas schools don’t go beyond 2-3pm in the country.
“School bunk how ? That game started at 4 pm indian time I was part of the series,” Harbhajan tweeted along with the news article of Raina’s interview.
School bunk how ? That game started at 4 pm indian time I was part of the series https://t.co/JWnZqa2Zl8
— Harbhajan Turbanator (@harbhajan_singh) June 1, 2020
The tri-nation series also involved New Zealand but it was Tendulkar’s knock which took India to the final.
Australia cruised to 287/4 from their 50 overs thanks to a century from Michael Bevan. India were then restricted to 250 for 5 but 24-year-old Tendulkar’s hand lifted his side beyond the required 237 to edge out New Zealand and qualify for the final two days later which they won by 6 wickets to lift the Coca Cola Cup.
And it was again Tendulkar who smashed 134 in India’s successful run chase of 273.