Dubai, Aug 3: Sachin Tendulkar went down memory lane as he spoke on the 1992 World Cup which was his first taste of a global ODI tournament. From a ball boy in 1987 World Cup, Tendulkar had made the transformation into the big league 21 years back.
Tendulkar scored 283 runs in the ICC Cricket World Cup 1992 at an average of just over 47 and was Man of the match in India's only two victories - over Pakistan by 43 runs and Zimbabwe by 55 runs.
The maestro retired from limited overs cricket last year after playing in 463 ODIs in which he scored 18,426 runs, including 49 centuries. In the 198 Tests to date, Tendulkar has scored 15,837 runs at an average of just under 54 with 51 centuries.
Remembering his progress from a ball boy in the ICC Cricket World Cup 1987 to being alongside the legends of that era in the best tournament, a modest Tendulkar said: "I remember in 1987, I was a ball boy so it was a big transformation for me from being a ball boy to participating in the next World Cup.
"I still remember the group picture of teams in Sydney. It was followed by a dinner at the Darling Harbour. It was an unbelievable experience with all the top players from the world in the room. I didn't speak much to anyone. But just to see them from close vicinity was special.
"Just look at each team at that World Cup, there were some big names. England had Ian Botham, Graham Gooch, Allan Lamb. If you talk about South Africa, there was Kepler Wessels leading them and Peter Kirsten as a senior player. For Pakistan, there was Imran Khan, Javed Miandad and Wasim Akram. Having got a chance to play against them in Pakistan in 1989 itself was wonderful, but playing them in a world championship was a different feeling altogether.
"West Indies had Desmond Haynes, Richie Richardson, Malcolm Marshall and Curtly Ambrose. I was quite disappointed that Vivian Richards was not part of the West Indies squad. He was (and still is) my hero, so it was disappointing that I could not play against him.
"Australia was led by Allan Border, and Steve and Mark Waugh, and Craig McDermott were an important part of their squad. New Zealand had Martin Crowe and John Wright who played that World Cup. Sri Lanka had the likes of Aravinda de Silva and Arjuna Ranatunga."
Tendulkar said the ICC Cricket World Cup 1992 also introduced a number of newcomers to the world who went on to become household names and great ambassadors for the game.
"I have to say Allan Donald was a big name then. Everyone spoke about how good he was. Then there was Jonty Rhodes. His run out of Inzamam-ul-Haq was one of the highlights of the World Cup. Not many guys have seen a run out like that!
"West Indies had Brian Lara who was special with his flamboyant batting. For Pakistan there was Wasim Akram who was at the peak of his career, and Inzamam-ul-Haq who played an important knock in the semi-final. From New Zealand, Mark Greatbatch gave them some amazing starts, but Martin Crowe was the one who batted beautifully and was consistent throughout the tournament.
"I remember a new trend started in the tournament of opening the bowling with spin in the form of Dipak Patel. I don't think it had happened earlier.
"I thought these were the guys who really made an impact. To play against them was always a wonderful challenge, which I enjoyed."
As a player who has played in three different decades, Tendulkar considered himself lucky to have been pitted his skills against the great all-rounders of the 1980s.
"There were some real big names and some of the world's top all-rounders. One thing I feel happy about is that I played against all of them: Richard Hadlee, Malcolm Marshall, Clive Rice, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan and Ian Botham. They were the best all-rounders the game had produced.
"Having been able to play against them I consider myself very fortunate. It was quite an experience to play those top guys."
Reflecting on the 1991-92 tour to Australia and New Zealand for the ICC Cricket World Cup 1992, Tendulkar said: "I remember the tour of Australia that preceded the World Cup was a very tough one for us. But I had done reasonably well, scoring a couple of hundreds in the Test series. Then I had also followed it up with some decent performances in the Tri-series (also featuring Australia and West Indies).
"I was feeling quite good about my own form. Having scored a couple of hundreds over there (in the Tests), it had taken my confidence to a new level and I was looking forward to a major tournament like the World Cup.
"I had been to New Zealand in 1990, so I exactly knew what conditions to expect in there."
Tendulkar said the ICC Cricket World Cup 1992 was a memorable tournament and was thoroughly enjoyed not only by the visiting sides but also by the two host nations.
"I have to say that not just the players were excited to be part of this magnificent event, along with us, all the Australians and New Zealanders were really excited to host the tournament. The kind of response that we got was incredible.
"There was a vibrant energy and you felt that wherever you went. Good performances were appreciated by everyone and were acknowledged by all. It was overall a terrific experience," he concluded.
ICC World Cup 2015 will be held in Australia and New Zealand from February 14 to March 29. Tendulkar played each World Cup from 1992 to 2011. Tendulkar was a part of India's World Cup winning team in 2011.