Bangalore, Nov 10: A few days before and during the controversial Sydney Test in 2008, Sachin Tendulkar had to battle a severe allergic reaction to his face that put him in lot of agony. The Master Blaster was so troubled by it and in pain, he ended up shouting at a hotel manager.
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Writing in his autobiography "Playing It My Way," Tendulkar has revealed how a newly launched moisturising cream, which he and Harbhajan Singh bought at Singapore airport, left him red-faced during Melbourne and Sydney Tests. This happened during India's tour to Australia in December 2007 to early 2008.
"Something unexpected that I had to deal with at the time of the Melbourne Test (December 2007) was a severe allergic reaction. On our way to Australia, Harbhajan Singh and I had bought a newly launched moisturising cream at Singapore airport and for the first few days I had no problems using the cream. It was during the first Test that I started feeling a serious burning sensation on my face," Tendulkar writes under the title "Red faces all round".
"Harbhajan did not have any such problem, so at first I attributed my reaction to a massage. I had had to lie down with my face on a towel and I thought it must have been something to do with the detergent used on the towel," he added.
Embarrassed and hiding behind large sunglasses
Tendulkar, who had to field during the Melbourne Test, said due to this allergy, he felt his "face was on fire". To hide this he wore large sunglasses.
"The problem started to bother me on the third day and I remember putting more cream on my face before going to bed, thinking it would help. The next morning I awoke in agony. My face was on fire and it was as if someone had pushed it into a barbecue. It was even worse by the evening with my face all red and swollen. So much so that I was too embarrassed to go out in public and had to hide behind large sunglasses," Tendulkar has written.
Shouting at the hotel manager in Sydney
Having left Melbourne early for the next Test in Sydney, Tendulkar said he was made to wait by the hotel staff before giving him and his family rooms. Annoyed by this and in pain, Tendulkar shouted at the hotel manager.
"Anjali was arriving in Sydney the next day. With the Melbourne Test over on the fourth day I got permission to fly to Sydney a little earlier than planned and met up with her and children at the airport. They were horrified by my face and asked what on earth I had done to it. I was not in the best of moods and wanted to get to the hotel as quickly as possible. When we finally arrived, after a 45-minute drive because of the traffic, I was really irritable. The hotel staff then took a long time to give us our rooms and I ended up shouting at the hotel manager," Tendulkar said.
"By the time we got to the room I had started to feel worse and told Anjali to ask the kids to sit in the adjoining room and leave me alone. the poor kids were wondering what was wrong with me to behave like this. By then, my face was troubling me even more. We called Reception and asked for a doctor to come to my room but were told that there wasn't one available at the hour. I asked where the nearest hospital was and went there immediately. After a brief examination, I was given a lotion for the night and was asked to come back the following morning," he added.
Wearing floppy hat for the first time
Tendulkar went to a hospital in Sydney after that he started to look "almost human again".
"I returned to the hospital the following morning and asked the doctor to do whatever he thought necessary to give me some quick relief, as I had a Test match to play the following morning. The doctor was a little taken aback, considering my condition, but I was absolutely determined to play. That afternoon we were supposed to be practising but I was in no state to stay out in the sun.
"I ended up batting against my dear friend Subroto Banerjee, the former India medium-fast bowler, who was then a resident of Sydney, in the indoor nets for a good 45 minutes. I managed to take the field the next day, however, and that was the first time I wore a floppy white hand, which from then on became my trademark on the field. I applied a lot of ice to my face and then plastered it with zinc cream. It looked ridiculous but that didn't bother me. After a couple of days, it finally started to settle down and I looked almost human again," Tendulkar has written.
Despite this pain, Tendulkar scored an unbeaten 154 in Sydney in the first innings. However, India lost by 122 runs. During this Sydney Test, Harbhajan was accused of racially abusing Andrew Symonds. Tendulkar has written about that infamous episode 'Monkeygate' in the book.