Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammad Azharuddin were two of Indian cricket's most pivotal figures in the 1990s. While Mohammad Azharuddin served as India's long-term leader for most of the 90s decade, Sachin Tendulkar served as the team's world class batsman, who could take any opposition to the cleaners. In 1998, reports had emerged of an 'apparent rift' between Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammad Azharuddin.
On April 24, 1998, Sachin Tendulkar celebrated his 25th birthday by getting an unlikely win for Team India against a very strong Australian team at Sharjah. Tendulkar had scored his 143 during the infamous 'Desert Storm' only two days before the match to guarantee India a qualification to the final. In the final, Tendulkar made 134 and helped India win the match and the Coca-Cola Cup at the Sharjah Stadium famously.
The backstory behind this match was that there was reported animosity between Sachin Tendulkar and Mohammad Azharuddin as it was Tendulkar who had replaced Azharuddin as captain from 1996-1997 and the second half of 1999. After poor performances under Tendulkar before 1998, the team was put back under the control of Azharuddin, who was able to turn things around.
In an article by Cricbuzz, Mohammad Azharuddin revealed there was no animosity between Sachin Tendulkar and him and it was all 'media hype'. Azharuddin said that he understood how the media could be tempted to write about something between the two seniors but there really was not anything to it. The former captain also credited Tendulkar for being one of his best players and for taking India across the line on many occasions.
Azharuddin also reflected on how the team wanted to make a statement by winning a tournament at Sharjah and the 1998 Coca Cola Cup victory allowed them to do so against strong teams like Australia and New Zealand.
Many Sachin Tendulkar records are enough to justify the batsman's legacy as he has scored more than 34,000 international runs and 100 international hundreds. The two Sharjah knocks were clearly Sachin Tendulkar birthday specials, as the cricketer turned 47 on Friday. A disciple of the Little Master and the biggest competition to many Sachin Tendulkar records, Virat Kohli took to Twitter to wish the Little Master during the India lockdown.