New Delhi, Feb 6 (IANS) In an unblemished career, it was the infamous Mike Denness affair in the 2001 series in South Africa that "shocked and shattered" batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar when he was charged with ball tampering, a new book says.
Tendulkar, along with five Indian cricketers, were handed a Test-match ban by match referee Denness on charges ranging from ball tampering to excessive appealing during the second Test against South Africa in Port Elizabeth.
The cricketing world was shocked when the former England captain charged Tendulkar, who has always played the game fairly, with ball tampering.
In a book titled 'SACH,' by Gautam Bhattacharya, Tendulkar revealed that he was trying to clean the ball and not tamper with the seam.
"You know I was completely shocked and shattered when he said the charge against me was for ball tampering. I tried telling him what the truth was. That I was just cleaning the grass on the ball. I was not picking the seam. At no stage did I do that. If someone is trying to remove grass, how can you levy ball-tampering charges against him? But the match referee would hear none of it.
"Since then, whenever I clean the ball, I keep the umpires posted. But despite the incident, I was so happy for the trust and faith that the entire country expressed in me. At times it has been written that a nation walked with me every time I went out to bat. Here there was no bat. Yet they showed such faith in my integrity that I was touched. Till date I can't forget that," Tendulkar said.
Besides the Denness incident, it was the 26/11 terrorist attack in Mumbai that made the Mumbaikar numb and he still ranks it as one of the most disappointing days of his life.
"We were playing at Cuttack (against England). At night we came to know about the attack. Of course, first you call home and enquire about the safety of your near and dear ones. Then keep glued to TV to try and find out what exactly is going on. What was happening to the nation was difficult to digest. I felt very sad and couldn't come to terms with it. I was almost numb and didn't know what had hit me. It took a while to get myself back on track. That must surely rank as one of the most disappointing days of my life," he said.