Sachin Tendulkar helped me read every variation of Ravi Ashwin on debut, recalls Richard Levi

Sachin Tendulkar helped me read every variation of Ravi Ashwin on debut, recalls Richard Levi

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South Africa’s Richard Levi, who played 6 IPL games for Mumbai Indians in 2012, recalled how his opening partner Sachin Tendulkar helped him read every variation of Ravi Ashwin on his IPL debut. Eventually, Levi hit a fifty in the match, which incidentally turned out to be his only fifty in the IPL.

A powerful, built opener who could brutalise the cricket ball, Richard Levi’s stocks skyrocketed after his 51-ball 117 against New Zealand in 2012, after which he was snapped up by Mumbai Indians. Much to everyone’s surprise, the franchise put their trust on the big man from the very beginning, and in the first match of the 2012 season against Chennai Super Kings at Chepauk, it was Levi who strode out to open the batting alongside the legendary Sachin Tendulkar

By no means were things easy, as Levi faced an uphill task of negating the league’s best spinner, Ravichandran Ashwin, on a track that turned square, but the South African opener revealed how Sachin helped him read every minute variation of Ashwin, thus allowing him to play freely and chip away with the runs. Eventually, Levi ended up scoring a fifty in the match, helping his side to a comfortable eight-wicket win.

"Tendulkar had told me every variation of what Ashwin would bowl in that over (his first over against Ashwin. Sachin came over and said, 'He's going to bowl the overspinner now'. He did, and I hit it for two. Then he said, 'He's going to try and get you out now'. So I was prepared, and I hit it for six," Levi told Cricbuzz.

"It wasn't a pretty innings; I got away with a couple of things. Dwayne Bravo kept bowling slower balls that stuck in the wicket and I kept squirting them into gaps for one bounce fours."

However, him scoring a total of just 33 runs in the succeeding 5 innings meant that he was dropped by the franchise and was never picked in the side again. The opener, who has since prominently featured in the T20 Blast in England, enrolled himself in multiple IPL auctions, but unfortunately, had no takers on any occasion. Reflecting on his IPL stint, Levi described it as ‘unfinished business’ and admitted that he would love to play in the IPL again someday. 

"I never had any doubt about my game, but because we were Mumbai we had so many options. It was a horse for courses scenario,” said Levi, talking about why he was never a regular feature in the side. I'd love to (return to the IPL) - it's unfinished business. I was so naive then."

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