Ahead of an ODI match in 2002 against England in Cuttack, Badani said that Srinath was being uncharacteristically nervous and Tendulkar decided to play a prank on him to lighten his mood.
“For some strange reason at Cuttack, he (Srinath) was extremely nervous, extremely wobbly, which he normally isn’t,” Badani said on his Instagram account on the episode of #StorieswithHemangBadani. “Java (Srinath) is extremely vocal and very confident in his normal self, but for some strange reason, he was a little nervous that day.
“And, I wasn’t playing that game. So, what Sachin asked me to do that game was ? Srinath, obviously being a 6’2, 6’3, had really long pants, and Sachin, being about 5’5, 5’6 had shorter pants.
“To just try and lighten the mood and to make sure that Srinath got back to normalcy, during practice before the game, when the match hadn’t started yet, he asked me to switch trousers. He said, ‘Take my trousers, put them in Srinath’s bag, and pull out his trousers and keep it away wherever you can, be it in your bag, be it in my bag. Just take it away’.”
Srinath didn’t even notice that he was wearing shorter trousers. “Srinath being Srinath, doesn’t even care. He finishes his practice, gets back to the dressing room, puts his trousers on, gets on the field, bowls the first ball, and there are people laughing on the field. The Indian side is laughing on the field, and little does he realise what’s happened,” said Badani.
“Then someone pointed at his trousers and said, ‘Sri, look at your trousers, they’re so short!’ That’s when he realises that something is on, and something is wrong. Actually, what has happened after that is, because of this banter and lighter moment, he gets back to being normal and bowls a brilliant spell.
“But he had to come off the field after the first over, he changed his trousers, he asked me, ‘What the hell is happening, kisne kia [who did it]’ and all that. I said I have no clue. I innocently put my hands up and said, ‘I don’t know, Sri, what you’re talking about. I don’t know what’s happening!’ And [he] eventually changed his trousers, went back in, and he bowled a brilliant spell.”
Srinath took one wicket and gave 41 runs in the 9 overs that he bowled, thus ending up with the second best economy rate in the attack in that match behind Harbhajan Singh. India however went on to lose the match by 16 runs.