Vijay Santhanam and Shyam Balasubramaniam’s book “If Cricket is a religion, Sachin is God” basically summarised in a title, the general feeling of towards the Master Blaster.
“When Sachin Tendulkar to Pakistan to face one of the finest bowling attacks ever assembled in cricket, Michael Schumacher was yet to race a F1 car, Lance Armstrong had never been to the Tour de France, Diego Maradona was still the captain of a world champion Argentina team, Pete Sampras had never won a Grand Slam. When Tendulkar embarked on a glorious career taming Imran and company, Roger Federer was a name unheard of; Lionel Messi was in his nappies, Usain Bolt was an unknown kid in the Jamaican backwaters. The Berlin Wall was still intact, USSR was one big, big country and Dr Manmohan Singh was yet to “open” the Nehruvian economy. It seems while Time was having his toll on every individual on the face of this planet, he excused one man. Time stands frozen in front of Sachin Tendulkar. We have had champions, we have had legends, but we will never have another Sachin Tendulkar.
– Time magazine on Sachin Tendulkar in 2011
Sachin Tandulkar was born on 24th April 1973 to reputed Marathi novelist Ramesh Tendulkar and his wife Rajni. As a child, Sachin was considered a bully and who had a habit of picking fights with new children in his school. To curb this behaviour, Ramesh Tendulkar introduced Sachin to the famous cricket coach and club cricketer, Ramakant Achrekar. This 1984 meeting turned out to be a pivotal moment in the life of the greatest batsman the world has ever seen. Since this meeting, the sky was the limit for Sachin Tendulkar. Putting himself through the rigours of training early on in his formative years, Sachin began his ascent towards being a world class cricketer. He was considered a child prodigy in his school days and went on to make his mark in club cricket as well, initially playing for John Bright Cricket Club and then later turning out for Cricket Club of India.
At the age of 16 years 223 days Sachin made his Test debut against Pakistan in Karachi in November 1989 and despite scoring 15 runs, was noted for the way he handled the shots to his body from the fiery Pakistani pace attack. At 17 years 107 days, he scored his first test century, against England at Old Trafford. At that time he was the second youngest to hit a century after Pakistan’s Mushtaq Mohammad.
Some of his most memorable knocks include his 114 against Australia in Perth (1992) at the age of 18 and his 165 against England in Chennai in 1993. Testament to his consistency, Sachin was the highest run scorer in the 1996 and 2003 World Cups, and made stellar contributions to the team at the 2011 World Cup.
His illustrious career has seen him break numerous records and set higher standards for future generations of cricketers to live up to. He is the 16th batsman to score more than 50,000 runs, notching up 50,024 runs in First Class, List A and Twenty20 matches put together. He most memorably became the first batsman to score more than 200 runs in an ODI match and has scored 100 centuries, 29 more than the next batsman on the list.
His announcement to retire from test cricket triggered a flood of tweets and an outpour of tributes on social networking sites Twitter and Facebook respectively. Some of the celebrities who tweeted
Javed Miandad: “I think Tendulkar has been the ideal role model in Indian cricket and that is why we are now seeing a new generation of quality batsmen from India.”
Ian Bishop: “The sight of the straight lines of the bat on its downswing; the power of the backfoot punch; thanks for the memories, Sachin. Glad you came.”
Kevin Pietersen:”Sachin #10dulkar – Undisputed Champion of Cricket!”
V.V.S Laxman: “A special gem not just for India, but world cricket too. He made every young player in the team comfortable”
In a career spanning across twenty four years, short of defecting to England or Australia in order to add The Ashes to his trophy cabinet, Sachin Tendulkar has achieved nearly everything that cricket had to offer him.
In his retirement, not only is one of the finest chapters of Indian cricket brought to a close, but an era or cricket comes to an end. A whole different class of class.
A league of his own. Sachin Tendulkar is a member of a club that includes a very limited number of exceptionally talented athletes who have defied the physics of age and pushed boundaries beyond the reach of normal human capability. Leander Paes, Ryan Giggs. Even in the T20 format, or “the young man’s game” as it was called, it was Sachin Tendulkar setting the pace of the game for both country and club. Defying all odds, from battling fitness issues to silencing critics about his form, Sachin Tendulkar rose to prove his class and to show what separates him from the rest of the field.
He is and arguably will remain the greatest batsman that this or any other world has and will ever see.
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