Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar – the name that elicits genuine admiration and awe the world over. Today Sachin celebrates his 38th birthday and while there are so many things about Tendulkar that endear him to each and every one of us, here is my list of TEN reasons that put Tendulkar ahead of every other cricketer. So without further ado, here goes:
- Because in 1989, at the tender age of sixteen he tore into a thirty four year old veteran – Abdul Qadir with gusto and made the world take note of his precocious talent.
- Because on witnessing his innings of 114 at the WACA in the fifth test of 1991-1992 series against Australia, the eminent cricket journalist John Woodcock stood up, put out his hands and called for silence. “Gentlemen,” Woodcock declared, “he is the best batsman I have seen in my life.” A pause later: “And unlike most of you, I have seen Bradman.”
- Because he gave a whole new meaning to the ‘desert storm’ that preceded his innings of 143 when he took India to the finals of the Coca Cola cup in Sharjah on the 22nd of April in 1998.
- Because he was available to play for India within a few days of his father’s demise in the 1999 world cup. In his absence, the Men in Blue could not hold off a spirited challenge from the supposed minnows of international cricket – Zimbabwe.
- Because when he blitzed his way to a 75 ball 98 on the 1st of March 2003 in South Africa, in the world cup game against Pakistan, he exorcised the ghosts of Javed Miandad’s last ball six against Chetan Sharma in Sharjah once and for all.
- Because an entire generation of Indians can wax eloquent on ‘tennis elbow’ and other aspects of the human anatomy, given the interest with which we follow Tendulkar’s convalescence every time he is sidelined by injury.
- Because in the two decades that he has played international cricket, there have been only two real controversies (one per decade on an average) about him. First, the allegation made by Mike Denness about Sachin tampering with the cricket ball in the second test of India’s 2001 tour of South Africa. Second, the waiver of the import duty on his Ferrari by the government of India in 2003-2003. The best part is that we still do not have Sachin’s version of both incidents.
- Because three of Australian cricket’s most influential figures of all time – Sir Donald Bradman, Richie Benaud and Shane Keith Warne have all acknowledged Tendulkar’s undisputed genius. This by way of a direct comparison (Bradman), inclusion in an all time eleven (Benaud) and by putting him in the number one spot amongst fifty greatest opponents (Warne).
- Because even after Sachin has scored a total of 29457 runs in tests and one day international matches, thereby amassing 85 centuries and 144 half centuries on the way, ‘phir bhi hum sabka dil maangey more’.
- Because at the precise moment he announces his retirement from the game of cricket, earth will be a poorer place to live.
Thank you Sachin for all the memories! We Love You!!!