Last week Sachin Tendulkar firmly cemented his place in the history books.
Last week Sachin Tendulkar firmly cemented his place in the history books. The 38-year-old Indian batsman recorded his 100th century in International cricket, a feat never before managed in cricketing history. Competing in the Asia Cup, India took on Bangladesh in Dhaka. With India batting first, “The Little Master” took his place at the crease alongside opening partner Gautam Gambhir. Despite losing Gambhir early, Tendulkar forged a solid partnership with Virat Kohli.
With the pressure of one billion Indians on his shoulders, Tendulkar showed his class to score his 49th One Day International century. The opener could only add another 14 runs after the milestone, as Bangladesh paceman Mortaza found the edge of his bat. Sachin’s 114 runs came from 167 balls and included 12 fours and one six. He said as he left the field: “I was not thinking about the milestone. It hasn’t sunk in.” Despite India eventually losing the game, the only talking point will be the immovable object that is Sachin Tendulkar.
Tendulkar has been a prolific performer for India throughout his career. Making his test match debut in 1989 against Pakistan at the age of 16, the young right-handed batsman showed the potential as a future star of the game. Tendulkar showed resilience after being hit in the face from Pakistan quick Waqar Younis. He went on to make just 15. However, this innings was a statement of intent for the future. Just a year later, he made the first of his 100 centuries to save India from certain defeat against England at Old Trafford. By this time, the teenage sensation had really marked his arrival on the world stage.
The Little Master
The continued success of the 5 ft 5in batsman (hence the name ‘little master’) rose him to hero status not just in India, but around the world. He had success all around the world for India and in the domestic game for Mumbai and Yorkshire to name but a few. Tendulkar found himself scoring his 50th international century in 2000, despite two relatively unsuccessful terms as India captain.
Despite going 17 innings between 2005 and 2007 without recording a century, Tendulkar returned to blistering form, racking up yet more test match runs. He surpassed Brian Lara’s runs tally to become the top run scorer in Test cricket. With a career batting average of 49 in 650 matches, coupled with his 100 centuries, have undoubtedly become one of the greatest players ever to grace a cricket pitch.
With his infinite success, Tendulkar has become a household name worldwide. He is a true inspiration to young cricketers worldwide. Legendary India all-rounder Kapil Dev said: “Every kid wants to become Sachin Tendulkar.”
It isn’t just his on-field success that has made Tendulkar a great role model for young cricket fans. His love for the game, not just the perks of it shows a great mentality that is often missed by professional sportsman of this day and age. He said: “It has never been about owning this or that car and the other things that come with this life. An obsession with money or worldly matters was always thumbed down. My only dream was to wear the Indian cap and the Indian colours.” Maybe if English footballers showed this patriotism and commitment they could revel in success similar to that of Tendulkar.
The Greatest Cricketer of all Time
Reaching this landmark has got the cricket world questioning… “Is Sachin Tendulkar the greatest cricketer of all time?”
There has been a debate over time about whether Tendulkar is better than West Indian batsman Brian Lara. Despite Lara’s impressive career, it is difficult to put him ahead of Tendulkar. Lara himself described himself as “a mere mortal” in comparison to the Indian stroke maker. This statement says it all. If the one man who is constantly compared to Tendulkar describes him as a God, surely he is the greatest player of all time.
You would have to trek through the history books to find records of anyone who is even nearly comparable. English hero W.G Grace and Australian opener Sir Donald Bradman are two names that spring to mind. But is it fair to compare the 99 run average of Bradman to that of Tendulkar, seeing as the sport has evolved and changed so much?
Sachin Tendulkar is undeniably the most prolific batsman of the modern age and reaching his landmark 100th century today is yet more proof of that. Whether he is the greatest player to grace a cricket field, that is arguable. One thing that can’t be argued is that his records are unbelievable, will stand for years and may never be broken.