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Saturday, March 17, 2012

Sachin century of 100 -A little player of Giant Character

A personal note: I was lucky to have watched cricket in Tendulkar’s era >
My love affair with cricket started in late 80s when Imran Khan used to be a household name. I bought my first cricket magazine Akhbar-e-Watan in 1986 because it had Imran Khan on the cover page. In that scenario, a youngster named Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, took the cricket field and was tipped as the next big thing by none other than Sunil Gavaskar. I did not believe him.
India toured Pakistan in 1989 for a full tour. The Test series was a dull and boring affair but a little unknown kid forced every one to take notice of him. He did not sparkle with the bat at all, either in Tests or in ODIs. It was his four sixes in one over of Abdul Qadir at Peshawar in a 20-over exhibition match that announced his arrival. I watched that in amazement. At tender age of 16 years his hitting was unbelievable. His confidence was incredible.
Since Miandad’s famous Sharjah six, Pakistan had had a psychological edge over India who were merely pushovers against us. With the arrival of Tendulkar, that equation gradually changed. I still remember while playing against India, Pakistan used to have only one concern – Sachin Tendulkar. Only he was the man, we the cricket fanatics used to be wary of. His departure from the crease virtually meant Pakistan would win.
I became envious of Tendulkar’s rise because he posed constant threat against us. Inside I admired his batting, but in the open I used to find hundred reasons to believe he was not the best batsman in the world at that time. Essentially I was right as I believed, and still believe that there is no match to Viv Richards. Arrival of Brian Lara gave me immense relief. Lara was the best batsman in the world for me. It was final.
In the college, we used to conclude our discussions on best batsmen with the announcement that Brian Charles Lara was the best because of his flamboyance and unselfishness. We happily ignored Tendulkar’s contribution towards his team and the burden of expectations on his shoulders. In reality, Tendulkar continued to rise, continued to break records after records. He was ambitious for personal milestones, not for his team, we used to slam him.
Lara faded away, Ponting never reached that summit, Kallis lacked charisma, Inzamam under-achieved and Dravid had a lesser impact in ODIs, but Tendulkar carried on in a mind-boggling fashion. Just when every one thought he had finished, he took a new guard and scripted new milestones. He made us believe he was untiring like a superman. Nothing could quench his thirst for runs.
Whether he is better than Don Bradman or second best after him, I do not know, but he is a genius and a superstar who gave new meanings to the art of batting. Many years from now his achievements would look like a fairy tale and every thing regarding batting would be judged in the light of the standard Tendulkar has set.
He reached 99 international hundreds and took infinity to reach the ultimate milestone. Voices were raised again that he should retire on 99 not out. Now after scoring his hundredth international hundred, no one knows what is going on in his mind. Many would ask him to retire on a high, but his fans especially Indians who follow him frantically cannot think about cricket without him. In this dilemma, every thing rests on the shoulders of the man himself.  Let us leave him alone.
Just imagine how poor the cricketing world would be whenever he calls it quits. Have you felt shivers down your spine? If yes then you are a Sachin Tendulkar fan like me.