Ever since his arrival at the international arena back in 1989 against Pakistan, Indian batting maestro Sachin Tendulkar has never looked back and his stature has grown by every passing day. It has been more than two decades now that Tendulkar has been playing cricket and his hunger to perform never seems to end. The consistency that has been exhibited by over the years is spellbound and he has enjoyed immense success.
Little Master’s glorious run over the years made many great cricketers heap lavish praise on him and latest to join the bandwagon is the Australian great Dennis Lillee. Lillee said over the years he has seen him bat with authority and his batting has mesmerized the Australian legend.
It is true that he plays a game which is played in only 10-12 countries, but his achievements in cricket is insurmountable. This individual has been carrying on the hopes of millions of passionate fans for more than two decades and has been an inspiration for his admirers in every sense. For a player who has achieved unimaginable heights, he is still humble. He still sweats it out on the nets during the practice sessions so that he does not let his team down when required.
It is indeed a matter of great honour for the little to be praised by Lillee, who himself has achieved so much and by all means his comments stands justified.
He has almost all batting records staked up against his name. He is the highest run scorer in both Test and ODI. In 188 Tests he has scored 15,470 runs which includes 51 centuries whereas in the shorter format he has played 462 matches and scored 18,374 including 49 centuries. He has 100 international tons to his name, something which can very well remain unmatched in years to come. He scored the first double century in ODI and has centuries against all Test playing countries of the World. It is agreed that there are only 10-12 countries playing the game, but then to maintain domination over these many countries does require some skills.
People criticize Tendulkar, saying that whenever Sachin scores a century India end up on the losing side but then just to bring to the notice out of the 51Test hundreds that he has scored, India has lost only in 11 while out of the 49 ODI hundreds that the Little Master scored, India has lost only on 13 occasions.
People might say that what does one expect when a person plays for so long? But then does it not require dedication and hunger to keep performing at the highest level for so long. It does and that is something which has helped this man become a champion.
He has immense determination and for a cricketer to suffer from tennis elbow and return to the game is very difficult. But Sachin overcame all that for the sake of the game and country and offered his services to the nation.
His determination is unparalleled and the way he scored his double century against Australia in 2004 was simply awesome. Throughout the whole series he failed and was getting out trying to play cover drive but then in the 4th Test in Sydney he avoided that shot and went to score 200 without playing his signature cover drive. It was only after 200 that he played one of those. If that kind of determination and grit does not make him the greatest than what does.
Sachin has played against some of the greatest bowlers of all time like Wasim Akram, Courtney Walsh, Ambrose, Waquar Younis, Shane Warne, Muttiah Muralidharan, Shoaib Akhthar, Glen McGrath, Dale Steyn amongst others and he has dominated all of them.
While many regards Sir Don Bradman as the best batsman, but the Don used to play only in Test, but Sachin plays all the formats which obviously require more. And Bradman himself said that Sachin plays much in same way he used to play. Brain Lara also come into comparison with him, but Lara shrugged off the comparison saying that Sachin is god and he is just a mere mortal.
Sachin has often faced accusations that he isn’t a big match player. Surprisingly there are people who believe that. Maybe those critics have not seen him playing in Sharjah or in the VB series in Australia or his innings against England right after the terror attack on Mumbai or even the World Cup that India won. Yes, in all those matches Sachin made match-winning contributions. He did fail in the World Cup final, but isn’t taking the team there enough for his detractors?
Critics claim that he plays for records. But have those records helped only the individual. Haven’t those records made by this batting genius accrued to his team’s cause? He is a genius and there is no question on his credibility. He loves playing for his nation and he loves scoring runs for them.
Sachin has been criticized, loved, honoured but nothing takes away that smile off his face. The intensity and pride that he has on his face when he dons Indian colours is unquestionable.
By Samikshan Dutta Choudhury
Indian Sports News Network