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Sachin Tendulkar – The Little Master

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Everyone saw the blood-soaked shirt of a 16-year old Sachin. Everyone witnessed the bouncer that Waqar Younis bowled to disfigure his composed face in their debut Test series and then everyone observed the calmness that this great batsman possessed.
He did not take a fall after the hit, and stood tall with his diminutive height. He seemed tailored for the immeasurable greatness that will come his way, and displayed a glimpse of a cricketing deity that resided in him.
Former Indian fast-bowler Salil Ankola went on to the pitch with the physiotherapist and recalls the moment, “He had the eye of the tiger with fire in his eyes. He put some water on his face and said I am fine.” And on the very next ball, he struck Waqar for a boundary which the pacer later recalled as, “To my surprise, he did not fall. He stood by, shook his head, and was ready to play the next ball.”
The blow, according to cricket pundits, proved to be a kick-start to the great Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar’s era: the man who gave cricket the stature of a religion and made the followers in his home country India worship his divine greatness. He was, without a doubt, the most complete batsman of his time, while his near-perfect stroke-making skills made him the most prolific run-scorer of his period and the greatest icon that the game might ever see.
Even Sir Donald Bradman, considered the greatest batsman of all time, compared Tendulkar’s style to his own. In his biography it is stated, “Bradman was most taken by Tendulkar’s technique, compactness and shot production, and had asked his wife to have a look at Tendulkar, having felt that Tendulkar played like him. Bradman’s wife, Jessie, agreed that they did appear similar.”
This was the grandeur of a batsman who defied any generalisation. He could completely demolish the opposition with his stroke-play, while he could also anchor himself on the crease to resist the venom of the best of bowlers.
At a particular time, given his fitness and mental state, he could come up with a precisely hit unorthodox shot, which some might think is a part of his game. But then it would be written out of his books for a long time, and when the time is right he would reproduce it with the same precision, possibly even better than before to boast his skilful mastery with the bat.
Tendulkar, in his 24-year career, made and broke a number of records. He is the only player to score centuries while making his debut in the domestic Ranji Trophy, Duleep Trophy and Irani Trophy. He holds the record for scoring a century of centuries in International cricket, 51 in Tests and 49 in ODIs. In 1998, he made 1,894 ODI runs, a record for most by any batsman in a calendar year. He also holds the record for most runs in ODIs and Tests — 18,426 and 15,921 respectively. He is the leading run-scorer in World Cups with 2,278 runs in 45 matches from 1992-2011. He also holds the record for the most runs in a single World Cup with 673 runs in 11 innings, with six half-centuries and one ton. And if all these records were not enough, he went on to become the first batsman to score a double-century in an ODI when he pounded South Africa at the Centurion in February 2010, scoring an unbeaten 200.
Tendulkar’s genius can also be seen in the things he does even when he isn’t holding a bat. He was an immaculate bowler who could bowl right-arm off-break deliveries to left-handers, while he also had a surprise leg-break googly in his armoury which even most of the wrist-spinners cannot achieve.
He has accounted for 154 batsmen in 463 outings with a very stable economy rate of 5.10. Although he was not considered as a mainstream bowler, his ability to break partnerships was greatly utilised by his skippers. Surprisingly, the part-time bowler has twice taken a five-wicket haul in ODIs.
His love for the game of cricket was immeasurable. For him it wasn’t a sport or a passion that he possessed, it was family. He described it in the following words, “When I cross the boundary line, it’s not cricket, it’s family. And when I think about cricket, it’s only cricket. Once you learn to manage your time, it helps. When I’m focusing on cricket, I don’t want anyone around. I just want time for myself to know more about the game.”
Off the field, Tendulkar is a champion snake player in mobile phones, according to Harbhajan Singh, a veteran Indian off-spinner. He plays table tennis with much ambidexterity and drives a car nearly as fast as the Formula One drivers. He is a humble man who, like his cricketing career, has always strived for equilibrium in his life. Having never been a victim or cause of all the controversies that big superstars of cricket face, Tendulkar always resided in his own mind palace where he just had one aim — to attain excellence in whatever he does. And there is no one in the world who can say he did not achieve it.
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A Sachin follower, is my brainchild, Meeting Sachin is something I always look forward to

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