Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, a cricket phenomenon whose talent captured the hearts of billion Indians and also his fans all over the world, will play his last test match– an unparalleled 200th at Wankhede stadium in his home town Mumbai. His longevity and impeccable record, unblemished despite a spate of scandals and outrage in the game of cricket, will make his brand near-impossible to replace. Many Indians fondly say, “Cricket is our religion and Sachin our God”.
Sachin Tendulkar, an Indian cricketer widely acknowledged as the greatest batsman born at Dadar, Mumbai (born on 24th April 1973). Sachin’s father, Ramesh Tendulkar was a professor of Marathi and his mother Rajni worked in the insurance industry. Tendulkar has three elder siblings: two half-brothers Nitin and Ajit, and a half-sister Savita.
Sachin took up cricket at a very early age. Initially Sachin Tendulkar wanted to be a fast bowler and even undertook trials at the MRF pace foundation, Chennai, but his short height proved to be an obstacle. Changing his school to Shardashram Vidya Mandir and meeting Mr. Ramakant Achrekar (who became his coach) was the turning point of Sachin’s cricket career. Playing for his school, Sachin along with his buddy Vinod Kambli set a world record partnership of 664 runs for the third wicket. There was no looking back after that. Tendulkar selected to represent Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy, India’s premier domestic first-class cricket tournament for the 1st time in 1987.
However, he was not selected for the final eleven in any of the matches. He narrowly missed out playing alongside his idol Gavaskar, who had retired from all forms of cricket after the 1987 Cricket World Cup. A year later, aged just 15, Tendulkar made his debut for Mumbai against Gujarat and scored 100 not out in that match. Then Sachin became the only player to score a century on debut in all three domestic first class competitions- 100 not out in the Ranji Trophy (Mumbai vs. Gujarat at Mumbai 1988-89), 159 in the Duleep Trophy (West Zone vs. East Zone at Guwahati 1990-91) and 103 not out in the Irani Trophy (Rest of India vs. Delhi at Mumbai, 1989-90). This was the beginning of what Sunil Gavaskar called an illustrious cricketing genius.
Blessed with the keenest of cricket minds, Tendulkar set about doing what it took to become one of the best batsmen in the world. His greatness was established earlier. He was only 16 when he made his Test debut against Pakistan. Raj Singh Dungarpur is credited for the selection of Tendulkar for the Indian tour of Pakistan in late 1989. In the fourth and final Test in Sialkot he was hit on the mouth by Waqar Younis but continued to bat, in a blood-soaked shirt.
In a match saving tournament in July-August 1990, he became the second youngest cricketer to score a test century (119 run) in the second test at Old Trafford in Manchester. Wisden described his innings as “as a disciplined display of immense maturity “.
Ups and Downs
Tendulkar’s rise continued when he was the leading run scorer at the1996 World Cup, scoring two centuries. After the World Cup, in the same year against Pakistan at Sharjah, Tendulkar and Navjot Singh Sidhu both made centuries to set a record partnership for the second wicket and India went on to win that match. After that no one can block the cricketing carrier of this “Bombay Bomber”. The little genius, as Sachin is fondly called, has been performing consistently for the country ever since he started playing cricket for India. He had 16 Test hundreds before he turned 25. In 2000 he became the first batsman to have scored 50 international hundreds. In 2002, Wisden Cricketers, Almanack ranked him the second greatest Test batsman of all time, behind Don Bradman, and the second greatest one-day-international (ODI) batsman of all time, behind Viv Richards. In 2008 he passed Brian Lara as the leading Test run-scorer. Tendulkar was a part of the 2011 Cricket World cup winning Indian Team in the later parts of his career, his first such win in six World Cup appearances for India. But every champion has some lean patches, Sachin too had some.
Sachin’s tremendous performances help him to become the captain of Indian cricket team. When Tendulkar took over as captain in 1996, it was with huge hopes and expectations. But sadly this pressure had its impact on Sachin’s batting. However, by 1997 the team was performing poorly.
At present Sachin is the highest run getter (18,426) in the one day form of the game and also the highest run scorer (15,847) in the test match as well. Tendulkar has been honored with the Padma Vibhusan award, India’s second highest civilian award, and the Rajiv Gandhi khel Ratna award, India’s highest sporting honor.
He retired from the Indian Premier League (IPL) in May 2013 and has announced that he will retire from the sport in November 2013 after playing his two-hundredth Test match, against the West Indies in Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium.
Tendulkar, 40, has played more matches, and scored more runs and centuries, than anyone else in either test or one-day cricket, and is the only batsman to compile 100 international hundreds. “Records don’t last forever, but some of Tendulkar’s achievements like 200 Tests and 100 international centuries will be hard to beat” former India captain Kapil Dev said.