"Commit all your crimes when Sachin is batting. They will go unnoticed for even the Lord is busy watching him": A placard at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
A sportsman who redefined the sport- Cricket. A player who made time stand still. An icon that inspired millions. A batsman who made the fiercest of bowlers rethink before pacing up. A gentleman respected by all, an abiding legend of the game and for an entire nation, a God.
With the Master, the Rise is Faster: Virender Sehwag's special wish to Sachin Tendulkar on 46th birthday
On April 24, we celebrate the birthday of India's Master Blaster, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. A giant of the game who stood at 5 feet 5 inches, took the cricketing world by storm with a certain finesse that left millions awestruck. A man of a few words that only let his bat talk and for every cricketer that has played with and against him knew Tendulkar can walk the talk.
Here's a recap of the events that led the making of a legend:
Tendulkar made his debut on November 15, 1989, at a raw age of 16 years and 205 days that too against Pakistan, a young lad walked up to face a fierce attacking unit that were mercilessly dangerous. He scored 15 runs in his first innings before being bowled by Waqar Younis. But what was noted in that innings, was that he hung on, defended his way and handled numerous blows to the body. That was what prompted the team management to send the youngster forward.
The Maiden Ton
Under the captaincy of Mohammad Azharuddin, India faced England at Old Trafford, Manchester in 1990. Giving the visitors a tough time, a young lad stood up. At the age of 17, Tendulkar scored his maiden Test century and it was no ordinary one, it was a match-saving unbeaten 119. His knock helped India save the match and became the third youngest player to score a Test ton at the age of 17 years and 112 days.
The young prodigy smashed his maiden Test century on Indian soil at the age of 20, which was studded with 24 fours and a six against England in Chennai. He went on to post 165 and helped India beat the Englishmen by an innings and 22 runs.
A special Birthday
India face Australia in the finals of the Coca Cola Cup at Sharjah in 1998. Sachin Tendulkar walks up and brings in a storm and smashes a century, on his birthday, a gift to the nation and himself that no Indian can ever forget. Before the finals clash, Tendulkar had also knocked a ton which helped India reach the summit clash. He scored 134, a second consecutive ton help India win the cup and beat Australia by 6 wickets.
The Scripting of a Legend
1999 was a tough year for Sachin Tendulkar. He experienced plenty of back problems but still gave every inch of his playing for India. Being a part of the World Cup squad, India were blanked by South Africa in the first game and on the eve of the clash against Zimbabwe, Sachin heard the news of his father's demise. He immediately flew back for his father's funeral. Sachin's father Ramesh Tendulkar an eminent Marathi writer.
“Sachin is in a state of shock, he was very close to his father. His death was unexpected although he had been ill earlier but had recovered. Sachin flew home this morning but we hope to get him back to play against Kenya on Sunday or, in the worst case, next Wednesday against Sri Lanka,” Brijesh Patel, India’s manager for the tournament, told BBC.
Sachin returned and was India's saviour. He smashed a winning unbeaten 140 off 110 balls against Kenya, helping the Men in Blue post 329/2 in 50 overs. India went on to win the game by 94 runs. A defining moment in his career, Sachin dedicated his knock to his father.
“Though I managed to score a hundred in the match against Kenya — which remains one of my most cherished centuries, one I dedicated to my father — my mind was not always on the game,” Sachin wrote in his book.
The First Double Ton
Tendulkar scripted history in 2010 as he became the first batsman to hit a double century in One Day Internationals. The Master Blaster achieved the feat against South Africa. 200 runs, 147 balls, 25 fours and 3 sixes, a strike rate of 136.0 and unbeaten, the Master Blaster's double ton powered India to post a mammoth total of 401/3 in 50 overs. In the same innings, Dinesh Karthik played a gritty 79, followed by then captain MS Dhoni's unbeaten 68.
Sachin Tendulkar etched his name in the record books by achieving the unthinkable. While playing against Bangladesh in Mirpur, the Master Blaster hammered his 100th international century. He raised his bat and helmet in the air, looked up to the sky as the fans and players in the Shere Bangla national stadium in Dhaka applauded the legend. A moment which truly defined the class the Master Blaster possessed.
The Master Blaster had done it all. Records which will remain immortal and a presence which will remain eternal. On the day it all began, Sachin Tendulkar bid adieu. The 'God' of cricket, played his final game against West Indies on November 15, 2013. While he took a round in Wankhede, thousands echoes 'Sachin.....Sachin....'.
Tendulkar ended with 34,357 runs from 664 games, including 100 hundreds as well. Tendulkar's tally of 15921 Test runs remains the most in Test cricket and so does his total of 18426 runs in ODIs.
He is also the only player to have played 200 Test matches as well as the first batsman ever to score a double century in ODI cricket.
A career which changed lives, a presence which diversified the game and an aura which will linger forever in every Indian heart.
"The lessons to be learnt from success and failure are equally important. More often than not, failure and sorrow are bigger teachers than success and happiness,” A quote from the Master Blaster in his autobiography - Playing it my way.
Happy Birthday, Sachin!