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Sachin Tendulkar birthday special: Before Dhoni became 'Thala', Tendulkar ruled the hearts in Chennai

MS Dhoni is undoubtedly the most loved cricketer in Chennai. However, before Dhoni made Chepauk his den, Tendulkar ruled the hearts in the city.

Rishabh Gupta Rishabh Gupta
New Delhi Updated on: April 24, 2020 17:23 IST
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Happy Birthday Sachin: Sachin Tendulkar shares a lovely post on her father’s 47th birthday, Before Dhoni became 'Thala', Tendulkar ruled the hearts in Chennai, MS Dhoni is undoubtedly the most loved cricketer in Chennai. However, before Dhoni made Chepauk his den, Tendulkar ruled the hearts in the city.

Indian great Sachin Tendulkar turned 47 on Friday, and wishes poured in from all parts of the world for the batting maestro. Tendulkar, widely known as the 'Master Blaster', holds the record for most runs in Tests and ODIs, in addition to the most number of centuries in both the formats. Even as he bid adieu to the game seven years ago, the record stands firm.

Tendulkar gave Indians many memories to cherish for a lifetime. He was and remains to this day, synonymous with cricket for most people in the country. Justifiably, he is affectionately called the 'God of Cricket' - a nickname even his contemporaries have used for him.

Tendulkar is one of the few batsmen who have performed impressively everywhere around the world. In the subcontinent, he was a run-machine. Overseas, too, he was a bowler's nightmare. In fact, his Test batting average in overseas matches (54.74) is more than his overall average (53.78).

However, some of his most memorable outings came at the MA Chidambaram Stadium in Chennai. There are a few who have conquered a ground as brilliantly as Tendulkar did at Chepauk. And so, it is safe to say that before MS Dhoni made the Chepauk his den with his exploits at Chennai Super Kings, Tendulkar ruled in the hearts of people in the city.

It almost seemed Tendulkar was destined to conquer Chennai, for his very first international innings at the MA Chidambaram stadium was a century against England. At the age of 19, Tendulkar dominated the English attack to score 165 -- not only ending as the side's highest run-getter, but also aiding India to an innings victory.

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Happy Birthday Sachin: The crowd at Chennai during the 2001 Test against Australia.

Among one of the most memorable innings in his career was 136 against Pakistan in the Chennai Test in 1999. It was bittersweet, however.

While Tendulkar stuck at one end to score a century, none among the Indian batting greats like VVS Laxman, Rahul Dravid, Mohammad Azharuddin and Sourav Ganguly could cross the double-figure mark. Tendulkar was dismissed with India needing merely 17 runs to win. It didn't seem a big task -- but the side collapsed as Pakistan secured a 12-run victory. Tendulkar was so heartbroken with the loss that he couldn't come to collect his Man of the Match award in the post-match presentation.

Stadium Matches (min.10) Runs Batting Avg. Hundreds
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai 10 970 88.18 5
Eden Gardens, Kolkata 13 872 45.89 2
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai 11 921 48.47 1
PCA Stadium, Mohali 11 767 47.93 2
Arun Jaitley Stadium, Delhi 10 759 42.16 1

Two years later, however, his century in Chennai came in a winning cause - and this wasn't an ordinary win. India took on the Australians in a three-match series and the game at Chennai was the decider. Having ended Australia's unbeaten run in the previous Test in Kolkata, the spirits were high in the Indian camp, and Tendulkar rose to the occasion to score 126 in the first innings. The match, however, is best remembered for Harbhajan Singh's 8-wicket haul, which aided India to a stunning victory -- eventually winning the series 2-1.

In 2008, the nation faced a tragedy in November as Mumbai -- Sachin's home city -- faced a deadly terror attack which claimed the lives of 166 civilians. In December, the match between India and England was the first the side took part in after the attack. Emotions ran high -- and Tendulkar took it upon himself to wipe the tears with a brilliant century, steering India to a six-wicket victory. The batsmen dedicated the century to those who lost their loved ones in the attack. The BCCI on Thursday revisited the knock as well.

Watch:

It was almost as if Sachin kept his best for Chennai -- he felt at home, he knew the pitch like the back of his hand. The crowd at Chennai worshipped him -- the posters during the matches in the early 2000s were filled with quotes for Sachin Tendulkar.

Tendulkar played 10 Tests at MA Chidambaram Stadium, scoring 970 runs at a brilliant average of 88.18. In fact, this is the highest average for Tendulkar in India (min. appearances at a stadium - 10).

Overall, in 16 matches and 22 innings, Tendulkar scored 1,160 runs at the Chepauk at an average of 72.50 -- the second-highest for the batsman in India (min. appearances at a stadium - 10).

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