Sachin Tendulkar - A Tribute to The God of Cricket on His 44th Birthday
Lucknow: April 24 holds a lot of significance in the history of our great country India, as exactly 44 years ago on this date (April 24, 1973), a cricketing legend named Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar was born in a Maharashtrian family.
He not only went on to break but set many such records that even after almost four years of his retirement look impossible to achieve.
Being the youngest among the four kids in the family, the little Tendulkar got a lot of support from his siblings who made every effort to promote his Cricket career. The Golden day finally arrived when at a small age of just 16 years and 205 days, the five-feet-five-inch tall Little Master marked his international debut against Pakistan on November 15, 1989, becoming the youngest ever Indian to represent the national side.
It was not the kind of start the small kid was willing to have in the International Cricket as he could only score 15 runs in the inning that he got to bat, but as we say it, ‘it was just the beginning of a legend in making’.
In the final Test of the same series, Sachin Tendulkar was hit on the nose by a bouncer from Waqar Younis, who also made his debut in the series. To everyone's surprise, the Little boy refused medical assistance and continued to play despite bleeding from his nose. The intent was clear - I am here to play and not to quit.
In a 20-over exhibition game in Peshawar, held in parallel with the bilateral series, Tendulkar made 53 runs off 18 balls, including an over bowled by Pakistan spin great Abdul Qadir, in which he scored 27 runs (6, 4, 0, 6, 6, 6). This was the time when people used to consider ran a ball half-century a brilliant inning.
Days kept passing and Sachin Tendulkar kept evolving with each and every match he played. He made his One Day International debut also against Pakistan on December 18, 1989 and went for a duck.
Later in 1990, Sachin Tendulkar became the second youngest cricketer ever to score a Test century which he scored at Old Trafford in Manchester against England. His century helped India escape from a certain defeat.
Wisden, the most reputed sports magazine across the world, described his innings as "a disciplined display of immense maturity" and also wrote:
"He looked the embodiment of India's famous opener, Gavaskar, and indeed was wearing a pair of his pads. While he displayed a full repertoire of strokes in compiling his maiden Test hundred, most remarkable were his off-side shots from the back foot. Though only 5ft 5in tall, he was still able to control without difficulty short deliveries from the English pacemen."
During India's tour of Australia in 1991-92, Sachin scored a brilliant unbeaten 148 ay Sydney, becoming the youngest ever batsman to score a century down under. Then came the masterpiece of the Little Master, when he scored 114 runs at Perth, considered the fastest and most bouncy pitch across the world. He successfully tackled the bowlers of the likes of Merv Hughes, Bruce Reid and Craig McDermott.
The inning made his a superstar of the cricketing world as people wondered who a so small kid could bat with such efficiency and discipline at the fastest wicket of the world.
He, however, was on the peak of his career during 1994-99, when he took on every world class bowler and scored centuries in both formats of the game (Tests and ODIs). On the festival of Holi in 1994, Sachin Tendulkar was told to open the innings for India in Auckland, where he scored a rapid fire 82 off just 49 deliveries. The inning established him as the perfect choice for the opening slot in limited over Cricket.
Soon he became the most reliable batsman in the entire Indian batting line-up which was studded with the greats like Kris Srikkanth, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Mohammed Azharuddin, Kapil Dev and a few others. His batting prowess and sweet smile won him millions of fans not only in India but in every country he ever visited to play Cricket.
Interestingly, Sachin scored his first ODI hundred after playing 78 matches. He, however, never looked back after this inning and went on to score 49 ODI hundreds during his 23 year long career, in which he played 463 matches and scored 18,426 runs. He also scored 51 hundreds in 200 Tests at an average of 53.78. He aggregated a total of 15,921 runs in Test Cricket.
Over the years, as a young batsman, he taught the world the new definition of aggression with the bat and at the same time, he remained so down to earth in his behaviour be it with the seniors or the juniors.
During the years, Sachin Tendulkar also threatened the Australian spin great Shane Warne, when he was also on the peak of his career. He in a first-class match scored an unbeaten 204 and to everyone's surprise, Shane Warne was hit for 111 runs in his 16 overs in that match. After the series, Warne had said that he saw Sachin in his dreams coming down the track and hitting him for sixes over his head.
Sachin Tendulkar finally lived his dream of lifting the coveted World Cup in 2011 when the skipper of then team India, MS Dhoni hit the ball for a six to win the final against Sri Lanka by 6 wickets.
The brilliance of his batting kept growing and he reached the milestone of hitting 100 centuries (49 ODIs, 51 Tests) in international Cricket.
Well, the batting legend, who had turned into 'The God of Cricket', finally quit the 50-over format on March 18, 2012, while he decided to say a final good bye to international Cricket on November 16, 2013. He last played a Twenty20 match October 6, 2013.
On his 44th birth anniversary, newstrack.com wishes Sachin Tendulkar a very happy life ahead!