India No:1 Test side, faced the no:2 side, South Africa in the first of the 3 test series at Centurion. As one can expect from a touring Indian side, India was bowled out for 136 runs in first innings. It was South Africa’s show all the way until the 4th day, when Little Master arrived at the crease. The Maestro was one short of, what could be yet another record, 50 centuries in Test Matches. The game was all but over for the South African team, but it was him, who stood in between them and their well deserved victory
He capitalized on the solid start provided by the Indian openers and went on to score his 50th Century. This fact that this one is accomplished in his 21st year in the international arena makes it more special. 21 Years of cricket, with billions of people pining hopes on him day in and day out, this indeed is a long and grueling journey for Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. The man who made it to the international stage at tender age of 16, is still the man to bank on, in the moment of crisis.
As Aamir Khan says about machines in movie “3 idiots”, this run making machine from India has been reducing the human efforts, of other team members, which is required for team’s victory. He has been the flag bearer for Indian team for more than 2 decades now. One is made to wonder, whether this is his 21st year in international arena or 21st year on earth. He still holds on to his youthful exuberance, which makes him a class apart from his peers.
He started when some of his current team mates, were in cradle. But he is there still guiding and giving a fight for their places in the team. Sanjay Manjerkar has said that time has frozen, in front of Sachin, which is true. This year in particular, had been a great one, with him scoring close to 1600 runs in test matches. “Old Is Gold” – this saying, one suppose is meant for sachin. He seems to be enjoying the game to the core and is making games more worth watching.
He still has the long-standing affair, with the game he loves the most, were as most contemporary players are more than satisfied with a one night stand with the game. This could be proven from the fact that Gary Kristen once noted that Sachin has one of the best work ethic, even during nets. For a great player like him taking nets would not be a mandate. But the very point that he takes nets seriously, says a lot about his greatness and his love for the game.
Greatness, as they say, can never be easily achieved. Many players become great in quick time, that they become so infamous even more so quickly. They find it hard to sustain the greatness. One well-known example could be Kambli. When he started his career, he had his average close to 116 in early days, and in fact had scored a double century, long before his friend Sachin scored one. But Kambli lost his way and could never get into the Indian team later, were as Sachin is still an integral part of the team.
To conclude, Richard Branson had said that if only he gets into any new venture to make money, he would not have succeeded. The fun part involved in any venture makes Branson embrace it. Similarly had Sachin played matches only to make records, he would not have lasted so long. The love for the game and the fun involved are the crucial factors, responsible for his success and longevity in the game.
Sachin, would definitely go down in history as one of the great batsmen to have played the game. The icing on his career would be a world cup victory, which I guess is around the corner for sure. “If Cricket is the Religion, then Sachin is God” – is a perfect tribute for this Demi-God from Mumbai.