Sachin Tendulkar Turns 50: More than a decade after retirement, the Little Master still rules the hearts of cricket fans
It is hard to imagine that Sachin Tendulkar has turned 50 today. That’s because more Indians (and cricket lovers around the world) still remember him as a young teenage boy with the ‘Power’ logo on his bat, hurling red cherries at over 140 mph. displayed with sheer disdain for the bowler. Chants of ‘Sachin, Sachin’ still ring in your ears as if any moment he will once again lift the willow and send bowlers and fielders running for cover.
It’s been almost a decade since Tendulkar took his final bow in international cricket after an illustrious career spanning over 24 years, which included over 34,000 runs (34,357 to be exact) and an unprecedented 100 international hundreds. But Tendulkar’s influence on Indian cricket goes beyond staggering numbers – he is cricket’s first ‘demi-god’.
For nearly 20 years, Sachin carried the Indian team on his shoulders, the fortunes of the team fluctuating with Sachin’s form and fitness. At a time when the world was slowly getting used to the concept of ‘Google’ and the ‘world wide web’, fans first discovered ‘what is tennis elbow?’ in the early 2000s.
‘Desert Storm’ of 1998, ‘Chennai heartbreak’, tears for his father at 1999 World Cup, from 2003 World Cup heroics to ‘Little Maestro’ carrying shoulders of his teammates after 2011 World Cup triumph Unfurled – We all have lived the cricketing journey of Sachin Tendulkar. “Son, life is like a book. It has many chapters. There are many lessons in this. More often than not, failure and misery are a bigger team than success and happiness,” – these are the first lines of Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography – ‘Playing It My Way’.
There is always success behind Sachin Tendulkar’s failures:
The words of Sachin Tendulkar’s father always rings true in his career. His first stint as captain of the Indian cricket team ended in complete disaster, but it was followed by some of the most spectacular batting the ‘Mumbai Maestro’ has ever seen. Tendulkar described this period as his ‘honeymoon of four months’ in his book. It began with the fall of another legend, the late Shane Warne, in a three-match Test series against the Australians in 1998.
Tendulkar made a big statement ahead of the series, turning out for Mumbai and scoring his maiden first-class double century against an Australian attack featuring Warne and that too off just 192 balls.
The series was followed by the Coca-Cola Cup in Sharjah in 1998, and it was in this tournament that Tendulkar scored two of his biggest hundreds in ODI cricket against the mighty Australians. The second ton of them culminated on his 25th birthday. “The post-match presentation was really special. Steve Waugh said he had lost to me, which was quite a lot coming from the Australian that day which also happened to be my twenty-fifth birthday,” Tendulkar recalls in his autobiography.