Sachin Tendulkar – The Run Machine
His Insatiable appetite for runs makes him the don of world cricket. From the moment he took guard at Gwalior on Feb 24, Sachin Tendulkar cemented his place among the cricketing Gods of world cricket. At 36 & in his 21st year of his cricketing career, Sachin proved that he still has the heart and appetite to weave magic at the highest level and set phenomenal standards for others to follow.
The little master’s unbeaten 200 on that day was not only a world record of maximum runs in a One Day International (ODI), but it was an epic effort of passion, focus, precision, sound technique, elegance & power. The genius delighted the fans with some explosive batting display that included his customary straight drives, splendid cuts, flowing drives, powerful pulls, delicate leg glance and big hits over the boundary.
The little legend scripted his name in stones to finally become the first cricketer in the world to score 200 runs in an ODI. The landmark achievement came after a staggering 2,961 matches and almost 39 years since the first ODI was played – including those that featured 60 overs each, which gave batsmen more scoring opportunities.
On seeing him reach 200, the entire cricketing world is convinced that Sachin Tendulkar is the world’s best batsman. Not just for his extraordinary batting skills, but for his never-say-die spirit and an insatiable hunger for runs.
The way he celebrated when he reached 200 epitomised the man’s persona. There was no punching the air, no aggressive gestures, no running towards the crowd, nothing over-the-top. He was as usually himself, raised both his arms, looked at the sky, closed his eyes for a moment and quietly acknowledged that he is happy to be there.
A soldier is not judged by the weapon he carries or the battlefields he has faced, but the character with which he uses his weapons on the battlefield. Sachin has always been a team player. We cannot think of a better savior of Indian cricket than Sachin. He should not be judged on the basis of his scores, for he was instrumental in motivating countless youngsters to take cricket seriously and was able to generate handful of fiercely motivated young cricketers who will carry the honor of the team for the next two decades.
He remains to be a great ambassador for the sport with the way he has conducted himself. His humility and character make him even more special. Despite his phenomenal achievements, mountains of runs & records, he is extremely composed both on & off the field.
On a closer look, it is not just the passion that keeps him going. He has incorporated several modern and unorthodox strokes to his kitty in recent times, including the paddle sweep, the scoop over short fine leg and the slash to third man over the slip. This has enabled him to remain scoring consistently despite the physical toll of injuries and a lean period in the mid-2000s. By his own admission, he is not batting as aggressively as he did during the 90s and early 2000s, as his body has undergone changes and couldn’t sustain aggressive shot making over a period of time.
Sachin Tendulkar was born in Mumbai into a middle class family. His father, Ramesh Tendulkar, a Marathi novelist named Tendulkar after his favourite music director & family friend, Sachin Dev Burman. Tendulkar’s elder brother Ajit encouraged him to play cricket. Tendulkar has two other siblings; a brother Nitin and sister Savitai.
Tendulkar attended Sharadashram Vidyamandir (High School), where he began his cricketing career under the guidance of his coach and mentor, Ramakant Achrekar. During his school days he attended the MRF Pace Foundation to train as a fast bowler, but Australian fast bowler Dennis Lillee, was unimpressed, suggesting that Tendulkar focus on his batting instead.
When he was young, Tendulkar would practice for hours on end in the nets. If he became exhausted, Achrekar would put a one-Rupee-coin on the top of the stumps, and the bowler who dismissed Tendulkar would get the coin. If Tendulkar passed the whole session without getting dismissed, the coach would give him the coin. Tendulkar now considers the 13 coins he won then as some of his most prized possessions.
While at school, he developed a reputation as a child prodigy. He had become a common conversation point in Mumbai circles, where there were suggestions already that he would become one of the greats. His season in 1988 was extraordinary, with Tendulkar scoring a century in every innings he played. He was involved in an unbroken 664-run partnership in a Lord Harris Shield inter-school game in 1988 with friend and team mate Vinod Kambli, who also went on to represent India. Tendulkar scored 326 in this innings and scored over a thousand runs in the tournament.
When he was 14, Indian batting legend Sunil Gavaskar gave him a pair of his own ultra light pads. “It was the greatest source of encouragement for me,” Sachin said nearly 20 years later after surpassing Gavaskar’s top world record of 34 Test centuries.
In 1995, Sachin Tendulkar married Anjali (born 10 November 1967), a paediatrician and daughter of Gujarati industrialist Anand Mehta. They have two children, Sara (born 12 October 1997), and Arjun (born 24 September 1999).
Tendulkar sponsors 200 underprivileged children every year through Apnalaya, a Mumbai based NGO associated with his mother-in-law, Annaben Mehta. He maintains very low profile about this and reluctant to speak about this, or other charitable activities, choosing to preserve the sanctity of his personal life despite overwhelming media interest to know every aspect of his life.
Tendulkar is a god-fearing man and Lord Ganesha is his favourite God. He is a perfect family man and he has very high regards for his family. He claims that his family remains to be the source of his inspiration. He once uttered that his parents taught him that it is important to live every day of life with grace and honour. He balances both is cricketing and personal life so well and gives equal importance.
During a BBC interview, when he was asked to name his dream girl, he replied “my wife” without hesitation.
Though he is highly committed and extremely consistent, he was not out of controversies & criticism.
During the second test of India’s 2001 tour of South Africa, match referee Mike Denness gave Tendulkar a suspended ban of one game for his alleged ‘ball tampering’. The images picked in the television cameras suggest Tendulkar may have been involved in cleaning the seam of the cricked ball, which looked like amounting to altering the condition of the ball. Mike Denness felt Sachin Tendulkar guilty of ball tampering charges and handed him a one Test match ban. After a thorough investigation, the International Cricket Council revoked the official status of the match and the ban on Tendulkar was lifted. However the incident triggered a massive backlash from the Indian public and even members of the Indian Parliament voiced their protest against the ban.
Tendulkar had some rough patches too. He was highly criticized when he changed his aggressive batting approach to more defensive one. Between 2001 and 2005, Tendulkar was not at his usual best. Tennis elbow took its toll on him, leaving him out of the side for the first two tests when Australia toured India in 2005.
Wisden noted that Tendulkar has not been his old aggressive self. Experts were divided in their opinion on whether this is due to his increasing years or the lingering after-effects of injuries over 17 years of cricket at the highest level. Doubts about his performance surfaced when he averaged just 21 runs over three test innings when India toured Pakistan in 2006.
During when, Goeffrey Boycott brutally said, “Sachin Tendulkar is in the worst form of his career… now that he’s going to sit out for a further two months, I don’t think he can ever come back to regain what he once had”. But Tendulkar proved him and every one of his critics wrong by bouncing back from all his injuries and lean patches.
When not playing cricket, he loves to cook. Sachin is a good cook and he has once cooked Baigan-partha for all his team mates. He is running a restaurant, “Tendulkar’s” in Colaba, Mumbai. Tendulkar loves music and he is fond of guitar.
Sachin Tendulkar – The Run Machine
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