Commit all your crimes when Sachin is batting. They will go unnoticed because even the Lord is watching...
SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR...
On 15th November a small boy, both in stature and repute, walked down the pitch at National Stadium of Karachi, Pakistan. The foot movement was shaky and the nerves were boiling with the blood gushing through them, made survival even more challenging. The world’s most fierce bowling attack was all set to take on him and life turned out to be a lot more demanding, than it actually is, for a 16 year old teenager. Just being a child prodigy was not enough and his stumps were soon rattled by a Waqar Younis beauty on a meagre score of 15.
However everyone on the ground noticed the way he handled numerous blows to his body at the hands of the Pakistani pace attack. It was not just a start to any ordinary career but a career that will soon turn the entire history of the game on its head. In no time it will become the most satiated page in the game’s bible as it will engulf every batting record possible. Finally the man who would make a nation with a population of over one billion people, dance to the tunes of his strokes has arrived.
It happens rarely when the god himself walks down the pitch to shatter every bit of arrogance one has and that too with the utmost dignity and grace...It happens rarely when someone offers new dimensions to the word ‘perfection’ again and again and all over again...It happens rarely when a person having achieved the pinnacle of success still looks up in the heaven and greets the almighty for his kindness...It happens rarely when an individual becomes bigger than the game itself...
His batting, based on complete balance and poise while limiting unnecessary movements has flourished, evolving through each match. The sweet sound of his bat, the magical timing, the flawless defence and to top it with mammoth talent don’t make him the biggest sport star of India. It’s his devotion to the game and humble nature that make him the most cherished person on the planet earth despite being treated as a national icon. Time comes to a standstill; audience becomes stunned in admiration, even the opposition players give him standing ovation every time he walks in, but he still has his feet firmly planted on ground. He maintains the same loyalty towards the game as he had 20 years ago and his craving for runs has risen higher and higher.
The best have lofty ambitions when they begin but soon commerce, like a tenacious worm, gnaws into them. Fame surrounds them and prevents the fresh air of reason from breaking through. They acquire sycophants, that great curse of success. Playing the game becomes a means to a seemingly superior, but in reality hollower, end. Tendulkar has kept those demons at bay. It is always true to say that you can always judge a person by the way he reacts under criticism and pressure.
He knew his body is getting torn and tattered each day he held his magic willow but he trained even harder and the results are there for everyone to witness. The way he scampers for singles and the way he batted all the way down to the 50th over making the stand alone double century in ODI’s gives you an indication that he is fit and ready to fire in every form of cricket humanly possible. He is great not because he made more that 25000 runs in international cricket...he is great not because he is inching closer and closer towards 100 international centuries...he is great not because he is an inspiration to every cricket player...he is great because he gives every answer with his bat. He suffered back injury, tennis elbow, fractured bones etc but nothing stopped him, he was written off as a captain but he kept quiet, he was suggested to retire but he answered back with more tons.
Sachin's fame in his own country is such that he is virtually a prisoner in his own home with his appearances in public causing near-riots amongst fevered fans. He is known to take his car for late-night drives around the city as one of the few chances to escape the protective bubble in which he is forced to exist. Perhaps the biggest reminder of his fame, Sachin was recently made a textbook lesson in Indian schools so that children can draw inspiration from his achievements.
Inevitably the question will be asked: what next? I know there is only one thing he genuinely covets, and that is not in his hands. In 12 months Tendulkar hopes to play his sixth and last World Cup. So far his relationship with the World Cup has been like that of a child who scurries to the rossogulla shop only to find it shut every time. If he was a golfer seeking a Masters win or a tennis player hoping to win another Grand Slam, he could plan for it but he doesn't hold the key to a win in a team sport. It must happen, he cannot make it happen. But the question is what else? Frankly, I don't care.
Tendulkar's journey is about joy and purity and a landmark is merely a comfort stop.
"Indian defeat was God's way of saying... 'I exist'. He was threatened that Sachin would take over"... I can surely say I have seen god and he bats at number 4 for India...!!
Some famous quotes on Sachin:
Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don't know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their television sets and switch off their lives.
- BBC Sports, on Sachin Tendulkar
"To Sachin, the man we all want to be"
- Andrew Symonds (wrote on an Aussie t-shirt he autographed specially for Sachin)
“We did not lose to a team called India...we lost to a man called Sachin"
- Mark Taylor, during the test match in Chennai (1998)
"Q: Who do you think as most important celebrity?
Shahrukh: There was a big party where stars from Bollywood and cricket were invited. Suddenly, there was a big noise, all wanted to see approaching Amitabh Bachhan. Then Sachin entered the hall and Amitabh was leading the queue to get a grab of the genius!!"
- Shahrukh Khan (quoting Shahrukh from an interview)
“I had to remind Gary Kristen often that he was in the covers to field against Sachin not to applaud him"
- Hansie Cronje
"I am fortunate that I've to bowl at him only in the nets!"
- Anil Kumble
"He can play that leg glance with a walking stick also."
- Waqar Younis
“His reflex time is the best I have ever seen. It’s like 1/20th of a sec. To get his wicket better not prepare. At least you won’t regret if he hits you for boundaries."
- Allan Donald
"Sachin has been sent by God to play cricket and then go back."
- Ravi Shastri
"We won with ten, but lost to one"
- Steve Waugh
"For every ball Sachin has two shots in his mind. And he gets out when he plays the third one".
- Harsha Bhogle
"India me aap Prime Minister ko ek baar katghare me khada kar sakte hain, par Sachin Tendulkar par ungli nahi utha sakte...”
- Navjot Singh Sidhu
"I will see God when I die, till then I will see Sachin Tendulkar"
“What do you call a critic of Sachin Tendulkar? An atheist"
- A banner once said
-The famous placard during the Mumbai Indians vs Delhi Daredevils read
“ Sachin Tendulkar— Reducing the number of atheists since 1989.”