Today is the day when Sachin Tendulkar completes 20 years in International Cricket.
And since we all know that everything has already been said, written and documented very well about Sachin Tendulkar by almost everybody, it is futile for me to write something that has not been already said or written. So this will be a short but interesting post.
It is difficult to believe that it has been 20 long years since the small, curly haired boy was seen playing for India! Any one who saw this cherubic boy with a spark in his eyes could not help but be mermerized. Such a small innocent boy taking on the Pakistanis in their home land would be nerve wracking for anyone but who can forget the incident where he was hit on the nose? And then to stand up again and continue and score a half century as a 16 year old was what made the whole world take notice and really grasp the magnitude of what he really was. And then to take on the wily, experienced Abdul Qadir and to hoick him for 3 sixes announced the world that he was very special indeed; something that happens once in a century or even more. But one thing is sure, there can never be another Sachin Tendulkar. Ever! It is not for nothing that he is called "God" in Cricket..........
So many have come, played with him and long gone, but here he is! Still there going strong into his 3rd decade!
It is very emotional for me because I too have revered him like God. I feel I am lucky that I was born around the right time. He started playing for India when I was 5 and it has been my privilege to watch him for 20 years and I remember that I loved him since that time. I have grown up watching him all these years, reading everything about him, collecting thousands of his pictures and making albums of them, putting up his posters in my room, copying him and what not, just like millions of kids in India. My life revolved around him and Cricket to quite some extent. There have been days when he has played well and it made our day. When he succeeded, we succeeded. When he failed, we failed.
I just thought about this today and it made shudder that how am I ever going to be able to watch the game when finally the day comes when he retires. Because no matter what, it is going to come some day. Though I feel there are quite a few years still left. Indeed this is going to happen to a lot of people who have been switching off their television sets when he gets out.
Over the years, he has been one main reason for joy for the nation, even uniting people across states and religions. For me to a great extent, Cricket starts and ends with him. He is the soul and essence in the game. Indeed no one is greater than the game but the game definitely looks incomplete without him.
I am often amazed at existence for producing such a human being! How can a man have done everything that he has and still remain the amazing human being he is? It was very generous of God or existence for giving us Sachin Tendulkar. There is no greater joy than watching a Master at his work and Sachin is the Master in this game. I can't imagine how physically, mentally and emotionally strong he must be to continue this long and do what he has managed!
I even find myself in my everyday life imitating his facial expressions or other small things unintentionally! Indeed almost everyone in the current Indian team has grown up watching and imitating him and today they are playing with him. One thing I have noticed while he plays is this- Whenever a batsman hits the ball, specially a fast bowler straight back towards him, it is a natural reaction for a fast bowler (don't know why?!) to throw the ball back towards the batsman or the stumps. And I don't know if people have observed this but Sachin Tendulkar handles these situations the best of all the batsman. Do observe this the next time it happens that after Sachin has hit it straight towards the bowler and when the bowler is raring to let go the ball, Sachin calmly just puts up his hand, puts his bat in the crease and doesn't even look at the bowler or ball because if the bowler throws it, it could easily hit or hurt the batsman but Sachin exudes such calm from his presence that the bowler immediately calms down and doesn't throw. It is similar to an enlightened one like Gautam Buddha in whose presence even wild, ferocious animals became calm and tamed! I just love to watch this everytime it happens.
And finally just before stopping, I thought about one thing- Sachin Tendulkar must have run so many runs. The total number of runs he has scored considering First Class and List A Cricket is 42392. Plus let us assume he has run equal number of runs for his batting partners, so it comes out to be 84784 across the pitch which is 22 yards. So it comes out to be 1865248 yards of running. But assuming that 50% of the runs are scored in boundaries (fours and sixes) so it makes it 932624 yards ( The means Sachin Tendulkar has run more than 853 kms on the offcially recorded or statistically maintained matches on a Cricket field alone!). And the average circumference of Earth in yards is 43788837.6. Thus it means Sachin Tendulkar must have run around 2.13 % of the earth's circumference! And that is just while batting. Not fielding or bowling! Digest that!
And all those of you who must have got tired perhaps of the whole Sachin completing 20 years in International cricket going on and on in TV and newspapers and perhaps might have thought because of that by this time that his must have been the longest career, are wrong. In fact he is 16th on the list of the longest Test careers! The highest is of English all rounder Wilfred Rhodes. He represented his country for 30 years 315 days from June 1 1899 to April 12, 1930 playing his last Test Match at the age of 52 years 165 days! And he played just 58 Test Matches. In the modern era, only Sanath Jayasuriya is close to him at 19 years 275 days and Javed Miandad at 20 years 272 days, which is the highest for ODI career. And that's why Sachin Tendulkar completing 20 years in the modern era is a huge thing because of the amount of competitive, fast Cricket being played these days and the number of both ODIs and Test Matches that he has played!
May he never stop!