Friday, March 16, 2012
ULTIMATE VICTORY FOR SACHIN
He's done what we've all known he'd do ... in his own time, in his own way!
All honour and glory must go to Sachin Tendulkar. His achievement is that of a colossus of the game!
The first cricketer ever to reach a unique record of 100 international centuries, a total comprising 51 Test and 49 One-Day Match centuries, spanning a career of almost 23 years. Surely the blueprint of a titan – with a record that might last 100 years or even forever! Not since Bradman has any player striven so hard for perfection to gain an unmatched peak of success.
It’s a fitting tribute to Sachin’s determination and skill that he did not let the disappointment of the last year in trying to gain this one elusive record century – which had culminated in huge disappointment when he failed to deliver at Lords, at home against the West Indies, and then recently in Australia – put him off his purpose. Four times in the last year he’s reached scores of over 80 runs but not the big one.
In earlier times he would toss off 4 or 5 centuries a year. But the increasingly taxing build-up to this latest honour was on everyone’s minds – spectators, team mates and opposition players – to the extent that it almost loomed larger than any focus on team victories, and had rattled the Indian side in Australia for the last summer series.
Overnight at Mirpur, Dacca, just a tap to square leg and history was once again Sachin’s alone to savour. A unique individual restored to his rightful place as the greatest cricketer the world has produced in this unique period of cricket history, head and shoulders above the rest of the pack, despite his petite frame. Only 5 foot five, yet with every muscle primed for performance, and sporting a perfectly sized package – close to the ground – for batting glory. Not to mention his superb eyesight and reflexes, anticipating the number of runs he would gain from each ball as it left a bowler’s hand.
Today was no different – he’d gone out to practice a couple of days before with a few young players as if he was just another team member who needed to sharpen his skills:
‘It's never too bad to practice, isn't it? Yes, it was my off day and I wanted to get a feel of things and that's why I turned up. At the end of the day, I love the game and that's why I am here,’ he said.
After his landmark century, once again he looked to the sky (no doubt thinking both of God and his late father), raised his arms (as a salute to God and an acknowledgement of the crowd’s support and excitement) and kissed the Indian logo on his helmet.
Dispensing with the hype of ‘Sachin is God,’ that so many of his faithful fans chant, Sachin’s simple response was ‘I am not God. I am Sachin Tendulkar.’ He’s always been a devout Hindu, a follower of Lord Ganesh, and believes in living a comparatively simple and extremely disciplined life despite the fame and wealth his carefully-managed career has brought him.
‘I felt even after 22 years, the cricket god was testing me over the last one year. I will be honest, I was frustrated at times, but I never gave up.’ Today, as the century neared, Sachin’s batting partner, Suresh Raina, suggested Sachin err on the side of caution and concentrate on singles while Raina took all the risks.
‘I've never played cricket for milestones,’ Sachin said after the game. ‘While playing, I have ended up breaking a few records, but that was never my goal. I play cricket just because I enjoy the game. The 100th hundred was the most difficult.’
This milestone follows so many others he has achieved: he was just a kid when he first played for India’s national team; Tendulkar became the first man to score a double century in an ODI; he was also the first and the only player to score fifty centuries in the history of Test Cricket, and the first to score fifty centuries in all international cricket combined; he became the first batsman to score 15,000 runs in Test Cricket and he passed 30,000 runs in international cricket in 2009; he also holds the world record for playing the highest number of Test and ODI matches.
As described by Cricinfo: “Sachin Tendulkar has been the most complete batsman of his time, the most prolific runmaker of all time, and arguably the biggest cricket icon the game has ever known. His batting is based on the purest principles: perfect balance, economy of movement, precision in stroke-making, and that intangible quality given only to geniuses: anticipation. If he doesn't have a signature stroke - the upright, back-foot punch comes close - it is because he is equally proficient at each of the full range of orthodox shots (and plenty of improvised ones as well) and can pull them out at will.”
And the last word must go to Sachin himself: ‘Enjoy the game and chase your dreams. I think dreams do come true.’
Check out earlier blogs edited into an exclusive ebook at: searchingforsachin.net/
Recent disappointment in Sydney now a thing of the past.
(Photo CV Williams)
Comment from a fan, Sharon Trevelyan Dean, who wasn't able to post directly on the site:
'An inspiring write-up about an inspiring cricketer. Well done, Christine! :-)'
And for anyone wanting to find out the answer to Jeremy's post below, contact me directly on firstname.lastname@example.org