Tuesday, December 21, 2010

What a year!

"So what do I wish for my hero in the future – well if wishes were horses then I would want him to score atleast 15,000 runs in test cricket (well that’s only 2227 runs away), complete a century of international centuries (only 14 more to get!), to break Lara’s record of the highest test score of 400* (it’s sad that Sachin hasn’t got a triple ton till date…) and break Saeed Anwar’s record of the highest ODI score of 194 (well Sachin came close in Hyderabad scoring 186* (150b) on 8th Nov 1999 – a game I was priviledged to have watched at the Lal Bahadur Stadium)… but above all else, he must win India the World Cup (his stature demands it!)."

I wrote the down this fantastic wishlist on 20th September 2009 when Sachin completed his two decades in International Cricket - at the time, I did not imagine that in just over a year down the line, playing his 21st season for India, at 37, my hero would achieve almost all of the above.

To say that 2010 has been an incredible year is the understatement of the year!  

In Oct 2010, Sachin who made history  by becoming the first batsman to score 14,000 runs in Test cricket, says his desire to improve remains as intense as it has ever been. Currently he has 14500+ runs closing in on my first wish of 15000 test runs! Here's the Master getting past 14000:

Instead of struggling for form with advancing age, SRT has had the most prolific year of his Test career in 2010  - He has made 1,532 runs in thirteen Tests this year (with one more match of the three-Test series in South Africa scheduled for this year, Tendulkar has opportunity to surpass Mohammad Yousuf's record of 1,768 runs in a calendar year set in 2006 - hey he needs just 257 runs) at an amazing average of over 85 runs per innings with 7 centuries including the 50th of his Test career last Sunday (19th December 2010 - Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar became the first batsman to score a monumental 50 centuries in the 133-year history of Test cricket. No other batsman has scored more than 39 Test centuries) - and he insists rather than considering retirement he has many more goals to fulfill...that's good news for me then because with 46 ODI tons and 50 Test tons, he is now just 4 away from my second wish of 100 International Tons (even Curtley Ambrose thinks so!)

Sachin's 50th Test Century

Now on to my 4th wish - in February 2010, a few days before his 37th Birthday (and one day after my 29th!), Sachin scored the first double century in ODIs thus eclipsing Saeed Anwar's record! What a birthday gift!

Tendulkar's record-breaking ODI double century has found a place in the Time magazine's top 10 sports moments of the year. "Certain sports milestones seem simply unreachable: In cricket, it's the one-day double-hundred: no man had ever produced 200 runs for his team during a one-day international match," 'The Time' said. "In February, however, India's Sachin Tendulkar, the greatest run scorer of all-time, hit the magic milestone against a powerful South African squad.

Sachin's ODI 200

"Tendulkar smacked three 'sixes' - the cricket equivalent of a home run - during his epic performance, and the build up to 200 was exhilarating.When he reached 199, the home crowd in Gwalior waved Indian flags, and roared, knowing they were about to witness history. The diminutive Tendulkar, dubbed "The Little Master," slapped a single past the South African fielders. The world's 1.5 billion cricket fans had a moment they'd never forget," it said.

So with 50 Test tons, 46 ODI tons and over 32,000 runs in the bag, here's what his record currently looks like:

(Also, check out this link for his CV!)

With all this and more, is it any surprise that Sachin won the ICC Cricketer of the year?!

Sachin @ the ICC Cricket Awards

And in February 2011, the entire country (including his coach, Achrekar Sir) will be willing him to lead India to World Cup victory.

Well at least Lara's 400 is safe for now - I'll settle for a triple ton or two. If wishes were horses...

Sachin 50th century: India hails Tendulkar

India on Monday celebrated the record-breaking feats of Sachin Tendulkar after the champion batsman scored an unprecedented 50th Test century.
"... shut your eyes, blank out the noise and whisper gently, '50 Test centuries'. Enjoy the way it slips off your tongue and ask yourself if you had ever considered it possible. I hadn't. A decade ago I wrote, 'Would I be considered a madman if I forced the word "fifty" from my lips!'" - Commentator and television presenter Harsha Bhogle savours the moment

President Pratibha Patil and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh led the glowing tributes even as India lost the first cricket Test against South Africa at Centurion. Tendulkar remained unbeaten on 111,

But Indians back home appeared little concerned by the team's precarious position in the Test, confirming the widely held belief that defeat did not matter as long as Tendulkar scored a century.(Click here to watch the video)

The 37-year-old is the most prolific batsman in history with a record 46 one-day hundreds to go with his 50 Test centuries since he entered the international arena back in 1989.

"It is an amazing achievement to play for the country for over two decades and still continue to be the team's anchor," Prime Minister Singh said. "Sachin makes all of us so very proud."

The 50-ton feat was flashed on the front pages of leading newspapers and television channels rounded up past and present cricketers to speak on the batsman they compared to the legendary Don Bradman of Australia.

"Don of a new era" screamed the front page of the Times of India, which devoted three pages to the master's achievements under catchy headlines like "Batman Forever" and "Sachincredible".

"Legend, 50 times over” a newspaper wrote on its front page, while another headlined its story "Sachin cricket enters 51st century".

Tendulkar's consistency over a 21-year period earned high praise with former captain Sourav Ganguly calling him the "best batsman ever" ahead of the late Bradman, who retired in 1948 with a Test batting average of 99.94.


"For him, a Test match begins two days earlier, preparing for it. He wants to face the maximum number of balls at the nets. You will not see him play a loose shot at the nets." - Gary Kirsten, India's coach, praises Tendulkar's work ethic
"The only challenge he has is to beat himself every time he walks out there because he has done almost everything." - There's little left for Tendulkar to achieve, says Sri Lanka captain Kumar Sangakkara

"There wouldn't be one side in the world that wouldn't want Sachin as their first wicket, pointing their ship toward victory." - Former Australia opener Matthew Hayden presents the opposition's point of view

"I try to watch the matches in which he is playing because I have not seen anyone gifted with such natural technical batting excellence, which he has combined with his hard work and commitment. He is indeed a phenomena and a role model for every young batsman." - Hanif Mohammad, the former Pakistan batsman, admires Tendulkar's perseverance
"I've never imagined that someone can go this level and play for more than 20 years. It's an incredible feat." - Graeme Pollock is impressed by Tendulkar's longevity
"I'd like to ask him just how he has managed to work so hard to stay at the top for so long and what advice he'd give other sportsmen." - The fastest man on earth, Usain Bolt, is a fan

"If I'm a cricketer, it's because of Sachin Tendulkar. Else, I would have never picked up a bat. He's the reason behind me playing cricket." - Virender Sehwag gives us another reason to be thankful for Tendulkar

Twitter reactions to Sachin Tendulkar becoming the first batsman to make 50 Test centuries
Sanjay Manjrekar: "He has got it finally! and judging from his reaction..meant a lot to him...the 50th test ton..this is one record that is there to stay."
Harsha Bhogle: "All great players redefine their profession.50 Test hundreds was considered unthinkable. Sachin has done it."
Yuvraj Singh: "Greatest achievement by a bats man ever! His name is sachinnnnnnn tendulkarrrrrrrrrr!! Wooohooooooooo."
Iain O'Brien: "Congrats you little massive legend!"


Centurion: The mind went back to the 1999 World Cup in England.Sachin Tendulkar had to rush back to India after losing his father midway through the event.Tendulkar stayed in Mumbai for two days,then returned to England to do duty for the country and promptly score a century,against Kenya.Upon reaching three figures,Tendulkar looked heavenwards,stood still for a moment before acknowledging the cheers from the fans.He later said that he was looking upwards,hoping his father would have seen him do well and would be proud of his son.

On Sunday,as India celebrated his 50th Test century,Tendulkar again remembered his father.Yesterday (Saturday) was my fathers birthday.I dedicate this century to him.The first thing I thought of after reaching the hundred was my father.

Tendulkar,who thanked his fans for their fabulous support over the years.said he was happy that the landmark is done with.Was he under any pressure because of the huge expectation You guys only created it, Tendulkar said pointing at the media,at the post-match PC.You built the foundation on which I constructed my innings today.

Tendulkar was not sure how he should react when asked about his feelings.Cant say how Im feeling.Im happy... Cant really express how Im feeling.

But when a local journalist asked him if records meant a lot to him,Tendulkar reacted sharply.I play for the love of the game.I have often requested for time out from cricket so that I can come back refreshed and fit.The Board has given me the rest.If I was after records,I wont ask for rest. 

While reiterating that the toss played a crucial role in the Test,Tendulkar said that it could not be an excuse for the team.The conditions were different on different days but weve to take that. He stressed that a good showing in the second innings was essential for India.We needed to send a strong message that were here to fight and I think we've done that.

What about his prolific batting in 2010 in which he has seven centuries in 13 Tests Tendulkars simple explanation was,Ive been playing well,been enjoying my batting.And in the last couple of years,Ive been moving well. Tendulkar also spoke to his fans back home in Hindi and Marathi before letting the TV cameras swarm all over him.Tough job,this man has.On the field,and off it.

Tendulkar focussed amid the frenzy

He was in a foreign land. At least a land that has stayed the most foreign to India even after their resurgence away from home. They started chanting "Sachin, Sachin" from the time he guided one past short third man to move to 88. There were whites, there were blacks, there were browns at the grass banks of SuperSport Park, and all they wanted was for Sachin Tendulkar's 50th Test hundred to come in front of them.
It was difficult to not let that affect you, but Tendulkar was in a different sphere. He was trying to save a game, trying to kill time, trying to run through the deficit. He took his time to get to 89, and South Africa tried to cut out boundary-scoring areas. A forward short leg came in, Morne Morkel bowled bouncers - around the helmet area, and into the ribs. Tendulkar kept ducking, the lower ones he kept keeping out; if he was nervous, he wasn't showing it. Against Paul Harris, who has somehow managed to be India's nemesis, he hit a straight six to send the crowd into frenzy again.
The chants started again. When at 97, he faced another flurry of bouncers. One of them went for five wides. Ten deliveries he spent on 97. Then came Dale Steyn. He got an inside-edge past midwicket to move to 99. Then he squirted one between cover and extra cover, celebrating as he ran the 100th run. Not extravagantly. The helmet came off, the back arched a bit, and he looked up to the skies.
Tendulkar later spoke of the moment when he reached the milestone. "The first thing obviously I thought of was my father because I wanted to do it for him," he said. "Yesterday was his birthday, and I would like to dedicate this to him."
Tendulkar didn't know what to make of the landmark. Perhaps the match situation - India are on the verge of a defeat despite his and MS Dhoni's effort - had something to do with it. Perhaps it is taking time to sink in. "I don't know. I am okay. It's just another number for me. It's nice. Obviously I can't say I am not happy, I am happy. But I don't know how to express this. It's good that it has come. Hopefully it doesn't stop, it continues."
Tendulkar remembered his first Test that was played against an attack that comprised three greats. He was quick to remind the reporters of Abdul Qadir's presence too, to go with Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Imran Khan. "It was challenging," he said. "I thoroughly enjoyed it. I learned a lot on that tour and whenever I have played them. It's been a fantastic contest." 
Tendulkar has had a bumper 2010, this being his seventh Test century to go with the only double-century in the history of ODIs. Of his remarkable form, he said: "Just been batting and enjoying. Sometime you are striking the ball really well and that is when you need to cash in as much as possible. I only try to do that. I felt that the last couple of years I have been moving well. Also the frame of mind. It's a habit, and once you build that habit, it's a good habit to carry on tours and back home in India as well."
Tendulkar also reiterated that records have just happened to come his way while he has been doing what he loves the most. "I am playing for the love of it," he said. "If I was chasing records, I wouldn't have missed those one-day matches in between. I have had to pace myself. I thought I was not in top physical condition, and I needed some break and requested the board for the rest so I stay fresh. If I were chasing records, I wouldn't have done that. Its about producing quality cricket, and that's what I want to do."

He’s made a habit of making the impossible seem possible | Harsha Bhogle

 Like with all timeless works of art it is time to shut all the other senses and focus on the purity and indeed, the enormity, of what Sachin Tendulkar has achieved. So shut your eyes, blank out the noise and whisper gently, “50 Test centuries”. Enjoy the way it slips off your tongue and ask yourself if you had ever considered it possible. I hadn’t. A decade ago I wrote “would I be considered a madman if I forced the word ‘fifty’ from my lips!”

Fifty Test match centuries tests your perspective. Sometimes you look at the present and imagine the future, economists do that for a living and dreamers for a pastime, and only sometimes does it come true.
When 300 wickets were taken people thought they had seen history and were blessed, when the 34th hundred was scored, we thought this might stay for posterity.

Then Muralitharan took 800, now Tendulkar hits a 50th....will the sensex hit 50,000? Will they run a mile in under three minutes? Tendulkar is a bit like that. You think you have seen all he has to offer over 21 years and he plants his flag on another peak.

Well into his 38th year, he is playing as well as ever before and earlier this year he told an interviewer he was looking at ways to take his game to another level.

Unless our sense of perspective is sorely tested, he will be very lonely there.
His 50th has come in a land where,
historically, India haven’t done too well and he himself hasn’t quite matched his feats elsewhere. It is unlikely he will tour South Africa for a Test series again (though we said that in Australia in 2007-8 when they gave him a standing ovation at every centre!!) and it is just like him to produce the big landmark there.

Briefly, in a phase when the UDRS might just have got him once, he played with everyone’s insecurity when he started prodding against Paul Harris, a good steady spinner to whom he seemed to assign a Warne-like status. Around this time his supporters were hoping he played the quicks instead; even Steyn for Harris might have been welcome. Then, he embraced the Tendulkar of his youth by charging Harris and storming into the 90s. It was a defining shot.

Then in the 90s, he sent Dhoni back and the captain ran more than two halves of the pitch. He was showing he wanted it desperately; even great hearts miss a beat!

The South Africans slowed things down, Steyn was recalled and his bootlaces took an awfully long time to do. But Tendulkar would have preferred pace on the ball and dutifully the 50th arrived.

But it could not obscure the fact that India blew it in the first innings; that only the weather can save them from defeat. For all the records it bestows on individuals, cricket remains at heart a team sport. A series win would still be a greater result.

Four are now needed for a hundred hundreds. It used to be the rarest of rare career landmarks. Tendulkar will do that in international cricket alone.

The mind will continue to boggle. We will have seen him a million times and yet we will look at him differently. Like we do today.

Fab@50: Sachin Creates History, At A Place Aptly Called Centurion

Sunday 19th December 2010

Centurion (South Africa):  In a year when adjectives like ‘biggest’ and ‘unprecedented’ were mostly used to describe scams, it was left to India’s sportspersons to provide cheer to the nation with their stirring feats. It is fitting, therefore, for 2010 to draw to a close with a stupendous achievement by a hero who has epitomized sporting perfection for over two decades and given millions of Indians countless moments of pride and joy.

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar went where no cricketer ever had before — and no else may ever venture — when he scored his 50th Test ton on Sunday. It’s a staggering achievement that reopens the debate about whether he’s the greatest batsman ever, surpassing even the legendary Sir Don Bradman, who was famously reminded of himself while watching the Indian genius in action. It was a fitting moment in many ways. After three disappointing home Tests against New Zealand when the master failed to reach the three-figure mark, it came on a bigger stage — against South Africa in South Africa, as Team India battled to avoid an innings defeat in a match-up between the world’s two top Test teams. 

It was a century that the entire nation was eagerly awaiting from Sachin Tendulkar and he ensured that Indians had a 'Super Sunday' as he completed a historic 50th Test century against South Africa at the Centurion.

The moment Sachin found a gap through the extra cover region to push a Dale Steyn delivery for a single, the entire stadium stood up to salute one of the true legends of the game. 

It is Sachin's 175th Test match --- most by any player in the history of the game. It took him four Test matches to reach the milestone after having scored his 49th against Australia in October this year. (Click here to watch the video)

He played 197 deliveries and 258 minutes to reach the milestone. He hit 12 boundaries and a big six over long-off with left-arm spinner Paul Harris being the sufferer. This is his seventh century in the year 2010.
If some of the Indian players like Sreesanth were seen saluting Sachin on his achievement, South African players like skipper Graeme Smith and Hashim Amla congratulated the maestro.
M S Dhoni, the man who was at the other end when Sachin became the first batsman to hit 200 in an ODI, was again at the non-striker’s end on Sunday. In both cases, the landmark was achieved off a speed merchant who’s probably the most lethal in the business right now — Dale Steyn. They would have been special moments even if they’d come against lesser bowlers, but it was appropriate that they should come against another champion.
A gentle push to cover, a few quick steps towards the non-striker’s end and history was made at the SuperSport Park, at a venue aptly called Centurion. Almost from the day he made his debut some 21 years ago, Sachin had seemed destined to get 50 Test centuries. Still, when the moment arrived, it prompted goosebumps, tears and loud cheering across the world. 

As Sachin took off his helmet and looked skywards before throwing his arms up in his now trademark gesture, the stadium stood up as one to clap. Suddenly, tricolours were proudly fluttering in different parts of the ground. 

It was another great knock in a year that has seen Tendulkar harvest over 1,500 runs with seven centuries and an average in excess of 85 from 13 Tests.
For the man himself, the century was but a brief stop in a long journey as he strove to pull off a miracle for India — a most unlikely draw in the first Test against South Africa. Or, at least, some honour in defeat. While India are more or less finished, 30 runs behind with two wickets standing at 454/8 as a snap shower ended the day's play, Tendulkar was still not done. He is there, unconquered on 107 (226 balls, 13 fours, 1 six).
For a major part of the day, Tendulkar had to wage a lonely battle as a humiliating defeat loomed. India, shot out for 136 runs in the first innings, began the day at 190/2. When Tendulkar came to the middle after nightwatchman Ishant Sharma’s dismissal about 45 minutes into play, India still needed 270 to avoid a loss by an innings. The little master battled on even though Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Suresh Raina left without any substantial contribution.
Finally, skipper M S Dhoni stepped up and lent the support Sachin was looking for.With Dhoni looking assured at the other end,a relaxed Tendulkar worked his way towards the landmark. Anticipation at the stadium grew more intense with every run he scored. And it was an uneasy tea break when Tendulkar went in at 80. 

But the maestro soothed nerves when play resumed with two crisp fours to move to 88. At 89, he launched Paul Harris into the stands. A couple of nudges here and there got him to 99. History was made off the next ball...

The Centurion
  1. Most 100s against an opponent: 11 v Australia.
  2. Most 100s in a calendar year: 7 in 2010.
  3. Most 100s on a ground: 5 at Chepauk (Chennai).
  4. Most 100s in a country: 22 in India (the most he has scored outside India is 6 in Australia).
  5. Most 100s on a particular position: 43 at number 4 (he has hit 5 at No. 5 and 2 at No. 6).
  6. Most 100s under a captain: 15 under Mohammad Azharuddin (in 47 matches).
  7. Result-wise summary of 100s: 20 in matches won, 19 in matches drawn and 10 in matches lost.
  8. Break-up of 100s at home and abroad : 22 at home, 28 abroad.
  9. Innings-wise break-up of Tendulkar’s 100s: 20 in first innings of match, 17 in second innings of match, 10 in third innings of match and 3 in fourth innings of match.
The A-Z of Sachin Tendulkar's 50 Test centuries around the globe. Some venues are distinct favourites...
Start Date
Adelaide Oval
January 24, 2008
Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad
New Zealand
October 29, 1999
Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad
December 11, 2001
Sardar Patel Stadium, Ahmedabad
Sri Lanka
November 16, 2009
M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore
October 9, 2010
M.Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bangalore
March 25, 1998
Edgbaston, Birmingham
June 6, 1996
OUTsurance Oval, Bloemfontein
South Africa
November 3, 2001
Newlands, Cape Town
South Africa
January 2, 1997
107 (batting)
SuperSport Park, Centurion
South Africa
December 19, 2010
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
February 11, 1993
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
March 6, 1998
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
January 28, 1999
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
March 18, 2001
MA Chidambaram Stadium, Chennai
December 11, 2008
Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong
January 17, 2010
Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong
May 18, 2007
R Premadasa Stadium, Colombo
Sri Lanka
August 2, 1997
Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo
Sri Lanka
July 26, 2010
Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo
Sri Lanka
August 9, 1997
Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo
Sri Lanka
February 24, 1999
Sinhalese Sports Club, Colombo
Sri Lanka
July 27, 1993
Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi
November 18, 2000
Feroz Shah Kotla, Delhi
Sri Lanka
December 10, 2005
Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka
December 10, 2004
Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka
January 24, 2010
Bangabandhu National Stadium, Dhaka
May 25, 2007
Seddon Park, Hamilton
New Zealand
March 18, 2009
The Wanderers, Johannesburg
South Africa
November 26, 1992
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
West Indies
October 30, 2002
Eden Gardens, Kolkata
South Africa
February 14, 2010
Headingley, Leeds
August 22, 2002
K.D.Singh 'Babu' Stadium, Lucknow
Sri Lanka
January 18, 1994
Old Trafford, Manchester
August 9, 1990
Melbourne Cricket Ground
December 26, 1999
Punjab Cricket Association Stadium, Mohali
New Zealand
October 10, 1999
Multan Cricket Stadium
March 28, 2004
Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai
Sri Lanka
December 3, 1997
Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground, Nagpur
November 25, 2000
Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground, Nagpur
West Indies
December 1, 1994
Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground, Nagpur
February 21, 2002
Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground, Nagpur
November 6, 2008
Vidarbha Cricket Association Ground, Nagpur
South Africa
February 6, 2010
Trent Bridge, Nottingham
July 4, 1996
W.A.C.A. Ground, Perth
February 1, 1992
Queen's Park Oval, Port of Spain
West Indies
April 19, 2002
Sydney Cricket Ground
January 2, 2004
Sydney Cricket Ground
January 2, 2008
Sydney Cricket Ground
January 2, 1992
Basin Reserve, Wellington
New Zealand
December 26, 1998