Sachin Tendulkar – A Myth That Became An Immortal




I remember in the late 80’s, as the news filtered through that a 16 year old Indian named Sachin Tendulkar was going to make his debut in Tests. I had no grievance about the decision on the basis of my firm belief in the saying that ‘if you’re good enough, you were old enough’.

Sachin Tendulkar - A myth that became an immortal

Sachin Tendulkar – A myth that became an immortal

The setting for his first test was the true embodiment of a baptism of fire in the form of a Test match against the mortal enemy Pakistan in Karachi. In my mind for a boy, this was like a Colosseum full of lions baying for Indian blood as he strode out to bat. Even worse, that the score was 4/44 in reply to Pakistan’s 1st innings total of 409 with arguably the finest Pakistani bowling attack ever firing on all cylinders. One that contained three super quick and sublimely skilled fast bowlers in Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Imran Khan and then an iconic leg spinner in Abdul Qadir to complete them.

From ball 1 from a rampant Waqar, his genius was there for all to see, but that was never the question about him. It was more the issue of whether he’d be flawed genius in terms of not having the mental toughness to turn the talent into performance. This was put to rest in the 4th Test in Sialkot, where he walked in again with India in diabolical trouble at 4/38 and spiraling to defeat in the game and series.

He shared in a match saving partnership with Navjot Sidhu, where he scored a refined 57. Though it wasn’t about the innings, it was more about a moment in the innings that told us all about the lions heart in the tiny boy.

Waqar bowling at express hit him plumb in the face with an express short delivery. That had the Pakistani masses exultant as they saw the blood spill from his nose and with it the inevitable venture off the ground. As if he was a boxer going down to a TKO. Though to stay on the boxing theme, Sachin on taking Waqar’s best blow was dazed and bloodied, but in no way beaten.

To lend the dramatic, he just looked in Waqar’s eyes, smiled, cleared the blood off his nose and said have another crack…

Red rag to a Pakistani bull, most definitely as Waqar steamed in and bowled a fullish delivery that was a blur, such was the pace and venom behind it. Then we saw this replicated in terms of the speed of the ball off the bat as Tendulkar slammed him through cover for 4.

After that match finished his legend in the Sub Continent was ordained, but cricket fans are a cynical bunch. That are nurtured and schooled by an outdated belief, that credibility was only achieved for an Asian player after performing well in Australia and England.

The English stood and applauded after his first Test century in Manchester in 1990 that was a technical masterpiece. Impending greatness was duly bestowed on him after this, but two years later in Perth, Australia. We all knew that immortality was also his destiny. Embodied in a later quote by Matthew Hayden:

“I have seen GOD, he bats at no. 4 for India in Test.

We saw this divine characteristic in fast and bouncy conditions against an Australian four prong pace attack. That made all the Indian batsmen look like they were like cats on a hot tin roof until they were put out of their collective miseries. Sachin looked as though he was at home enjoying his mother’s home cooking.

He was so at ease, as he cut, pulled, hooked and generally flayed the Aussie attack to all parts in an innings of 114 that should be counted as a modern marvel.

Throughout the 90’s he excelled and conquered all. This despite an Indian batting line up that only added Rahul Dravid in 1996 and way before the rise of VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag and the like. So he was for the most, a lone ranger in the batting line up especially away from India. Despite this he still laid the platform for the rise of the Indian Team in the 00’s.

The demise and end for him was announced by many in 2006 in the wake of his his lose in form due to injury. In the face of this Sachin met arguably his greatest challenge head on and not only prevailed, but it could be argued that he has returned a better batsman.

16 centuries in 43 Tests since 2007 is testimony to this…

Then just quietly, you’d love a sip from the fountain of youth he’s tapped into. For he just gets better with age!

Thankfully in this year of 2011, where he is beloved and respected by all. He got his greatest wish granted in being part of the World Cup win. That had such meaning to him as he expressed:

“Winning the World Cup is the proudest moment of my life… I couldn’t control my tears of joy.”

Let’s hope we as fans can stand and applaud in the next few days. In appreciation of everything that Sachin Tendulkar is – as he graces us with his 100th International on the hallowed home of cricket – Lord’s.

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Tim Holt

Author:

Hi All, I’m an old gent having been born in 1953 in Derry, Nth Ireland. I learnt my love for cricket during my time in South Africa in between 1964-66. My hero as you can see by my profile picture is ‘Chandra’! I am a qualified journalist having worked in Radio and papers across the Globe. Though I’m currently a teacher, who is on extended medical leave due to my heart not agreeing with the Irish past time of drinking copious amounts of Whisky! I have many tales to tell in regards to a lot of sports having played both Football and Cricket professionally. I hope you enjoy a few I share with you!

Regards and Peace to All
Tim

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