Sachin Tendulkar @51: The 'God Of Cricket' Who Mesmerised Cricketing Connoisseurs For 24 Years

Sachin Tendulkar @51: The 'God Of Cricket' Who Mesmerised Cricketing Connoisseurs For 24 Years

Tendulkar's life and India's progress as a country has intertwined with his own coming off age as a precocious teenager on the 1989 tour of Pakistan to his last hurrah against the West Indies at the Wankhede Stadium in 2013.

Haridev PushparajUpdated: Wednesday, April 24, 2024, 09:43 PM IST
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As the 'God of Cricket' Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar celebrates his 51st birthday, the number reminds us of his epochal achievement of 51 Test hundreds but in reality Tendulkar's career and his impact on the sport and the nation has far transcended mere numbers.

Tendulkar's life and India's progress as a country has intertwined with his own coming off age as a precocious teenager on the 1989 tour of Pakistan to his last hurrah against the West Indies at the Wankhede Stadium in 2013.

In a career spanning 24 years, the batting maestro has captured the imagination of over a billion Indians and cricket lovers across the globe mesmerising them with his willow magic.

Scoring his first Test hundred at the age of 17 against England in 1990 to his 51st against South Africa on the 2010-11 tour, Tendulkar showed his mindbo ggling range as a batsman maturing with every single hundred scored in the longest format of the game.

However, it was in the shorter one-day format that Tendulkar came to be known as the beast he eventually became and it all started on that famous tour of New Zealand in 1994.

Opening the batting for India for the first time after Navjot Singh Sidhu was left out with a stiff neck, the 'Bombay Bomber' slammed a now iconic 82 off just 49 balls, smashing 15 fours and two sixes at a strike rate which even in today's IPL era would be considered a very healthy 167.35.

From thereon, Tendulkar was an unstoppable force of nature dismantling bowling attacks with alacrity and winning games for India single-handedly.

The effect the little man had on the Indian public psyche throughout the 1990s, especially post-95, would be hard to explain to the children of today.

People switching on TV sets to watch India's one-day games bleary-eyed early morning be it weekdays or weekends became sort of a norm.

Tendulkar's fortunes in the middle would inevitably be the catalyst to India's victory or defeat and the man would be carrying the weight and burden of the nation's expectations on his shoulders every time he went out to bat.

With the emergence of Indian cricket as a financial powerhouse post the 1996 World Cup on the world stage, Tendulkar's stock rose by leaps and bounds as a cricketing superstar.

The year 1998 was the greatest of Tendulkar's career as he played two of his most memorable one-day knocks against the best team of that era, Australia, in the Coca-Cola Trophy in Sharjah.

The 143 to get India through to the final of the tournament remembered even today as the 'Desert Storm' innings encapsulates what Tendulkar was all about as a cricketer, superstar and an Indian public icon.

The straight sixes off Michael Kasprowicz is stuff of legends as one jogs their memories to that famous night when Tony Greig's commentary about 'they're dancing in the aisles in Sharjah' resonated in the minds and hearts of cricket fans across the board.

After being bestowed with India's highest civilian award, Bharat Ratna, Tendulkar's place in the Indian public remains cemented as the country's most precious gem.

As the GOAT turns 51, one can safely say Sachin Tendulkar in full flow and tilt was simply joie de vivre to the cricketing connoisseurs of the world.

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