51 test centuries. 48 one day hundreds. Highest run getter in all forms of crick

et. Holder of every kind of batting record in cricket. That is Sachin Tendulkar. Yet on the last tour of England he was unable to add to his laurels. Not one century in the four tests matches. He was out of the onedayers because of an injury; the 100th international century remained elusive.

The result? Indian cricket writers were heart broken.

For the last 15 years they had written more about Sachin than the game itself. Every cricket match was covered in two ways, one the description of the match, second a separate piece on the role of Sachin.

If he failed, that called for a special piece. If a new batsman scored a century, that was due to Sachin influence, hence another piece, so was the case when Sachin did and did not practise at the nets.

But now cricket writers were depressed because Sachin could not play due to injury. That too a toe injury. What an anti- climax! A great batsman felled by a toe injury, at least it should have been a spine injury or a hamstring one, they sounded better.

But a small, miserable toe! How to explain this to the readers? Yet, one of the leaders of the Sachin media brigade who was morose till yesterday was smiling and full of beans when I met him. He shook my hand warmly, ” Toe or no toe, it is one more record for Sachin. Just now I had verified this and will do a 1000- word exclusive tomorrow.” ” What kind of record can be associated with a toe injury?” I wanted to know. ” The Sachin brigade is never at a loss for new ideas,” explained the cricket writer. ” While reading about the toe injury of Sachin I discovered something. He first sustained the injury in 2001 and that set my little grey cells working.” ” In what way?” I wanted to know. ” I checked through all alt39 Wisdenalt39 volumes,” said the cricket correspondent.

” There had been no cricketer in the history of the game who had a toe injury which recurred after ten years. With such an injury Sachin has set yet another world record and tomorrow that will be the lead story in my paper. Bradman, Hobbs, Hammond, Sobers, Richards and the rest never came anywhere near this record of Sachin.” He patted me on the back and offered a drink ” That is true,” I agreed. ” A unique record.” The cricket correspondent was ecstatic. ” I have beaten every other cricket correspondent hollow. Tomorrow the entire cricketing media would focus on the Great Toe. It will be photographed, commented upon editorially, draw the attention of celebrities, capture the imagination of the medical world and appear as lead story in alt39 Lancetalt39 as well as alt39 Readers Digestalt39. ” The Master Blaster and the Master Toe,” I pointed out. The cricket correspondent sighed in happiness.

” That is a good copy line. We could sell it to one of the ad agencies promoting Sachin. The Great Toe could result in more endorsements for Sachin.

Let me tell you, Sachin had defied not only medical science but also time. Can you imagine any other toe, which had a recurrence of an injury after ten year? Within days the market will be flooded with toe products.”

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