An emotion called Sachin Tendulkar
It would be an understatement to say Sachin Tendulkar is a phenomenon. A true legend of the game, Tendulkar is the epitome of elegance and humility, and by all accounts a wonderful human being.
Tendulkar played in an era when world cricket still had ferocious fast bowlers and green tops (when India toured abroad), and bowlers still dominated batsmen with frequent hundreds being a rarity. Right from his debut series, Tendulkar faced many fearsome fast bowlers on difficult wickets.
And he dominated them all. Be it Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis, Courtney Walsh, Curtly Ambrose, Allan Donald, Shaun Pollock, Shoaib Akthar or Dale Steyn, Tendulkar managed to score runs against the best of the best in his 24 glorious cricketing years.
Even a magician like Sachin Warne admitted that he got nightmares after bowling to him.
Tendulkar played for India in an era when every individual in India, be it a school kid or a college student or a working professional or a retired person or an ordinary individual on the road, would ask one question when India played - "What is Sachin’s score?"
From being an aggressive opener in ODIs to the mainstay of the Indian Test team at number 4, Tendulkar has done it all for India. The incredible feat of scoring 100 centuries in international cricket requires no introduction.
Tendulkar has scored big runs in all parts of the world and has a huge fan following. Be it Australia, New Zealand, West Indies, England or South Africa, he has conquered almost all bowlers from these countries.
His biggest cricketing moments would be winning the 2011 World Cup and attaining the numero uno status in Test cricket in 2010. A few other highlights of his career were the Test series win in England in 2007, the Test series win in West Indies in 2002, the Test series win in New Zealand in 2009, the historic Test series win against Pakistan in 2004, Test wins against Australia in Australia in 2003 and 2008, and against South Africa in South Africa in 2006 and 2010.
Tendulkar has achieved all that one cricketer can hope for in his international career. In a country with the expectations of billions of fans, he lived up to the expectations and then some.
Tendulkar has played a vital role in shaping many a youngster’s career. Yuvraj Singh, Virender Sehwag, Gautam Gambhir, Sourav Ganguly and even Virat Kohli have all acknowledged his influence in their batting.
Tendulkar continues to be a role model for many youngsters, not only in India but also around the world. India was fortunate to witness a legend like him for 24 years.
Tendulkar is a personality, but also an emotion. Even today in almost all stadiums across the country one can hear the chants of “SACHIN, SACHIN!”
There was and there will be only one Sachin Tendulkar - such has been his legacy. It is now up to the youngsters to follow his path and replicate his footsteps.
Many a cricketers come and go and a few leave their stamp on the game; Tendulkar's stamp was that he changed the way people define the game of cricket. He made aggressive batting in ODIs a risk-free endeavor, and combined purity of technique with incredible hand skills to score dozens of runs everywhere.
Some describe him as a living legend, some call him God, some call him Master Blaster. But to me, Tendulkar is a man who united all Indians when he batted and gave them pleasure by scoring big runs.
Even though we may never see him batting for India again, the image of Tendulkar’s straight drive will be everlasting in the minds of cricket fans the world over.
Here's wishing the legend a very happy 46th birthday.