From the moment master blaster Sachin Tendulkar finally decided to quit, a lot has been written about him. People have written about his greatness, commitment, unparalleled records, hard work, will power, huge fan following, popularity, humbleness, charity and above all self-belief. Practically every aspect of his wonderful life and achievements has been highlighted. In fact, he is the most sought after person nowadays. I just intend to highlight one figure – 5,28,00,000 results in merely 0.15 seconds – this is what you get by searching for him on the internet. I have not heard of anyone else having such a Himalayan stature!!
One of the prominent book store owners in New Delhi once told me that Sachin has the most number of publications among sportspersons of the recent times. Now when he is going to play his last Ranji Trophy match in Haryana, it appears to be the right moment to remember a few of his memorable innings. Though this will always remain a debatable issue as to which innings was better.
Sharjah 1998 vs Australia
In April 1998, Sachin had played one of his best innings at Sharjah – in the final of the Coca Cola Cup against Australia. He had scored 134 runs in just 131 balls with 12 fours and 3 sixes. In fact, Shane Warne was in wonderful form those days, but Sachin played him very comfortably all over the field.
Bristol 1999 vs Kenya
Another great innings was played by Sachin against Kenya in May 1999, as a tribute to his father after his sudden death. This is a historical example underlining his unparalleled committed as a cricketer for the nation. Sachin had scored unbeaten 140 runs off 101 balls, consisting of 16 boundaries and 3 huge sixes. Someone had written that in this match, the real winner was the true sportsmanship displayed by the little master.
Hyderabad 1999 vs New Zealand
Next comes the unbeaten 186 runs off a meager 150 balls (20 fours and3 sixes) against New Zealand in Hyderabad in November 1999. This innings is still imprinted on the mind of millions of fans. Not only did India win by a huge margin of 174 runs, but Sachin also built a record 331 runs partnership for the second wicket along with Rahul Dravid. Incidentally, Dravid also scored 153 runs in that thrilling match.
Centurian 2003 vs Pakistan
At the super six stage of the 2003 world cup, his innings against Pakistan is still afresh in the memory of the fans. In this neck to neck encounter, Sachin’s brilliant knock of 98 runs in 75 balls, with 12 boundaries and one six, helped India win this match wherein Pakistan had made a huge score of 273 runs. With Sachin’s firebrand batting, India won by 6 wickets.
Rawalpindi 2004 vs Pakistan
Sachin had scored 141 runs in 135 balls (17 fours and 1 six) against Pakistan in March 2004 in Rawalpindi. Although India lost, but Sachin played brilliant shots all around the ground. The quality of this innings was exceptionally high.
Also, with an aggressive innings of 94 runs in 81 balls, (16 fours and 1 six) Sachin helped India chase down a huge target of 316 runs given by England at the Oval in September 2007. What made this knock even better was that it was played on England’s bouncy pitch. Sachin had a wonderful opening partnership of 150 runs with Saurav Ganguly.
Colombo 2007 vs Sri Lanka
Another great innings by Sachin came in 2007 against Sri Lanka at Colombo, where he scored 138 runs in just 133 deliveries, consisting of 10 fours and a six. As a result of this marvelous batting, not only did India win the Compaq Cup, but Sachin also got man of the match and man of the series awards.
March 2008 vs Australia
Sachin’s unbeaten 117 in 129 balls in Sydney in March 2008 helped India achieve a memorable win in the Commonwealth Bank tri-series against Australia. In November 2009, Sachin again displayed his wonderful batting skills and scored a huge 175 runs in just 141 balls with 19 fours and a six – that too against Australia in Hyderabad.
Gwalior 2010 vs South Africa
The last but not the least, which happens to be a personal favorite for the millions of his devotees, is perhaps the greatest one day innings in history. Sachin hit unbeaten 200 runs in an ODI against South Africa in February 2010, hitting 25 boundaries and 3 sixes. India won by a huge margin of 153 runs. Now this is what I call a divine experience, coming straight from the god of cricket.
Whatever Sachin gives us in the remaining three matches, it will not simply be like watching the game of cricket, it would be like worshiping to find a way to heaven. Once he is gone, there will be no fun watching cricket anymore. Please keep your public appearances frequent, as we need some time to get back to normal lifestyle.