Sachin Tendulkar is one of the most famous batsmen in cricket. He made his debut in 1989. Since then he has made his mark within the game in a number of ways. He currently holds the record for the highest number of centuries in one-day international games. He is also the second highest test scorer.
His prodigious talent has led him to be compared to the likes of the great Don Bradman and Sir Viv Richards. In 2002, he was rated second greatest test-cricketer and best ODI batsman of all time. He has achieved iconic status in his native India and has earned millions of pounds through endorsements and advertising schemes. His diminutive stature (at a mere 5’’4’) has led him to be affectionately referred to as 'the Little Master.'
Born in Bombay, India in 1973, Tendulkar had initially attempted to develop his skills as a pace bowler. However, after being told by the legendary Dennis Lillee to ‘concentrate on his batting’ he directed his attentions to an aspect of the game for which he would soon gain international recognition.
His school years were marked by a number of batting exploits that were tell-tale signs of what he was to achieve in the future. Together with a fellow Bombay batsman, he struck a massive 320 runs during an inning of a domestic game, quite literally reducing the bowler to tears.
A right-hand batsman, Tendulkar’s achievements in international cricket are numerous. Here’s the lowdown on some of his greatest cricketing exploits.
- He was the leading run scorer in the 1996 Cricket World Cup. He had the highest batting average of the participating players and scored two centuries during the tournament.
- He hit three consecutive centuries during Australia’s tour of India in the 1998 test season.
- In the 2003 World Cup, Tendulkar was once again the leading run scorer. He hit a whopping 673 runs from 11 matches. He won the man of the series award during this tournament, despite the fact that the Australians went on to retain the World Cup title.
- In December 2005, Tendulkar broke the world record for the greatest number of test centuries in international cricket. He hit what was to be his 35th test century while batting against Sri Lanka.
- Tendulkar hit his 41st century in one-day international cricket in January 2001. He currently has 17 more ODI centuries than Sanath Jayasuriya, the player with the second highest number of ODI hundreds.
- In honour of his achievements, he was awarded the prestigious title of ‘Wisden Cricketer of the Year’ in 1997, the first year in which he hit 1,000 runs in international test cricket.
- Tendulkar went on to repeat this batting feat during the 1999, 2001 and 2002 seasons. Tendulkar has hit a thousand runs or more in ODI cricket during seven different seasons. He currently holds the record for the highest number of runs hit during a single year - 1894 runs in 1999.
- In July 2007, Tendulkar became only the third batsman to hit 11,000 runs in test cricket.
- Tendulkar is recognised principally for his batting prowess. However, he is also an accomplished bowler and has formed an integral part of the Indian team’s bowling attack on a number of occasions. He bowls everything from medium-pace to off-spin and has been instrumental in breaking key opposition partnerships. Currently, he has over 150 ODI wickets to his name.
Despite these obvious achievements, Tendulkar’s career has seen many ups and downs. In recent years, his performance has been marred by injury. In July 2006, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) stated that Tendulkar would be unavailable for selection until his injury issues were solved. Following his return to apparent form, however, there appeared to be little improvement in his actual match performance. The 2007 World Cup was one of the lowest points in his career.
He hit a total of 64 runs during India’s three-match campaign, with 56 of these runs being hit against Bermuda, a team with little international experience. Writing in one of India’s most popular newspapers, the Indian coach, Greg Chappell, controversially asked Tendulkar to resign.
Given this pressure, it comes as little surprise that in 2007 alone, Tendulkar has been dismissed for scores between 90 and 100 runs on seven occasions - a telltale sign of a nervous batsman. In November 2007, Tendulkar was offered the job of Indian test captain. He declined citing personal reasons.
In the main, Tendulkar has not been affected by the match fixing scandals which have featured prominently in international cricket in recent years. He was, on one occasion, accused of ball tampering during a match against South Africa. However, these charges were later revoked after investigations suggested that there was insufficient evidence to ascertain Tendulkar’s guilt.
Off the field
Sachin Tendulkar is idolized by thousands of Indians, particularly in his hometown of Bombay. He is also very much the savvy businessman. He owns a number of up-market restaurants in the Indian cities of Bombay and Bangalore. Since the 1990s, Tendulkar has appeared in numerous television and newspaper commercials for products ranging from credit cards to milk. Tendulkar is currently the face of Pepsi and Adidas in India. On a less serious note, he is also set to feature as a superhero in a comic strip aimed at Indian children. The comic strip is to be produced in association with Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Media. To find out more, click here.
A number of Tendulkar’s critics have suggested that his below-par performance in recent years can be attributed to a preoccupation with his business ventures and advertising campaigns. Whether this has indeed been the case is difficult to ascertain. However, it is clear that Sachin Tendulkar is one of the greatest batsman in international cricket. Even in the twilight of his career, millions across the world keenly follow Tendulkar’s performance on the cricket field.