So much has been written by all of us (including me), about this one man over the last three decades, over and over again, that there remains nothing more left for me to add. And hence I won’t even make an attempt this time. The statistics, the sheer weight of numbers and records this guy has churned out over the course of his cricketing career, one might run out of superlatives and adjectives in attempting to describe them.

ESPN Cricinfo describes him as “perhaps the most complete batsman and the most worshiped cricketer in the world, Tendulkar holds just about every batting record worth owning in the game, including those for most runs and hundreds in Tests and ODIs, and most international runs.

And seriously, 49954 runs (and counting!) in top-level cricket in 25 years. I mean, no man before or no man after can come even close to this!

So what is it about this man, India’s player number 187 in Tests and number 74 in ODIs, that makes him special? Again, enough has already been said. But yet, he continues to remain so grounded, humble and retains the same charm, mystery and hunger to succeed that first marked him from the rest, since he was a 12-year old playing in the Kanga League in one of the many maidans of Bombay.

I suggest you watch his first ever television interview on YouTube.

Can anybody even tell watching that kid, or does he himself know at that point of time, that he is marked for greatness?


He began playing for India the year I was born. His international career is as old as I am. I have grown up watching this man, idolizing him, just like every kid my age. And I must admit, close to 24 years hence, I am still in awe of him, just as much.

Just to give you an idea, I will share something I uncovered (which also is the reason I am writing this today) and which got me all nostalgic, I ended up reminiscing my starry-eyed teenage years, all those years ago. I found this incomplete set of sheets on which I had made a vague and vain attempt to recollect and pen down details of every single innings of the man I could remember, and the circumstances under which they came.

I shall end it with a status update I had posted on my Facebook page on his 40th birthday:

Especially during the 90s, every time you stepped out, a billion eyes followed you. We forgot our daily troubles and differences in the moment when you batted. We took pride in watching you demolish opposition bowlers. We saw our hope in your success. Every time you scored a century, it made our day. You have arguably been India’s most-loved son in the post-Gandhian era. And today, as you turned forty, Mumbai and the rest of India celebrated with you. We still adore you the way we did since when you were a teenager, and we will always be proud of you. You are the man. You are a legend. You are my hero. You are Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.

Says it all.

Sachin Tendulkar
Memorable Innings

(Reproduced as is)

  1. 1998, ICC Knockout Championship, Dhaka
    Opponent: Australia
    Sometime in October, Dusshera vacations and this knock turned me into a fan of Sachin. What an innings – 140! It was like he drank Boost after every over. He was particularly harsh on Damien Fleming. Sachin came back to take 4 wickets to wrap up a memorable victory. We watched this match in Jnanesh’s house.
  2. 1999, ICC World Cup, Manchester
    Opponent: Pakistan
    Sachin made 45 before he became out. I only remember that India won the match. We were in Kalbagh, Kumta.
  3. 1999, Bilateral series, India
    Opponent: New Zealand
    Tendulkar was in top form. We could not watch as we were on our way to Haridwar. Tendulkar made 186* and India made 376 and won the match comfortably. It is both their highest totals till date.
  4. 1999, ICC World Cup, Taunton
    Opponent: Kenya
    Sachin returned midway following his father’s sudden demise and made a superb 140* to help India win.
  5. 1998, ICC Knockout Championship, Dhaka
    Opponent: Kenya
    Chasing 194, Sachin in the company of Saurav made a century and completed the chase in style.
  6. 1998, Nidahas Trophy, Colombo
    Opponent: Sri Lanka

    I saw this match in Yedalli. Both Sachin and Saurav slammed centuries and India made 252/0. Then both fell within the space of a couple of balls. Azhar, Jadeja, Robin and Mongia then took the total past 300. India won the match.
  7. 2005, Test series, Delhi
    Opponent: Sri Lanka
    This one kept a long time in coming. And when it did, an entire nation stood up to cheer. He came frustratingly close to scoring the all-important 35th ton a couple of times, like in Mohali against Pakistan in 2004-2005, when he was out on 94. It was certainly not his best in terms of beauty. But it was without doubt one of the most difficult ones to make. He made 109.
  8. 1990, Test series, Old Trafford
    Opponent: England
    119*. His first century at age 17. It made him the second youngest ever to make a test century. India made 432 in reply to England’s 519 in the first innings. Chasing 407, India were 109/4, Sachin walked in and played an innings of immense maturity. He batted for four hours hitting elegant drives off the back foot and precise cuts. His 119 not out in 171 balls with 14 fours ensured India drew the match.
  9. 2004, Test series, Mohali
    Opponent: Pakistan
    Just about to break Sunil Gavaskar’s record of 35 centuries, he was out on 94. India won the match.
  10. 1992, Test series, Perth
    Opponent: Australia
    Sachin himself considers this knock his finest. His 114 came in 135 balls with 14 fours. This was his second century of the series. India lost the test and the series.
  11. 1992, Test series, Sydney
    Opponent: Australia
    Shane Warne’s debut game, Ravi Shastri scored a double century, Sachin scored 148 in 213 balls with 14 fours. India drew the match.
  12. 2001, Test series, Bloemfontein
    Opponent: South Africa
    One of the most ferocious counter attacks seen in modern cricket. Some even term it savage. Virender Sehwag’s debut game, India were 68/4. He took 17 balls to score his first run and another 97 to score the hundred. Then he unleashed his upper cut- the lofted shot over the slip cordon again and again. Though South Africa won the test by 9 wicket, Shaun Pollock, Makhaya Ntini and Nantie Hayward were battered and bruised. His 155 contained 23 fours and 1 six.
  13. 1997, Test series, Cape Town
    Opponent: South Africa
    A test made memorable by the calculated assault of Sachin and Azhar. The two produced a thriller from the hopeless position of 58/5. They both scored contrasting centuries. Sachin was at his classical best. Allan Donald described the knock as fabulous. Sachin’s was the last wicket to fall after an enthralling 331 minutes. He made 169.
  14. 1998, Test series, Chennai
    Opponent: Australia
    Sachin made a record 9 centuries in 1998, none better than the 155 against the Aussies in Chennai. In the first innings, he was caught by Mark Waugh off Shane Warne in slip. In the second innings, it rained fours and sixes on Warne. I have the distinction of having watched this innings in Delhi. His 15th hundred gave him another man of the match award as India won the series 2-1.
  15. 1996, Test series, Nottingham
    Opponent: England
    Saurav Ganguly’s debut tour saw him scoring his second consecutive hundred. But Sachin dominated in this test. His 177 had 23 boundaries. He was particularly harsh on Dominic Cork as he hit him for a string of straight drives. India drew the test but lost the series 0-1.
  16. 1999, Test series, Chennai
    Opponent: Pakistan
    I saw this one too in Delhi. This innings had a billion people standing with their hearts in their mouths. Arch rivals Pakistan had come visiting after a gap of 12 years. Chasing 271 on Day 5, India were 82/5. Then, upset with his partner for playing a rash shot and getting out, Sachin tried to hit his way out of the pain in his back. Sadly for him, his dismissal off Saqlain Mushtaq after 136 meant that India lost the match.
  17. 1997, Test series, Edgbaston
    Opponent: England
    Sachin slammed his 9th century which came with a straight six over the bowler’s head. Sachin rates this innings as second only to the Perth sizzler. Nasser Hussain, who also scored a century was man of the match, but Sachin deserved it for his 122.
  18. 2004, Test series, Sydney
    Opponent: Australia
    A series of ducks in the previous tests,  Sachin brought the fourth test at Sydney alive. It was Steve Waugh’s farewell match. Sachin made 241* and India declared at 705. Though the Aussies managed to cling on to a draw, India retained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
  19. 2004, Test series, Multan
    Opponent: Pakistan
    Virender Sehwag’s match for that 309 which he scored. Sachin partnered him and himself scored his 33rd century. He was about to reach his double century when Parthiv Patel got out and Dravid declared, leaving him stranded on 194*. He became the first batsman to score 490 runs-odd without being dismissed. This innings came immediately after the 241* in Sydney. India won the match and the series 2-1.
  20. 2004, Test series, Dhaka
    Opponent: Bangladesh
    His record-equalling 34th ton. I only remember this innings for the record-breaking last wicket century partnership with Zaheer Khan. Zaheer made 75 and Sachin made 248*. India won the match and the series.
  21. 2003, ICC World Cup, Paarl
    Opponent: Holland
    A relaxed 52 and a balloon catch to wicket keeper Jeroen Smits were the highlights. India were all out for 204 but won the match.
  22. 2003, ICC World Cup, Centurion
    Opponent: Australia
    Another Indian collapse. Sachin stood out with his 36, getting out while shuffling across to Gillespie. India could manage just 125, despite a Harbhajan cameo which included a six off Brett Lee.
  23. 2003, ICC World Cup, Harare
    Opponent: Zimbabwe
    I had to go to school, but came back just in time to see Zimbabwe collapse, and an Indian win. For the record, Sachin made a typical 81.
  24. 2003, ICC World Cup, Pietermaritzburg
    Opponent: Namibia
    Sachin and Saurav both slammed centuries as India made 311. Sachin was bowled after making an entertaining 152 runs in 151 balls. The highlight was Sachin’s rocket straight drive, which missed umpire David Shepherd’s head by an inch or two!
  25. 2003, ICC World Cup, Durban
    Opponent: England
    A hook off Andrew Caddick over mid-wicket for a six for sledging too much. Sachin made a quick fire 50, but got out caught by Collingwood off Flintoff immediately after drinks break. India won the match. Ashish Nehra 6/23.
  26. 2003, ICC World Cup, Centurion
    Opponent: Pakistan
    Wow! His best innings so far out of all the ones I have ever watched. What an innings! 98 runs in 75 balls. Chasing 274, he began by cutting Shoaib Akhtar for a six in his first over, followed by two sweet cover drives. He was dropped when on 22 by Razzaq off Akram. He was eventually dismissed by Akhtar. Dravid and Yuvraj then finished the match by scoring half-centuries. Anwar earlier had scored his last century in his farewell match.
  27. 2003, ICC World Cup, Cape Town
    Opponent: Kenya
    Sachin made only 5, but India won this crucial match.
  28. 2003, ICC World Cup, Johannesburg
    Opponent: Sri Lanka
    Tendulkar was in his elements again. A quick fire 97 set up the tone. He was dismissed trying to sweep Aravinda de Silva and ballooning it to the wicket keeper. India made 292 and bowled Sri Lanka out for 109. Sachin was the Man of the Match.
  29. 2003, ICC World Cup, Centurion
    Opponent: New Zealand
    Chasing a modest 148 after Zaheer Khan took 4 wickets to reduce New Zealand, Sachin began with a flourish, slamming 3 fours off Shane Bond. Then he perished in a flash, making just 15.
  30. 2003, ICC World Cup semifinal, Durban
    Opponent: Kenya
    Chasing 226, Sachin’s 83 was instrumental in taking India to the finals in this crucial semifinal.
  31. 2003, ICC World Cup final, Johannesburg
    Opponent: Australia
    A final in the bull ring (The Wanderers) and India chasing 350 to win the World Cup. So much excitement and pressure, Sachin maybe couldn’t handle it. After pulling McGrath for a boundary in the very first over, he was out caught and bowled after trying a similar one, ending India’s World Cup hopes.
  32. 2006, DLF Cup, Kuala Lumpur
    Opponent: West Indies
    Sachin Tendukar’s comeback series following the toe/ankle and tennis elbow injuries, a magnificent 141* against West Indies set the tone for a great season ahead.
  33. 2005, Bilateral series, Nagpur
    Opponent: Sri Lanka
    Tendulkar silenced his critics who were insisting retirement as the best option for him, with a quick fire 93 signalling his return to form.
  34. 2004, Bilateral series, Rawalpindi
    Opponent: Pakistan
    Chasing an improbable 317, Sachin was the lone man standing. His innings of 141 kept Indian hopes alive. His dismissal meant India lost the match.
  35. 2004, Bilateral series, Karachi
    Opponent: Pakistan
    Tendulkar gave India a great start, though he could contribute only 28. India made 349. Chasing, Pakistan required 6 off the last ball, but Moin Khan was out caught by Zaheer off Nehra. A thrilling 5-run victory for India!
  36. 2007, Bilateral series, Vadodara
    Opponent: West Indies
    Coming in at No. 4, a 76-ball 100* helped India notch up a total of 341. India won the match easily.
  37. 2007, Bilateral series, Margao
    Opponent: Sri Lanka
    Chasing 230, India were going strong and being boosted initially by a 5-wicket haul from Zaheer Khan, India won the match though Tendulkar managed just 1 run in 8 balls.
  38. 2007, Bilateral series, Rajkot
    Opponent: Sri Lanka
    Chasing 257, India were going strong at 120/2 in 20 overs, with both Sachin and Saurav having made fifties. Sachin was on 54 when he suddenly stepped out and got stumped. India simply lost it after that.
  39. 2007, ICC World Cup Warm Up, Trelawny
    Opponent: Netherlands
    A warm up match. Sachin made a 61 runs in 59 balls in a century partnership with Rahul Dravid (74). India comfortably won the match.
  40. 2006, ICC Champions Trophy, Jaipur
    Opponent: England
    Chasing a modest 125, Sachin made 35 and India won the match.
  41. 2006, ICC Champions Trophy, Ahmedabad
    Opponent: West Indies
    Sachin made 29 and India 223/9. West Indies won with just 2 balls to spare in what was a thrilling contest.
  42. 2006, ICC Champions Trophy, Mohali
    Opponent: Australia

    Sachin made 10 and was dismissed by McGrath (again!) as India made a respectable 249/8, but Australia chased it down without much fuss.
  43. 2003, TVS Cup, Chennai
    Opponent: New Zealand
    A match abandoned due to rain but not before Sachin had made a fluent 48*.
  44. 2003, TVS Cup, Gwalior
    Opponent: Australia
    Sachin’s favourite opponents on Diwali day, and a beautiful century. VVS Laxman also score a century as India won the match after setting the Australians a 284 run target.
  45. 2003, TVS Cup, Mumbai
    Opponent: Australia
    Chasing 286, a fast-paced 68 (76) was not enough as Australia beat India at Sachin’s home ground.
  46. 2003, TVS Cup, Cuttack
    Opponent: New Zealand
    A rare failure from Sachin’s bat in 2003 and a shock defeat for India. Sachin made 14 runs in 14 balls.
  47. 2003, TVS Cup, Bangalore
    Opponent: Australia
    A superb 89 runs in 91 balls, chasing 347. Same story, India lost again, like a repeat of the World Cup final earlier that year.
  48. 2003, TVS Cup, Hyderabad
    Opponent: New Zealand
    Of no real consequence as India had already made it to the finals, Sachin and Sehwag charged the Black Caps with a thrilling 182-run opening stand. Sachin made 102 runs in just 91 balls and Sehwag made 130, his highest one day score, as India made 353 following a 22-ball fifty from Dravid (3 sixes). India won without much fuss.
  49. 2003, TVS Cup Final, Kolkata
    Opponent: Australia
    A perfect final in front of a capacity Eden Gardens crowd. India did well to restrict Australia to 235. Sachin’s dismissal after he had made 45 meant India lost the match narrowly, despite Agarkar’s late charge. Sachin was declared the Man of the Series for his 466 runs from 512 balls in 7 innings, 2 fifties and 2 hundreds and 1 not out, at an average of 77.67 and a strike rate of 91.02!
  50. 2007, ICC World Cup, Port of Spain
    Opponent: Bangladesh
    Not at all his day. He made just 7 (in 26 balls!) and was out caught behind to Mohammad Rafique. India lost the match.
  51. 2007, ICC World Cup, Port of Spain
    Opponent: Bermuda
    India made 413/5 in 50 overs, their highest so far. Sachin contributed with 57* in just 29 balls, 2 fours and 4 sixes. Sehwag made 114, and Yuvraj (83), Saurav (89) slammed half centuries too. India won by 257 runs, the highest victory margin in World Cups.
  52. 2007, ICC World Cup, Port of Spain
    Opponent: Sri Lanka
    India did well to restrict Sri Lanka to 254/6 in 50 overs. Sachin made a 3-ball duck. India lost and were out of the World Cup, their worst performance in a World Cup since 1979.

Sachin Tendulkar in ODIs in 2003

Matches 21
Innings 21
Not Outs 1
Runs 1141
Balls 1306
100s 3
50s 8
Highest Score 152
Average 57.05
Strike Rate 87.37
Man of the Match Awards 4
Man of the Series Awards 2

It was at that time, 9% of his total runs (12,685), 12.5% of his total fifties (64), 8.33% of his total hundreds (36), but just 5.61% of his total matches! His 14th year in international cricket saw him in his peak form.


Update (Thursday, 28 November 2013):
Sachin Tendulkar retired from international cricket on 16 November 2013. By the time he retired, he had amassed 50192 runs, and currently holds 69 world records, which I am sure is a world record in itself!

Continue to 10 DULKAR : Part II.
Also read Why do Indians Love Cricket?


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