Thursday, March 17, 2005

Joining The Band Of Five

The little master joined a pretty exclusive club today: Sunil Gavaskar, Allan Border, Steve Waugh, Brian Lara and now Sachin Tendulkar – the five who have scored 10,000 test runs. It's quite an achievement: the same number of innings as Lara and an average considerably better than the others at 57.80. I've only seen him batting twice: in a one-day international against England in 1996 when he was dismissed for a single; and amid the cacophony of the India vs Pakistan World Cup game at Old Trafford in 1999 when he scored a solid 45. So I've never seen him at the top of his form. But there's no doubt that he is one of the greats; Bradman thought of Tendulkar as the best of his generation.

There are tributes all over the place. But I especially like this piece of old-fashioned purple prose from Dileep Premachandran on the impact of the young Tendulkar:

Those innings embellished a legend that had its genesis on the dusty maidans of Mumbai school cricket, where he and his ebony-hued comrade, Vinod Kambli, had laid waste a string of run-scoring records. By the time Tendulkar was 15, Kapil Dev had bowled to him in the nets, while Sunil Gavaskar and Dilip Vengsarkar had already earmarked him for greatness.

As the years passed, more and more layers of delicate gold leaf – many against the all-conquering Australians – would add lustre to a cricketing deity quite unlike any seen before.
Over-the-top but he's been a truly wonderful player.


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