Sachin Tendulkar will play his 200th and final test match tomorrow. That sentence may mean absolutely nothing to you. But then you can consider yourself in a minority, and should read on. When tickets went up online to watch this greatest of all Indian batsman’s swan song, the selling website received 19 million hits within the first hour. NINETEEN MIILLION people inquired after tickets. The ground doesn’t hold that many.
Whether we like it or not, Indian Cricket— and its governing body, the much-loved, virtuous, high-minded and incorruptible BCCI— is the driving force of the world game. The numbers just stack up against all else: Revenue and fan base for starters make other nations’ figures dwindle into insignificance. It’s difficult to put an exact figure on the audience in the sub-continent, but if you said 800 million people watch the game, you wouldn’t be a million miles away.
If the Poms and the Aussies think the world is anxiously awaiting another in a rather irritating extended run of Ashes Test matches, they might think again. The cricketing world at large is on the edge of its seat expectantly anticipating the last walk to the crease by this little man on his home ground in Mubai, desperate for him to do well.
In a nation increasingly force-fed the monotony & banality of Twenty20 Franchise Tournaments, served up on dirt-brown platters of lifeless wickets, it is somehow refreshing to know there is still interest in the longer form of the game — even if it is a one-off to recognise one of the greats. And while an ever-growing number of our sporting idols are being exposed as at best, cynics, at worst cheats, it’s been great to watch this man go about his business, not just brilliantly, but honestly, humbly and often with a smile on his face.
And as India is a country obsessed with stats, and cricket is a game which thrives off them, it’s worth having a quick butchers at a few numbers and quotes surrounding Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar:
Height : 5ft 5″ (1.65 metres)
Test Debut (vrs Pakistan) 1989, Karachi
In his debut first-class match for Bombay in the 1988/89 season, he scored 100 not-out aged 15 years 232 days
England Coach Andy Flower: “There are 2 kind of batsmen in the world. 1: Sachin Tendulkar. 2: all the others.”
Holds the record for scoring 1,000 One Day International runs in a calendar year, having done it six times, in 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000 and 2003
Shane Warne: “Sachin Tendulkar is, in my time, the best player without a doubt — daylight 2nd, Brian Lara 3rd.”
18,426 runs and 49 hundreds in ODIs
Test Best: 248 not out, which he made against Australia in 2004 at Sydney.
First batsman to hit a double-century in ODI cricket as he scored an unbeaten 200 against South Africa in Gwailor, February 2010.
199* Tests at 53.72 runs per innings.
President Barack Obama “I don’t know about cricket but still I watch cricket to see Sachin play. Not because I love his play but because I want to know the reason why my country’s production goes down by 5 per cent when he’s in batting.”