Sachin Tendulkar the greatest batsman in the history of the game, turns 45 today.
He made his debut as a 16-year-old against Pakistan, who boasted of a feared pace attack. Despite a bloodied nose and a few failures, the little boy from Dadar scaled new peaks and became the greatest batsman since the days of Don Bradman.
From the maidans of Mumbai, a baby-faced Sachin travelled the world, awed presidents and kings and tamed seamers, pacers and spinners across Australia, England, South Africa, West Indies and New Zealand.
In a quarter of a century, Tendulkar became a brand. Along the way, he broke records galore. 200 Tests, 100 international hundreds, 34357 international runs… You name them and he had them.
Tendulkar was born to play cricket. An entire generation of Indians, growing up, knew of little else behind hero-worshipping Sachin Tendulkar. Therefore, his retirement in the winter 2013 evoked sentiments hitherto unseen.
Durin Tendulkar’s farewell speech at the Wankhede, his home turf of decades, the Master Blaster was in years. And so were millions of Indians watching their hero on TV, one last time as an India cricketer.
Nearly five years after his retirement, India have found a new hero but the legacy of Sachin Tendulkar lives on.
As the master turns 45, we look back at a few of his records that might well be beyond the grasp of even the inimitable Virat Kohli. The 29-year-old India captain is within sight of Tendulkar’s world record ODI hundreds but he faces an uphill task to break some of his other records.
Let’s take a look:
200 Tests: Tendulkar became the first man to play 200 Tests in his final international match at the Wankhede Stadium in November 2013. Australian legends Ricky Ponting and Steve Waugh retired after playing 168 each.
Among active cricketers, England’s Alastair Cook (154) and James Anderson (136) are the closest to that 200-Test mark.
But both are past 30 and it does not seem likely either of them would ever breach the landmark of 200 Test matches.
15921 Test runs: The most by a batsman. Among active players, Cook was on course to challenge that record but his recent run of poor form might come in the way.
The former England captain still has some distance to go he has 12028 to his name. Hashim Amla, the South African batting mainstay has 8982 runs under his belt and is a moonlight away from the Master Blaster’s record.
100 international hundreds: The Master Blaster created history on March 16, 2012 when he became the first man to score 100 international hundreds.
Nobody would have predicted anyone coming remotely close to that feat almost six years later, Virat Kohli (56) and Hashim Amla (54).
Kohli could be the one to seriously challenge the 100-hundred mark but it would be a tall ask even for the super-consistent India captain. He is still only 44 hundreds away.
18426 ODI runs: Nothing is impossible in cricket and human endurance can break the toughest of barriers but this record is Tendulkar’s for years to come.
Among active players, MS Dhoni (9967), Kohli (9588), Chris Gayle (9585) and AB de Vulliers (9577) are closest and it is likely only Kohli will push hard toward the 18,000-run mark.
Kumar Sangakkara is second in the list of most ODI runs scored with 14234 under his belt!
96 half-centuries: Kohli might well be on his way to breaking Tendulkar’s record for most ODI hundreds but it will take some serious effort to go past those 96 half-centuries.
No man is likely to ever go past the record for most half-centuries in ODIs. The birthday boy played 463 ODIs and from 1989-2012, scored 49 centuries to go with 96 fifties.
Among active players, only Kohli stands a chance of getting anywhere near Tendulkar but he is still 50 fifties away. So we’ll have to talk about those later.>