KOLKATA: Batting genius Sachin Tendulkar on Tuesday completed 22 marathon years in international cricket, still awaiting a record 100th international ton. The Mumbaikar has gone without a century for the last eight months.
It was on November 15, 1989 that a shy 16-year-old Tendulkar made his debut for India under Krishnamachari Srikkanth in the Karachi Test against Pakistan, with cricketing pundits immediately professing the advent of a talent capable of breaking all batting records in the years to come. He made his ODI debut in the same tour at Gujranwala, and has never looked back.
Tendulkar now lies ninth in the list of players with the longest careers in Test cricket. English all-rounder Wilfred Rhodes holds the unique record of representing his country for 30 years 315 days from June 1, 1899 to April 12, 1930.
Englishmen Dennis Brown Close and Frank Wooley occupy the second and third place respectively. Close played Test cricket for 26 years 356 days, while Wooley’s career spanned 25 years 13 days.
Others ahead of Tendulkar are George Headley (West Indies), John Traicos (South Africa and Zimbabwe), Jack Hobbs (England), Geroge Gunn (England) and Syd Gregory (England).
With 15,086 runs under his belt in 183 Tests (till the first innings of the ongoing match against West Indies at Eden Gardens) and 18,111 in 453 ODIs, Tendulkar holds the record for the maximum number of appearances and being the highest run-getter in both forms. He also has to his credit the most number of hundreds – 51 in Tests and 48 in ODIs.
At 38 years, he is the second oldest Indian still playing international cricket after team mate Rahul Dravid.
Having carried the aspirations of millions of fans for over two decades, defying a number of injuries — including a career threatening tennis elbow — Tendulkar has emerged possibly one of the greatest icons the country has produced in all spheres of life.
Fans from Kashmir to Kanyakumari worship him, sponsors and endorsers stake their fortune on him confident of reaping rich dividends, and budding players know, who to look up to as role model.
On his part, Tendulkar has always steered clear of controversies on and off the field and played the gentleman’s game in its true spirit.
The century draught from Tendulkar’s blade has generated lot of debates and discussions. After day one of the ongoing Test at Eden, West Indies head coach Ottis Gibbs commented that the pressure of expectations from his huge Indians fans seem to be affecting Tendulkar.
After scoring a century in the Cape Town Test against South Africa, January 2, Sachin has failed to play even one triple figure knock in the 12 Test innings, the highest being 91 at Oval during India’s disastrous English tour in summer.
However, he did get two ODI hundreds during this time – 120 against England at Bangalore and 111 facing South Africa in Nagpur. The last one came March 12.
When Tendulkar started his ODI career, he took almost five years to get his maiden hundred that came in 1994 against Australia in Colombo. Then even Sunil Gavaskar commented that once he gets his first one, there will be no stopping him.
There has been no stopping the 5’5” talent, and one hopes the magic big ton comes soon.(IANS)