Posts Tagged ‘Sachin Tendulkar’


IPL 6 FINAL

Finally Mumbai Indians win the IPL trophy, and with this the most star-studded team finally get a hold of the trophy that eluded them for the last 5 years. And with this Sachin Tendulkar gets hold of a probably the only trophy that was missing from his trophy cabinet.

Mumbai Indians have always been a heavy spender at the IPL auctions trying to get hold of players that could possibly win them the trophy. They had won the Champions League in 2011 but somehow IPL trophy has eluded them. This year around they made many strategic changes like appointing Anil Kumble as the mentor, John Wright as the chief coach, and Ricky Ponting as the captain. This gave the world the opportunity to watch Sachin and Ponting open the innings together, definitely a breath-taking sight.

Though Ricky Ponting in the playing eleven did not work for them, but the courageous step of dropping him from the playing eleven and appointing Rohit Sharma as the captain proved to be a master stroke. Though I do believe that Ponting would have played a huge role from the sidelines, of mentoring Sharma to take on the captaincy.

Also Mumbai was one of the strongest team in the IPL with a very strong bowling attack of Jhonson, Harbhajan, Malinga, and Ojha (and all the other youngsters that got a chance proved themselves). Again the batting was bolstered by Karthikh, Sharma, Pollard, and Smith in supreme form ably supported by Rayudu and Sachin when required. But what took the cake was their fielding. Ponting and Pollard were involved in some breath taking catches, and their ground fielding was also superb with the likes of Sharma, Rayudu and Smith diving around and why should it not have been when they were being mentored by none other than Jhonty Rhodes.

Finally Mumbai Indians lived up to the expectations of their fans and they created that magic by being unbeaten at their home venue (Wankhede Stadium, Mumbai).

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But to be honest I am not really sure if all the Mumbai Indian fans were excited by this victory, as soon after the victory, came the announcement that Sachin had retired from the IPL. Probably we might get to see him one last time in the Champions League donning the MI clothing. I don’t know if the IPL would remain the same from next year with the absence of Sachin. Also, I am not sure for myself, as my alliances have been with Mumbai Indians for all these six years and that has largely been due to Sachin’s presence in the team. Though maybe he still would be around next year in a mentor’s role but I am not sure if my alliances would still remain with the team.

Also, came the announcement from Rahul Dravid from IPL, unfortunately since he is out from international cricket, this year’s Champions League would probably be the last time we would get to see him play on the screen. Again, towards the end IPL was surrounded by this spot fixing controversy. I really don’t know, why would any player indulge in such an activity, as IPL already a very high paying league, and all this has done is brought dejection towards the league in the minds of the fans all over the world.

All I can hope is that IPL would remain the same as it has been over the past 6 years with or without legends like Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid, and amidst all the spot fixing haphazard that happened this year.

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Sachin Tendulkar turned 40 yesterday, and as I could not write down a post yesterday, I believe it is never too late to wish the legend. So I would like to take this opportunity to wish him a very happy birthday and also thank him for all the glorious days of cricket I got to witness when he played for India, whether be it in tests or in ODIs. And his records in both the formats speak for themselves.

It is really unfortunate that he announced his retirement from ODI cricket in December, or else he could have become the first Indian to do so. Anyways, he missed on the longest ODI career due to his retirement, and since he did not play an ODI since Feb 2012, that would be considered as his last day of ODI career irrespective of the fact that he announced his retirement from the format in December. Though I would have loved to have watch him play against Pakistan in that series, and it could have been a fitting end to a career and against a team with which it all started in 1989. Though now he would seventh Indian player to play test cricket in his 40s, and the first to do it after since 1960, but this is subject to the fact that he should play a test match after this. Hopefully he would play against South Africa towards the end of the year. The most precious memory of his birthday I have is of 15 years back in 1998, when he turned 25, and when he smashed the Australian bowlers all around the ground to win the series. Yesterday he could not play a big innings against Kolkata Knight Riders, and was dismissed cheaply, but yes his team did not let him down and spoil his birthday party.

Anyways, I would want to wish him a very happy birthday again, and I hope to see him soon playing the test matches, and playing it for a few more years.

Sachin_turns_40


miNow this is something the cricketing word would be looking forward to, seeing Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting bat together. Ohh, what a sight it is going to be. Hopefully, we would get to see this in this years’ IPL as Mumbai Indians have bought Ricky Ponting in this years’ auction. Though he has been bought at the base price (maybe because he has retired and also as he was not in a great form before his retirement). Mumbai are known for such partnerships as in the first two seasons, it was Sachin opening along with Sanath Jayasurya, another legend from the shorter form of the game (The top two ODI run getters of that time). And now it could be Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting opening together (The top two test run getters).

The other buys in this season for Mumbai Indians were, Phillip Hughes, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile, and Jacob Oram. Well Jacob Oram is always a great buy because of his all-round capabilities, but I am not sure of Glenn Maxwell especially since he has been bought for a million dollars. Not sure whether he is worth that hefty amount especially when you are not sure whether he is going to make it to the playing eleven. Mumbai did not buy any Indian player this time (there were hardly in the auctions though), and again look a little weak on the Indian bench strength, but surely have the players that can take the team to the title.

The complete list of players is:
Sachin Tendulkar, Harbhajan Singh, Rohit Sharma, Munaf Patel, Amitoze Singh, Dinesh Karthik, Pragyan Ojha, Ambati Rayudu, Dhawal Kulkarni, Abu Nechim Ahmed, Aditya Tare, Pawan Suyal, Suryakumar Yadav, Sushant Marathe, Yuzvendra Chahal, Rishi Dhawan, Jalaj Saxena, Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, Aiden Blizzard, James Franklin, Mitchell Johnson, Dwayne Smith, Ricky Ponting, Phillip Hughes, Glenn Maxwell, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jacob Oram.

To be honest, the seven Indian players that would make it to the eleven would be:
Sachin Tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Dinesh Karthik, Ambati Rayudu, Harbhajan Singh / Pragyan Ojha (As I don’t see both the spinners playing together), Munaf Patel, Dhawal Kulkarni / Abu Nechim Ahmed.
(On second thoughts there can be a high possibility of playing both Harbhajan and Ojha in the team and that would mean only 1 from Munaf Patel, Dhawal Kulkarni, Abu Nechim Ahmed and in that case it would be Munaf, provided he is fit, else it could be Dhawal). But this would impact the selection of the 4 foreign players to a large extent.

The four foreign players that would make it to the eleven should be:
Kieron Pollard, Lasith Malinga, James Franklin / Mitchell Johnson / Jacob Oram, Ricky Ponting / Dwayne Smith
(To be honest, Pollard and Malinga undoubtedly make it to the eleven if fit. The other two slots would be depending on the requirement, whether they need two all-rounders, or 1 all-rounder and fast bowler, or all-rounder and a batsman, or a fast bowler and a batsman. Given that Johnson is primarily be a fast bowler but can also fill in the all-rounders spot. With the entry of Oram, Franklin’s selection looks difficult unless he used as an opening batsman.)

The most probable eleven looks like:
Opener – Sachin Tendulkar
Opener – James Franklin / Dwayne Smith
No. 3 – Ricky Ponting
No. 4 – Rohit Sharma
No. 5 – Dinesh Karthik
No. 6 – Ambati Rayudu
No. 7 – Kieron Pollard (Number 5, 6, and 7 can rotate depending on the match situation)
No. 8 – Harbhajan Singh
No. 9 – Lasith Malinga
No. 10 – Munaf Patel / Dhawal Kulkarni (Dhawal only in case Munaf is unfit)
No. 11 – Pragyan Ojha
12th Man – Mitchell Johnson
This gives them 4 bowlers (2 quick and 2 spinners) and 3 part timers in Pollard, Smith / Franklin, and Sharma. This looks like the team that would play in the eleven. But I somehow feel, with Munaf out of action for a long time, and Harbhajan not in great form off late, this looks like a weak bowling attack, with only Malinga the saving grace. Also in the batting, apart from Smith at the top and Pollard in the end they don’t have players can play big shots. All of Sachin, Ricky, Sharma, Karthik, Rayudu would be players who take time at the crease before playing big shots.

The other option could be play, Johnson instead of Smith / Franklin, which could look a good bowling attack, but that means a depleted batting. Especially in this case who would open with Sachin from Ponting, or Sharma, or Karthik, or the poor Rayudu (he has had to perform many different roles every season)? This would be surprising.

This is why I feel that they really don’t have big Indian names in the lineup, and the ones that they have are not really in great form. They have always tried to have a great foreign players bench strength, but that does not really matter as only 4 of them can play and of them Malinga and Pollard take the spots, leaving to a lot of choices for the remaining 4 spots.

Also, I have included Ponting in the playing eleven, because of his captaincy. With Sachin, having to take the captaincy again when Harbhjan stepped down, I think Ponting can be given the responsibility since Sachin too wasn’t very keen on captaincy.

Anyways all I can hope is that the team plays well, and wins its first title this year.

Ricky_Sachin


It has been a few days now, since Sachin Tendulkar announced his retirement from the ODI format. I have always wanted to write on that, but have been very emotional since then that I have not really been able to write something substantial enough to post here. I would surely do that in the coming days. Also, I would really like to add that I am very disappointed with the manner he quit the game. It would have been great had he played against Pakistan and then announced his retirement. he truely deserved a send off from the field. And with retiring against Pakistan, it would just have been special as he made his debut against the same opponent 23 years ago. But now is ODI innings is over and I all I can hope is that he does not hang up his Test boots soon. Also, as a huge fan all I can hope is that BCCI can convince Sachin to play at least 1 ODI against Pakistan to get a fitting farewell to an ODI career. But I guess that this would only be a dream.

In the meanwhile, as I have written that I wanted to write a lot on Sachin but just could not pen done anythig substantial enough, I came accross this article written by Harsha Bhogle as a letter to Sachin Tendulkar. This is a very touching one, and does give a great tribute to the genuis so I thought of putting that here till the time I can write a tribute to the great man. Here is the original article:

Dear Sachin,

I guess this means the countdown has begun. It couldn’t have been easy for you since cricket has been your life, your solitary love outside of family. I know there are cars and music and seafood, and, as I recently realised, the odd glass of wine, but a bat was what you were meant to hold, and it is with one that you mesmerised a nation and a sport. I wondered if you could have given up Test cricket and stayed on in one-day internationals – until you told me it takes a lot out of you. And you were never one to give less than a 100%.

I guess your body finally won. It had been giving you signals – that permanently cracked bone in your toe, the struggle to get out of bed when the back played up, that elbow… ah, that’s a different story altogether, but you always overruled it. It must have sulked but you forced more out of it than anyone else. It was bound to serve notice one day. I mean, you will be 40 soon; people get reading glasses at 40.

But you leave behind an aspect of cricket that you defined. There will be comparisons with other greats in Test cricket, and you will be a chapter in its history, but with the one-dayer, you are its history, in a sense, certainly for India, where you played in more than half the games (463 out of 809). The team had played a mere 165 games before you started, and it is a measure of the impact you had that there were only 17 centuries scored by then. India made a century every 9.70 games. After you started, that number comes down dramatically, to one every 3.52 games. And since that first century, in Colombo, it comes down even further, to one every 3.23 games. To think that you started with two ducks.

Now, of course, the kids keep notching up the hundreds. This young fellow Kohli, for example, who plays with your intensity but whose vocabulary I guess you would struggle with!

Looking back, I can’t imagine it took you 78 games to hit a hundred. But then you were floating around in the batting order, spending too much time not being in the thick of it all. I can see why you were so desperate to open the batting in Auckland that day in 1994. Why, when you told me the story of how you pleaded with Ajit Wadekar and Mohammad Azharuddin to give you one opportunity, you sounded like you were still pleading. But I guess you had a history of wanting to be in battle, like that misty night in Kolkata (it was Calcutta in your youth, wasn’t it?) when you took the ball in the 50th over with just six to defend and delivered a win.

It seems impossible to imagine that you averaged a mere 30.84 till that day in Auckland, and that you dawdled along at a strike rate of 74. Since then you averaged 47 at a strike rate of 87. It was a marriage meant to be.

I remember that afternoon in Colombo when you approached your first hundred. It had to be Australia, and you were in sublime touch, and you so wanted that first one. You made 110 in 130 balls, but oh, you agonised over those last 15 runs before you got to the century. In a sense, it was like that with the last one too, wasn’t it? It was in those moments only that you were a bit like us, that you wanted something so badly, you let it affect your game. But between those two, you were always so much fun, in that belligerent, ruthless, adolescent first phase, in your second, rather more mature and calculated, existence, and of course in that joyous last. What fun that was. The 163 in Christchurch, the 175 in Hyderabad, that 200 in Gwalior, the 120 in Bangalore, the 111 in Nagpur. If it hadn’t been for that devilish 100th, would you have continued playing the same way? That 100th hurt you, didn’t it, as it did all of us, and I guess we didn’t help you by not letting you forget. When the big occasion came, you always played it like another game, even though you knew it was a big day, like those two classics in CB Series finals in 2008, or, of course, those unbelievable nights in Sharjah in 1998. But this 100th took away four or five more.

Somebody said to me he didn’t want you to quit because it would mean his childhood was over. It isn’t just them. Just as the child in you never grew up, so too did many grizzled old men become children when they saw you in blue 

I know how disappointed you were after the 2007 World Cup. You weren’t batting in your favourite position, you were unhappy (if you could ever be unhappy in the game that you revered and tended to like a servant), and without quite saying it, you hinted at the fact that you might have had enough. But the dawn always follows the darkest hour.

After the age of 34, in a young man’s game, you averaged 48.36. Even by the standards you set yourself, that was unbelievable (in spite of all those nineties, when, almost inevitably, I seemed to be on air). And most of those came without your regular partner. While Sourav was around, you averaged almost 50 at a strike rate of 89. The mind still lingers on the time the two of you would come out at the start of a one-day international. (I watched one of those partnerships the other night and it seemed only the commercial breaks could stop you two.)

By now you were playing the lap shots more than the booming drives down the ground. It puzzled me and made many nervous. “I want to play down the ground too,” you told me, “that is why I am playing the paddle shot. As soon as they put a fielder there, I’ll play the big drive.” You were playing with the field the way your great friend Brian Lara did when he was on top of his game.

But beyond the numbers some memories remain. I couldn’t believe how you went after Glenn McGrath in Nairobi. I must have watched that clip 50 times but understood it more when you told me you wanted to get him angry, that on a moist wicket his line-and-length routine would have won them the game. That pull shot is as fresh in the memory as that first cover drive off Wasim Akram in the 2003 World Cup when you took strike because you thought the great man would have too many tricks for Sehwag.

I remember that World Cup well, especially an unheralded innings in Harare that helped beat a sticky Zimbabwe and put the campaign back on track. And your decision to keep the Player of the Tournament award in your restaurant because you would much rather have had the smaller winner’s medal. It told me how much that meant to you, and when I saw the tears on your face that night in Mumbai, I instantly knew why.

I had only once seen you in tears and that was at a World Cup too. You were practising in Bristol. You were just back from your father’s funeral and were wearing the most peculiar dark glasses. There was none of the usual style to them; they were big enough to cover half your face. You agreed to my request to speak to the media and briefly took them off while you were arranging your kit bag. I was taken aback to see your eyes swollen. You must have been in another world but you were courteous as ever. It was only Kenya the next day, but I can see why you rate that hundred.

There are so many more. I was only a young cricket writer when I started watching you play, so there will be many. That is also why so many of us will miss you. Somebody said to me he didn’t want you to quit because it would mean his childhood was over. It isn’t just them. Just as the child in you never grew up, so too did many grizzled old men become children when they saw you in blue. You were a great habit, Sachin.

So you are done with the blue then. But the whites remain. That is our first image of you – the curly hair, the confident look, the front foot stride… all in white. I hope you have fun in them. You don’t need to try too hard to prove a point to us because when you have fun we do too.

Cheers, you did well for us. And you gave life and strength to our game.

 I believe that this is really a fitting tribute for the great man, and since this comes from Harsha Bhogle, it is very special.


Finally the monkey is off Sachin’s back. The year long wait for his 100th hundred is over. Sachin Tendulkar scored his 100th international hundred, which is also his 49th ODI hundred today against Bangladesh. Ironically this is his 1st ODI hundred against Bangladesh, strange but yes that is the fact.

Sachin’s game in the past year looked like he was under tremendous pressure, and now once this mark has been surpassed, probably we will be able to see the kind of play he showed in 2010. With this also, he has created a record which probably looks to stay for a very long time. It will take a huge career for someone to break this. I remember almost a decade ago, 35 international centuries was the world record, which was broken by Sachin, and since then that record has stayed with him. And now he has stretched it to 100 international centuries. Probably when he must have started playing he would not have even dreamt of reaching such a record, so saying “it to be a dream come true” is not really appropriate I believe. But surely, this record is the testimony of the kind of cricket Sachin has played for the past 22 years.

In the end I wish his all this record, and hope that he will give us many more such moments in future. I also hope that this does not act as a demotivator for him, which motivates him to quit cricket, as now many people will surely start talking of his retirement plans. But I sincerely hope that it should take a lot of time for that announcement to come.


For the past couple of months what has happened down under in Australia has certainly raised this question amongst all the cricket experts, ex-cricketers, and to some extent amongst most of the Indians as well now. However this question has not just been hovering for Sachin, it has been even more gruelling on Dravid and Laxman two more legends of Indian cricket.

Two regretful overseas series in the past 6-7 months, in England in July last year and the one in Australia this January has certainly raised many questions in the big 3. Well certainly the 3 are the fag ends of their careers, but surely I feel they aren’t over as yet. Yes the age is against them, and that’s why probably with every batting failure the question gets bigger and bigger. I believe that players like Rohit Sharma, Virat Kohli, and Suresh Raina are the ones that are adding that extra pressure on these big 3, since they proved their worth in the ODI format and now are ready to play regularly at the Test level. Something that is not really possible till these big 3 fade away.
But if we see at their performances in the past matches I really do not feel that they played that badly. In England, Dravid was exceptional scoring runs at will and in a situation when the other batsmen were getting out cheaply. In Australia, Sachin started with a bang and only faded out towards the end of the test series. Well honestly this is not the first time they questions have been raised. Dravid was really under pressure in 2009-10, when even the likes Pujara were included into the side citing him as a replacement for Dravid in future. But, Dravid has survived backed up with decent performances, and some of them at such a level that he had to be recalled to the T-20 and ODI sides in England after a gap of almost 3 years. Then how can really be a bad series thereafter (that too, when all the innings were not failures) ask him to think of retirement.

Sachin too was under tremendous pressure in 2007 when he was struggling to score rums, to an extent a century getting out in the 90s on numerous occasions. I guess a similar situation has returned when the wait for his 100th century has extended over 10 months. But he came back from that slump with a bang and 2009 and 2010 were exceptional years for him, making him touch the heights nobody would have believed 4 years ago. So to write him out after a just one series is not a good idea I believe. Maybe the pressure of the 100th century is building on him and once that is of his back, he might just start scoring big runs at will again. But honestly this is for the first time I have seen Sachin being dropped/rested from the team when he is fit and available for selection, that maybe under the rotation policy but that certainly is a message.

Now talking about Laxman, yes he has had two bad overseas series but then he has always been the disaster management man for the past many years, bailing the team out of treacherous situations on numerous occasions. He has not had too many big scores in the past few matches, but he surely has been consistent. And he already out of limited over cricket, his survival in test matches would be critical for him, and in similar situation is Dravid as well.

Now with Ponting having announced his retirement from ODI cricket the pressure will be on Sachin to take a similar step and maybe Laxman and Dravid also think of hanging their boots. Now with Indian cricket team not playing any test matches in the coming 6-7 months would mean that would give enough time for Dravid and Laxman to think. But what that would also mean that they would be away from international cricket for that long. Also, with no overseas cricket for almost two years now means that Sachin would hardly play the ODI format, especially since he has been very selective in which ODI tournament he plays for the past couple of years. This surely looks like that there will be very chances of seeing him in the coloured clothing for the Indian team. And, with this giving ample opportunities for Raina, Kolhi, Sharma to cement their places in the team.

But still the question remains, whether the big 3 should retire. Definitely I believe it is always great to announce your retirement while playing then to dropped and then announce it from the sidelines. But then has that time come? Well only time will tell that I think.

The big 3: VVS Laxman, Sachin Tendulkar, and Rahul Dravid


Sehwag after scoring 200

Since Virender Sehwag emerged at the international scene he has always been called as the clone of Sachin Tendulkar, because of the many similarities in their batting styles. But today, probably he has proved this saying correct by doing what only Sachin has done it before, and not just doing it even bettering it. Yes, Sachin Tendulkar created history by becoming the first player ever to score a double hundred in a One Day International and now Virender Sehwag has become the second to do so and now after scoring 219 has the highest individual score in ODI cricket bettering Sachin’s 200 not out.

Now this is the fastest double hundred in ODI cricket, and now has also equaled the record of 25 fours in a single innings (incidentally Sachin is the other one who holds this record and he too had made this during his mammoth innings of 200 not out). Also, this is a great moment for him because he is captain the team in the series and this innings has led the team to a series victory. There was a lot of pressure on him regarding his form, but I guess now this innings has silenced all critics. But to be honest, I really don’t believe if the concept of being out of form really works on Sehwag. I think he just plays the same way every time, and sometimes he scores a zero and sometimes a double hundred or even at times a triple hundred. And yes honestly, the kind of player Sehwag is one can even expect a triple hundred from him in ODI cricket.

There was another comment which I read somewhere, that now Virender Sehwag has become the first human to score a double century in ODI cricket. By using the word human is not only something for Sehwag, but also is a great testimony for Sachin, since for every fan (which includes Sehwag as well) he is not a human but god. I remember after scoring the double century Sachin had said that it is just a record and can easily be eclipsed sometime. He also said that he would be very happy if an Indian can do that. Also when asked whom did he think can actually do that, the first name he mentioned was that of Sehwag’s. And now see all that has come true, it is like Sachin’s wish was Sehwag’s command. 

Sehwag after crossing 200 mark

But truly with this innings Sehwag has entered the record book in such a way that it would be very difficult to remove his name from the record books easily. Though, his style is best suited for the shorter format of the game Sehwag has excelled in test cricket more, scoring two triple centuries. And to certain extent has not really made his mark in the ODIs and Twenty20 cricket because of which he has come under a lot of criticism. But now he has silenced all the questioning mouths, and the way he has done it, I think only he could do it that way. But I just wish that just by looking at the bowling attack of West Indies Sehwag’s innings is looked down upon, as Sachin had scored it against the best bowing attack, South Africa. I am saying this because scoring 200 runs is not a joke, and once it scored the opposition bowling attack is inconsequential. Today was just Sehwag’s day, and proabbaly had it been South Africa or Australia also Sehwag would have scored a double hundred.

Also, apart from Sehwag, but majorly due to him India crossed the 400 run mark in ODIs for the fourth time which is again a record. The score of 400 has only been crossed 10 times till now of which India has crossed 4 times now, South Africa and Sri Lanka have done it twice and Australia and New Zealand have done it once. 
In the end I would like to wish Sehwag for his achievement and I hope that Sehwag’s fires big down under against the Australians, as his explosive batting would really be needed if India want to win in test matches and ODIs there.

Sehwag thanking the almighty after scoring 200


Amidst all the hype and expectations of Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th International ton, another Indian cricketing legend, Rahul Dravid surpassed a major milestone. A milestone, which only one player has achieved in the history of test cricket. That was crossing the 13000 runs mark in test matches, he became only the second batsman to do so, which is a memorable feat.

He had become the sixth batsman to reach the 10000 mark, the fifth to reach the 11000 mark, the third to reach the 12000 mark, and now has become the second player to reach the 13000 run mark. This proves why he is the backbone of the Indian cricket team, and why he has been given the nickname of “The Wall”.

Though unfortunately, he has always been under the shadow of another Sachin Tendulkar, and probably because of this his major feats have gone unnoticed. But certainly that cannot take anything away from this legend. Apart from the runs he has scored 36 test centuries and 62 test fifties. His number of centuries is only fourth in number behind Sachin’s 51, Kallis’s 40, and Ponting’s 39. His 62 test fifties is the second highest in number, both Sachin and Allan Border having scored a record 63 test fifties (if Sachin goes onto score a hundred in this match he would come down to a joint position with Dravid here). All these records have to be of a special player. Also, this year Rahul’s form has been exceptional, having scored over 1000 test runs in the calendar year. And this is his third occasion he has done so.

Dravid’s contribution to Indian cricket is legendary, and so in the end I would like to salute his contribution to Indian cricket and congratulate him on his recent milestone. Also I hope that he does cross many more and give us many more moments to cherish. 


Even as the world still waits for Sachin to complete a century of centuries, he manages to touch another huge milestone in test cricket. He has become the first batsman in the history of test cricket to cross 15000 international runs. Also, this is not the first time to cross the mark; he has also crossed the milestone in the One Day International format. For the matter of the fact he was the first batsman to reach the 12000, 13000, and 14000 run marks as well. If you see his ODI record he had become the first player to achieve the mark of 10000 runs and then also every subsequent 1000 runs, and now has over 18000 ODI runs. Overall he has crossed 33000 runs in international cricket which is a record in itself.

In test matches the player immediately behind Sachin is Rahul Dravid, who has scored 12859 runs, which means there is a difference of over 2000 runs between the two which is a massive difference.

All these records coupled with a record of 99 international hundreds, is something very special. And now he is batting on 33 as the day’s play ended. And if India needs to go onto win the match, the team would require Sachin to play a big innings, which means that maybe Sachin’s might not have to wait too long for the 100th century as well.

In the end I would like to congratulate Sachin for his new achievement, and hope that he would get many more in future. Also I would wish him best of luck for tomorrow and hope that he continues this great form, and not only wins the match for the team but also, hits the most awaited hundredth century.


Suddenly from nowhere has this team come out to win the title, defeating Royal Challengers Banglore. In fact I don’t think anyone would have ever imagined Mumbai Indians winning this tournament, since they entered this tournament on many injuries that included Sachin tendulkar, Rohit Sharma, Munaf Patel, Dhaval Kulkarni, Davy Jacobs, and many more. This list was simply endless, but most of these players were the ones that featured in the regular playing 11. But I must say that youngsters rose to the occasion, they grasped there chances and made them count. This is a definite surprise as I never expected to see the younger (unknown) players perform so well, especially seeing what the indian players did during the England tour.

The start of the tournament was not at all good for them, though they won the first two games, but they were not at all convincing, infact they could have easily lost both the games. And then the third game they lost pretty convincingly at the end. It is only from the semi-finals that Mumbai side came together putting up some good performances. And then went onto win the finals very convincingly in Chennai.

Also what makes me feel very happy and does get me exicited as well, is that I am not sure whether players like Chahal, Kanwar, Satish, Abu Nechim would ever get to play for Mumbai Indians since in IPL next year when the injured players get fit, they will not feature in the playing 11. But yes they definitely have made a reputation for themselves , and managed to catch the eye of every IPL-Champions League fan and surely there performances will be remembered and appreciated for a long time to come.

Nevertheless, Mumbai Indians has showed that they have it in them to become the champions. For two years now they were playing very well in the IPL,  but the trophy eluded them. They were even started to be compared to South Africa, who play, but in the crunch situations somehow unfortunately get choked and miss the championship trophy. But I am very happy that Mumbai Indians have proved them wrong, and have won the big trophy, becoming the CHAMPION of CHAMPIONS.


The Champion Team - INDIA..

Winning the World Cup that not only every Indian player had seen, in fact it was the dream that every Indian had seen, and it is not a dream anymore but reality. Yes, India is now the World Champions. They defeated Sri Lanka by 6 wickets to win the final and the tournament.

What an effort this was, simply amazing. India in their last four matches beat every other world champion. They beat 2 time champion West Indies in their last league game, then 4 time champion Australia in the quarters, 92 winners Pakistan in the semis, and then the 96 winners in the finals. This world cup belonged to the subcontinent teams, as three teams finished in the top four, and two of them made it to the finals. This is the first time this has happened. In fact except for 1987, a subcontinent team has been in the world cup final since 1983.

Everyone before the tournament said that they wanted to win the cup for the special Sachin Tendulkar, and this was evident when after winning the players took Sachin on their shoulders for a victory lap. Everyone was emotional, right from Sachin to Sehwag to Harbhajan to Yuraj to Sreesanth as the tears of joy dripped from their eyes. But that was the moment these players, and even every Indian will never forget for their lives. On one side dreams were fulfilled, on the other side dreams broken. Muralidharan quit cricket on not that high as he would have loved to, and Jayawardhane’s century went in vain. This is the first time when a World Cup final centurion has ended on the losing side. 

With this win now MS Dhoni has become the only caption to have won almost every major tournament. He has taken India top of the ICC rankings in test matches, won the T20 world cup, the IPL, the champion’s league, and now the WORLD CUP.

Coming back to the match, it started with Sri Lanka batting first. The start that Indians got was fabulous, with Zaheer Khan bowling 3 maiden overs on the trot. But later Mahela Jayawardhane played an extra ordinary innings scoring a century and taking the total to a formidable 274. Yuvraj was once again the best bowler picking up 2 wickets. Zaheer bowled beautifully and picked up 2 wickets, but his figures were damaged in the last three overs when he gave 44 runs. Harbhajan Singh dismissed the dangerous Dilshan. Munaf was very economical, but the only disappointment in bowling was Sreesanth. Once again, he leaked runs in heaps. I really don’t know why he was included in the playing XI ahead of Ashwin. Overall the bowling was decent, but they way they leaked runs towards the end was horrifying. 275 looked a very tough target, especially when the pressure of chasing in the World Cup final. The best part of the day was the fielding of the team. They fielded like tigers, and stopped numerous runs. They way Yuvraj and Raina fielded was something beyond belief. Had it not been that standard of fielding and the opening spell of Zaheer the target to chase could have been way more than 300.

Nevertheless, India had to chase 275 to win, and all eyes were set on the explosive Sehwag and legend Sachin. And both disappointed, by getting out early as the score read 31 runs for the loss of 2 wickets. Really, I must say I had lost hope at that time. But it was then for gen..next, to step up and Gambhir played one of the finest innings under pressure. He eventually got out for 97, and missed on a very well deserved century. Kohli played a good knock of 35 runs. But it was Dhoni who played another great knock under pressure scoring an unbeaten 91 and Yuvraj finished the proceedings with an unbeaten 21. Must say, Dhoni was criticized all month long for his batting, and what a time he chose to rise to the occasion and silence all the critics. He won the man of the match for the effort, though I feel it should have been given to Gambhir. Yuvraj won the man of the tournament award, and then India picked up the trophy, to be crowned world champions.

But yes I would also like to mention the contribution of Indian coach Gary Kiersten here. He has been an inspiration, and has changed the belief of the side completely. Under him, the team has taken the no.1 spot in test matches, and now the World Cup. With this his tenure as a coach also ends, hopefully he will be back later to take the team to new heights.

This is probably the last world cup for Sachin Tendulkar, but I hope that the he plays in the next one as well (just being optimistic). Now with his biggest dream in his kitty, I hope he does not quit the game. The urge to win the World Cup made him perform better and better, I hope that after the win he should not quit and continue his game as his is in a dream form right now. I think he should not look to retire for at least the next two years if not till the next World Cup.

In the end all I can say is well done India and congratulations for the victory. Keep on going this way, 2015 is not far away.

To two LEGENDS - SACHIN & MURALIDHARAN


India beat arch rivals Pakistan yesterday, to get into the final match of the biggest tournament in cricket. Now they will face Sri Lanka in the World Cup final on Saturday.

I wanted to write this post immediately after the match ended yesterday, but probably as the match ended being an Indian cricket fanatic, I was on cloud nine. And it has taken me almost half a day to get back to normal and write the post. I went to have ice cream late night after the match with my family. And that is time I realized that I am not the only cricket crazy person over here. There are many more cricket crazy people around. There were hundreds of bike riders, riding away to glory, carrying Indian flags, and chanting “India..India”. My grandmother was really amazed seeing such type of behavior and enthusiasm all around. I guess this is what an India-Pakistan match does to the country. When the match started the country had got to a halt, and then as the match ended everyone burst out of their homes in a joyful mood. I later too joined my friends late after midnight to celebrate the Indian victory. Probably this is the day I will not forget for a long time. In fact now I have planned for a bigger celebration if India wins the world cup final.

Now coming back to the match, I won’t say it was a one sided affair. But yes India did manage to win it convincingly in the end defeating Pakistan by a comfortable 29 runs. Though Pakistan had their moments and built up the enthusiasm right till the end. It started great for India as Sehwag got away to a flier, but once he left, it was probably more of a struggle to score runs. Sachin got as many as 6 lives in the match (he was dropped 4 times, a stumping was missed and an LBW decision was turned over by the review system). I don’t think that Sachin would have got these many chances in his complete career as well. However, this opportunity also did not help him scoring his 100th international hundred. But definitely his 85 run knock was the crucial point in India’s win. Gambhir did start well, but I guess he got flown away in emotions and almost threw his wicket. And then Kohli was scratchy, and got out at what can be called as a crucial stage, especially because the very next ball Yuvraj was dismissed to an almost unplayable delivery. Dhoni again was not at his best, but did try hard to help India recover from the two quick jolts. On the other hand Raina played well towards the end, which again raises a question to my mind as why wasn’t he played in the earlier matches of the tournament. Anyways India managed to score 260 runs, though which was too less compared to what everyone felt especially after the start the team had got. The scores dipped from a probable 330 to 300 to 280 and finally ended 260.

Then started the second session where India had to restrict Pakistan to less than 260. It looked a herculean task, because Pakistan bat very deep in the order, and India’s bowling has been a problem in the world cup. But since the last two matches India’s bowling and fielding has been improving by the rate of knots.

And once again when the fans were feeling low, Indian team picked themselves to just another level. Every bowler raised his game to the occasion. Though Zaheer was the most expensive of the lot, but he bowled in the situations of the match when the Pakistani players were trying to score hard, and his two crucial wickets were very important. Same is the case with Nehra and Munaf. Well everyone was shocked with their inclusion in the game, but they justified it very well. Both of them bowled their skins out and probably this has been their best effort in the tournament, I one must say what a time to get this. Harbhajan Singh has been a disappointment in the tournament especially since he has not been able to pick up wickets that were expected of him, but in this match he almost turned the game in India’s favor by picking two wickets of the most dangerous batsman and at crucial times. And now the recent batsman turned all-rounder Yuvraj, played his part as well. He was a little expensive but picked two important top order wickets which allowed every other bowler to build the pressure.

With this win, India have kept their World Cup unbeaten record against Pakistan intact. I guess everyone was confident, rather over confident of India’s win seeing the past history. But now I have understood why everyone felt that. Though as Shahid Afridi had said before the match that Pakistan would not allow Sachin to get to the magic figure, and yes they succeeded in that, but the 85 runs that Sachin did score proved a little too costly for the Pakistan team.

ll in all this was a great team effort. But the job is not over yet, India will face Sri Lanka in the finals. Sri Lankan batsmen have been on fire especially their top order, and their bowling is nowhere close to being a weak one. So this match is not going to be a close one.

Well the stage is set for the grand finale. And everything is falling into place. The match is in Sachin’s home, Mumbai. And what a time this will be for him to get to his 100th international hundred. World Cup finals, in India, and to top it all in Mumbai, in front of home crowd on home ground. What else can anybody dream of? If this hundred can lead to the World Cup win, I guess that moment Sachin will remember all his life.

But the task is not easy. Sri Lanka is team because of whom India had to see the end of their World Cup campaigns in 1996 and 2007. I guess this is right to avenge those losses. The team has been doing well, but I somehow still believe that Pathan should come into the side, in place of Kohli. Though I was unhappy that Ashwin was dropped for the side, but Nehra’s and Munaf’s will only add to the selection headache. But that is a nice thing to have I believe.
In the end I would like to congratulate India for this memorable victory, and also wish them all the best for the big match on Saturday.


It is now going to be a dream Wednesday next. An India Pakistan semi final in a tournament like world cup, how much more can any cricket fan ask for. And that too followed by an India Australia quarter finals. Amazing….

Finally India has shown why it is a top contender to pick up the trophy this time. The beat the last 3 time world champions Australia comprehensively. I do not think anyone expected India to pick up their game to such a high level today. I knew that it was very much possible for India to defeat Australia, but they had to play their best cricket for that. And India did exactly that!
Suddenly, the Indian team has risen up to every ones expectations, and almost has silenced all the criticism that the team was receiving in the last couple of weeks.

R Ashwin- bowled very well...

Today the bowling was good, disciplined, except Munaf Patel. And yes Harbhajan Singh was good but disappointing because he expected to pick up wickets and probably dismiss the top middle order for India. But again he has gone wicket less which has been disappointing. Zaheer was very good again, as usual. Ashwin was brilliant too, now this really confuses me why wasn’t he played earlier. And not to forget Yuvraj, the all rounder was amazing. He was very good with the ball again picking up 2 crucial wickets.

He crossed 18000 run mark

Now with the bat, I must say India played really well chasing. Both Sachin and Sehwag gave a decent start. Though I expected Sehwag to score a few more, and more quickly. Sachin was brilliant till he was dismissed. He scored a very important 50, also surprising the 18000 run mark in one day internationals. Gautam Gambhir played a very good knock, scored a 50 but then could not continue.  Then came Virat Kohli who got decent start but just threw it away and then MS Dhoni also got out leaving India 5 wickets down with over 70 runs to get. And then when everyone was losing hope Yuvraj Singh and Suresh Raina scripted a victory that Indians will remember for a very long time to run. Both these players played as if there was no tomorrow. To play Raina today was a masterstroke I must say. He played very sensibly and got India home at the end. India has lost wickets in heaps earlier, and today I realized the difference. It was Suresh Raina. The team needed a player like him, as been has been a finisher for the team over the past few years.

And now a talk on Yuvraj Singh. He has been brilliant in the series so far. He has emerged as the all rounder that the team has needed. Today also he played a match winning knock. And the form that he has shown, especially when his place in the playing XI before the start of the tournament was also on doubt is something explicable.  And yes let me acknowledge the team for the last part as well, the fielding department. Today India fielded very well, something one does not see every day.

And yes in the end I would like to point out the effort of Australian captain Ricky Ponting. he played an amzing innings under pressure, but lost to the young Indian exuberance. And suddenly the team that had not lost a single match in the last 2 World Cups, has lost 2 consecutive matches and is out of the tournament. It must have heart breaking for Ponting as this edition could have made him the first captain to win 3 consecutive World Cups. 

Now the world will look forward to the high profile match on Wednesday, 30th March 2011. The game between arch rivals India and Pakistan. Surprisingly Pakistan has been very good in the tournament so far and defeating them will not be easy for India. Though if I look at the World Cup history I would be very relaxed, because Pakistan has never been able to defeat India in World Cups.  But will this record remain intact after next week, I hope that happens. But one can never say anything as cricket is very unpredictable and is know that records break every now and then. And if Pakistan manage their first ever win against India, it will be the ideal situation to do so.

Suresh Raina - India's masterstroke in the game..

Now coming to India’s strategy for the next match. I believe they should drop Munaf Patel, he has been given an extended run. Maybe Sreesanth can come back in his place. That would get some fire back into the opening attack. The other change can be getting Yusuf back in place of Virat Kohli. Now that can be very harsh on Virat, but with Yuvraj in top form he can come in at no. 4 followed by Dhoni. Then I do not believe Virat is of any use at no. 6 or 7. That is the place where Pathan can come handy and can be very dangerous towards the end of the innings. And yes Pathan can be handy with the ball as well, though I am not really sure if that would help against Pakistan who play spin bowling well. But anyways these decisions are to be taken by the management.

Hopefully India will play some great cricket in the next match and move into the finals very easily. And yes not to forget 2 matches (semi-final and finals) left, the stage is set for Sachin to score his 100th international hundred, and then score his 50th one day hundred in the finals. Amazing way for Sachin to fulfil the dream of picking up the World Cup trophy.

In the end I would wish India all the best for the next match. Hopefully India will win!


Woh this was breath taking stuff.. The match between India and England ends in a tie. This is only the fourth ever tie in World Cup History. No winner, no looser amazing. Which team will be more disappointed in not winning the match? I guess both, but if you actually see, India has just thrown it away, by not winning this one.

It started of very well for India; they scored 338 which was a target that would have taken something to be chased down. But i am not sure if actually India would be happy with the score. India was past 300 in the 45th over with 7 wickets in hand, but still they managed only 338, losing 7 wickets in the last 25 balls. Though it must be said Sachin batted beautifully, getting up his 5th World Cup hundred, his 47th ODI, and his 98th International hundred. He was well supported by Gambhir and Yuvraj who scored half centuries each. But what cost India the win is that they did not play the complete quota of overs, got out with a ball to spare. And to top it when Zaheer got run out in as the last wicket trying to get a double, the run was called a short run, which meant a run wasted and so a wicket. I guess that run cost India the victory.

In the second half England started off well. I must say Strauss played one of the finest world cup innings to almost get his team home.  His knock of 158 will be regarded as one of the greatest in the history of world cup cricket. Just when they were cruising with 61 required of 54 balls to win, it was Zaheer’s spell which turned things around, he picked up 3 quick wickets, leaving India ahead. With 29 required of the last two over 3 wickets in hand, it looked as if India were to reach home finally. But they just threw it away and gave away 28 in 12 balls, to end this match in a tie. Now, should we call this as an escape for India, or should we call it a chance thrown away is something that I am confused of.

Another big concern is that the batsmen have played really well so far, but have the bowlers done that. Today the bowling was tested, and it almost failed. When the opposition is set a target of 339 to win, one expects a big victory, not a tie or a loss. I think India needs to pull their socks in this department or a world cup win will only be a dream. How long can one just rely on Sehwag and Sachin to fire? How many times will they be able to score 300 plus runs? And even if they do that what is the guarantee that the bowlers will bowl well. I really think India needs to reassess. They definitely have the strongest batting line up, but also one of the weakest bowling line ups. Today also except from that exceptional 3 over spell from Zaheer, the Indian bowling was nowhere close to a decent one, leave aside a good one. If it wasn’t that spell Zaheer, india would have lost the match badly. India really needs to work up this or they would be exploited badly in the later stages of the games. Do not forget that this time there are three knock out stages, and I am not really sure if the Indian bowlers are up for it.

In the end I hope that Indian team would definitely think about it, and also I would like to wish the team all the best for the coming matches. Also I would like to wish Sachin for another gem of an innings and how luckily it is not gone in vain. Hope they do not play any lack lustre cricket and come up victorious.


Sachin Tendulkar on Sunday reached a landmark, no cricketer would have even dreamt of as a budding cricketer. Some years back in fact if I am not wrong till 1998-1999, 35 international centuries (combination of test and one day internationals) was the world record. Till 2004, 34 test centuries was the world record, and at that no one even believed that any one could get close 50 test centuries or a 100 international centuries. On Sunday Sachin touched the glorious landmark of 50 test centuries, with this he also has scored 96 international hundreds (4 more for a century there). To go with these records are more than 14000 runs in test cricket, more than 17000 runs in ODI cricket and more than 32000 international runs, all of these being world records, with the person next in line being a distant second. Definitley, all these records can be of a batting genius.

To give a tribute to all his test centuries (50) scored I am putting some of the images I have found on the cricinfo sitein the form of a gallery. So I thought that by putting those images here in that order can be the best way to give tribute to the little genius.

No. 1: Sachin Tendulkar saved the Old Trafford Test for India in 1990 with an unbeaten 119 in the final innings. At 17 years and 112 days, he was only a month older than Mushtaq Mohammad was when he had become Test cricket’s youngest centurion. Wisden noted: “He looked the embodiment of India’s famous opener, Gavaskar, and indeed was wearing a pair of his pads.”

No. 2: “This little prick’s going to end up with more runs than you, AB,” Merv Hughes said as Tendulkar wrecked Shane Warne’s debut with an unbeaten 148 at the SCG in 1992. He was the youngest boy to score a Test century in Australia.

No. 3: On a lethal pitch at the WACA in 1992, Tendulkar made 114 against an attack that included Craig McDermott and Merv Hughes, scoring the bulk of his runs with square cuts. “That is when I felt that, yes, now I am here to play cricket anywhere in the world, any bowling attack and I am confident enough to tackle them,” he would say, years later.

No. 4: On his way to 111 at the Wanderers in 1992, Tendulkar, at 19 years and 217 days, became the youngest batsman to reach 1000 Test runs, displacing Kapil Dev. “In my era, I think he’s the best player I’ve ever had the pleasure of playing against,” Allan Donald, who bowled to Tendulkar in that match, said in 2007.

No. 5: His first century in India was against England in 1993 in Madras, a venue at which he would play many more memorable innings. “Tendulkar’s six-hour 165 – including 24 fours and a six – was a gem but, had a third umpire, using TV replay, been on hand to review a run-out attempt by Lewis when he was on 9, India might not have made such a conclusive total,” Wisden reported.

No. 6: Tendulkar’s second-innings 104 at the SSC in 1993 was his first century in Sri Lanka. It helped set up India’s first Test victory in the country. He provided the thrust that allowed India to make a declaration and complete the win late on the final day.

No. 7: A 142 in India’s innings-victory against Sri Lanka in Lucknow in 1994. “The home team’s start was uninspiring, the openers struggled to find their rhythm against Wickremasinghe …” Wisden reported. “Not until mid-afternoon, when the assured Tendulkar helped place conditions in perspective, did India resemble the side so used to dominating visiting teams.”

No. 8: Tendulkar’s 179 in Nagpur in 1994 was his first hundred against the West Indians and it remained his highest score until his maiden double-century in 1999. He got to this century by hooking Courtney Walsh for six.

No. 9: Tendulkar made 122 out of 219 in the second innings at Edgbaston in 1996. No other batsman reached 20. “It will be difficult for India to get back into the series having lost the first Test. However, if one player can make it possible it is Tendulkar,” Imran Khan wrote in the Daily Telegraph. “His hundred in the second innings was pure class. His compact defence and freedom of strokes on both sides of the wicket with a straight or a horizontal bat makes me feel that he might break all batting records – especially as he is even younger than Brian Lara.”

No. 10: A 177 at Trent Bridge in 1996 helped ensure Tendulkar was Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year. “Tendulkar averages over 50 in Tests and is the supreme right-hander, if not quite the finest batsman, on the planet. He is a focused technician, who offers a counterpoint to Brian Lara’s more eye-catching destruction, fuelled on flair and ego,” Wisden said. “He has, it seems, been around for ever. In the third Test at Trent Bridge last summer, he scored 177, the tenth century of his Test career and his second of the series: yet remarkably, at 23, Tendulkar was younger than any member of the England team, with only Dominic Cork and Min Patel born even in the same decade.”

No. 11: Tendulkar’s 169 at Newlands in 1997 was part of a thrilling stand with Mohammad Azharuddin. They added 222 in 40 overs. Tendulkar carried on after his partner fell, and helped India avoid the follow-on. He was eventually the last man out, and it needed one of the great out-field catches of all time from Adam Bacher to end it.

No. 12: Tendulkar’s 143 allowed India to declare on 537 for 8 at the Premadasa Stadium in 1997. Sri Lanka’s riposte was 952. Tendulkar said the pitch was “unfit for Test cricket”, adding: “If we had lost the toss and batted second, we could also have played a massive innings. We only lost wickets because we took chances and looked for runs.”

No. 13: In the very next Test, Tendulkar scored 139 in another high-scoring contest at the SSC in Colombo.

No. 14: Another century against Sri Lanka, this time in Mumbai in 1997. Tendulkar toiled for 71 minutes for 8 runs on the first day but found his touch on the second, moving from 87 to 99 with successive sixes off Kumar Dharmasena. During his innings of 148, Tendulkar went past 4000 Test runs, and his 256-run stand with Sourav Ganguly was an Indian record for the fourth wicket.

No. 15: The torment of Australia, and Warne, continued in Chennai, where Tendulkar made 155 in 1998. The contest between the two champions was among the best Ian Chappell had watched. “The defining moment came just after lunch, when Warne went round the wicket with Tendulkar having just passed his fifty,” Chappell wrote on ESPNcricinfo. “Tendulkar took to his offerings like a kid offered a lolly-shop gift voucher. A brace of sixes and fours from lofted sweep/pull shots to the midwicket region convinced Warne to abort this tactic. Tendulkar’s preparatory work had proved to be a masterstroke.”

No. 16: Tendulkar scored 177 out of the 281 runs India added while he was at the crease against Australia in Bangalore in 1998. Wisden said he was “impossible to contain” and on the second morning Tendulkar scored 60 off 64 balls, before falling to little-known Adam Dale.

No. 17: At Napier in 1990, Tendulkar had fallen 12 short of becoming the youngest Test centurion. Eight years later, in Wellington, he made his first Test hundred in New Zealand off 123 balls.

No. 18: Tendulkar’s 136, a masterclass made with a spasming back, took India to the verge of victory against Pakistan in Chennai in 1999, but the tail collapsed after he was dismissed with only 17 to get. “Because he was such a big player and in awesome form at the time, we were all pretty sure that Sachin was going to win the game for them,” Moin Khan, Pakistan’s wicketkeeper at the time, said years later. “But as soon as we got him out, it became obvious to us that we would win – in those days India’s reliance on him was much greater than it is now.”

No. 19: Tendulkar made an unbeaten 124 in the third innings of a nondescript Test at the SSC in 1999, which ended in a draw.

No. 20: Having spent a month recovering from back trouble, Tendulkar scored a valuable second-innings century – 126 not out – that helped India post 505 for 3 after they had collapsed for 83 in the first innings against New Zealand at Mohali in 1999.

No. 21: Tendulkar scored his first double-century – 217 against New Zealand at Motera in 1999 – in his 71st Test.

No. 22: Tendulkar made 116 out of a total of 238 at the MCG in 1999, a Test India lost by 180 runs. “Somewhat unsurprisingly, it was yet again the brilliant Tendulkar who was answering the unenviable call to shore up India’s battered defences,” wrote John Polack. “After an engrossing battle with a bouncer-hungry McGrath had kept him subdued through the early part of his stay, he gradually began to increase his scoring rate with a number of beautifully crafted strokes … Quite simply, his sense of assurance and sheer range of shots against an adroitly rotated attack were perfectly applied in these hostile circumstances.”

No. 23: An extract from ESPNcricinfo’s report from the day: Tendulkar made 122 against Zimbabwe at the Kotla in 2000, John Wright’s first Test as India coach. “Earlier, Tendulkar was visibly miffed with himself. On a flat batting track, against a friendly Zimbabwean attack, he got himself out for just 122. The way Tendulkar was batting, that should have been just the beginning. After flaying Brian Strang for three boundaries in the first over of the day, Tendulkar pounced on anything loose … each one was a shot of class.”

No. 24: The unbeaten 201 against Zimbabwe in Nagpur in 2000 was the 50th international century of Tendulkar’s career. He was the first batsman to score so many. Sunil Gavaskar, Viv Richards and Desmond Haynes, all retired, had 35 hundreds, and Mark Waugh 31 at the time.

No. 25: The 126 in Chennai against Australia in 2001 helped India win one of the greatest series of all time. He reached the century with his second six, off Colin Miller, and also hit 15 fours. Three came in an over from Shane Warne. Two were played to the fine-leg boundary after which, Warne, bowling from round the wicket, bounced Tendulkar, who responded with an upper-cut to the third-man boundary.

No. 26: Another hundred in defeat – 155 in Bloemfontein in 2001 – on Virender Sehwag’s debut. During the innings Tendulkar, at 28 years and 193 days, became the youngest to score 7000 runs. He reached his century off 114 balls and at one point had hit eight fours in 18 deliveries. “I didn’t want to think about what was coming next,” Tendulkar said afterwards. “I thought let’s just deal with the present. My first line to him [Sehwag] when he came in was `I know you’re tense. You’re never going to be this tense again, so enjoy the moment’.”

No. 27: His 103 at Motera in 2001 was more than a third of India’s first-innings total against England. “Tendulkar was supreme in the afternoon, ridiculing England’s packed off-side fields by whipping balls from outside off through the leg side at will,” Wisden reported. “Hussain’s captaincy was enthusiastic, clear-sighted and, at times, uncompromisingly negative: he never allowed the game to drift, marshalled his limited resources intelligently and posed Tendulkar question upon question, most of which were answered perfectly.”

No. 28: Tendulkar’s 176 against Zimbabwe in Nagpur 2001 set up India’s innings victory. The century took him to one fewer than Don Bradman’s tally of 29.

No. 29: Tendulkar’s 117 – his first Test century in the West Indies – helped India win a tense Test in Trinidad by 37 runs in 2001. “Following a difficult start – on 6, he survived a confident claim for a catch at the wicket off Sanford – Tendulkar settled to build his 29th Test hundred, which put him level with Don Bradman, though he had taken 93 Tests to Bradman’s 52,” Wisden reported. “It was a resolute rather than commanding innings.”

No. 30: Tendulkar scored 193 in his 99th Test, at Headlingley in 2002, contributing significantly to India’s innings-and-46-run victory. “The beauty of Tendulkar is the ability to make shots that the merely very good players cannot – and the wiser 29-year-old model even does it without risk,” wrote Rahul Bhattacharya in the Guardian. “His wrists are a curious mix of clay and steel: able to take any shape, then, trading suppleness for force for the briefest moment that bat meets ball. Yesterday he swirled his way about on the onside as if it was his very own version of leg theory.”

No. 31: India were 11 for 2, needing to erase a 139-run deficit against West Indies, when Tendulkar rallied with 176 to save the game in Kolkata, 2002. “It has been said innumerable times in the past, most loudly by his critics, that Tendulkar fails to make runs when India need it the most,” wrote Anand Vasu for Cricinfo. “Today … not being altogether destructive, or indeed too defensive, Tendulkar remained unbeaten on 114 as the players walked off the field.”

No. 32: Tendulkar ended a two-year fallow period with an unbeaten 241 at the SCG in 2004, an innings in which he cut out shots between mid-off and point because he was falling to them. “I would put this innings right at the top of my hundreds,” he said. “I am happy that I was able to maintain the discipline throughout the innings. Things had gone wrong a couple of times with my shot selection, and I knew I had to cut out a few strokes.”

No. 33: The 194 in Multan in 2004 was controversial. Tendulkar, who was batting slowly, was denied a shot at a double-century when Rahul Dravid declared as India pushed for victory. “Even the greatest have their goals, dreams and milestones, and a double-century against Pakistan in Pakistan would have been a memory to treasure,” John Wright, India’s coach, wrote in his book. “After a sleepless night, I spoke to Tendulkar who confirmed that he’d wanted the team to cut him some slack. Then he and Dravid talked it through and resolved the matter.”

No. 34: The 248 in Dhaka in 2004 was Tendulkar’s highest score and it brought him level with Sunil Gavaskar’s world record number of centuries. “I said to him my expectations are higher and I want not 40 but 50 Test hundreds from him,” Gavaskar said. “When I saw Sachin play a flick wide of mid-on in the nets for the [Ranji] Probables team I knew here was a special talent.”

No. 35: The 109 against Sri Lanka at the Kotla in 2005 gave Tendulkar the world record. “His 35th hundred was not his prettiest. A large part of it was a struggle,” wrote Sambit Bal. “But it will remain a memorable one. And who knows, it could even be a liberating one. How his career shapes from here might depend on how much freedom he grants himself.”

No. 36: The 101 in Chittagong in 2007 came 17 months, 10 Tests and 17 innings after No. 35, the longest gap Tendulkar endured between centuries. “After 17 years, I don’t think I have a point to prove,” Tendulkar said. “I would dedicate this to my father as it was his eighth death anniversary yesterday. So, this one was pretty emotional.”

No. 37: The unbeaten 122 in the next Test in Dhaka wasn’t pretty. “Tendulkar couldn’t improvise and play a scoring shot when deceived by the slowness of the wicket,” Sidharth Monga wrote for Cricinfo. “Not long ago, you’d describe him as a batsman who had two shots for every ball; here he was struggling to do anything more than nudge it to leg. It was all the more painful to see him make the conditions and bowling look more difficult than they probably were.”

No. 38: An unbeaten 154 at the SCG in 2008, aka Monkeygate. “Commit all your crimes when Sachin is batting,” one banner read. “They will go unnoticed because even the Lord is watching.” Another said: “Sachin Cricket Ground.” Tendulkar called the SCG “one of my favourite grounds . Sometimes you walk on the field and it gives you good feelings. It is one of those grounds.”

No. 39: A 153 at the Adelaide Oval, his first at Don Bradman’s home ground, in 2007-08. “Unless his nerve fails him or batting becomes a chore, Tendulkar will be back in 2012,” wrote Peter Roebuck in the Sydney Morning Herald. “Far from losing focus, he looks eager. Rejecting the captaincy helped him to renew his vitality. After a struggle, he has come to terms with age; has learnt to combine the singles of experience with the boundaries of youth.”

No. 40: A 109 in Sourav Ganguly’s final Test helped India win the series against Australia 2-0 in Nagpur in 2008. “I know I am batting well, but I was not getting to the three-figure landmark. But I don’t think that is everything,” Tendulkar said. “I have gone in at crucial [stages] at almost four or five times and I have been able to play. That is very satisfying, when you deliver when the team needs the most.”

No. 41: Tendulkar’s match-winning 103 in a run-chase against England in Chennai, less than a month after Mumbai was attacked in 2008. “He’s 35 years old and owns practically every batting record in the game, but you couldn’t escape the feeling that this was probably Sachin Tendulkar’s finest hour,” wrote Dileep Premachandran. “To score the winning runs in a record-shattering chase was special enough, but when that last stroke also brought up your 41st century, it became ineffably so.”

No. 42: A 160 in Hamilton in 2009 was the bedrock of a victory that led to India’s series win. “When will Tendulkar retire? Answer: when it suits him. But he’ll certainly be around until the 2011 World Cup,” wrote David Leggat in the New Zealand Herald. “That gives him two years at least. Eight more centuries give him 50. He’s got 43 in ODIs. A double of 50 in each form of the game has a nice ring to it. It is certainly within his capabilities.

No. 43: An unbeaten 100 on a flat pitch at Motera in 2009 helped India draw the Test against Sri Lanka, after the visitors had amassed 760 in their first innings. It ensured Sri Lanka stayed without a Test win in India.

No. 44: Sehwag called Bangladesh an ordinary side before the Chittagong Test in 2009 and Tendulkar’s unbeaten 105 was needed to prop India up to 243 in the first innings, in a match they eventually won.

No. 45: The 143 against Bangladesh in Mirpur in the next Test was a relatively quick one. It took 182 balls and led to India’s ten-wicket win.

No. 46: A second-innings 100 from Tendulkar couldn’t prevent South Africa from steam-rolling India by an innings and six runs in Nagpur in February 2010.

No. 47: The 106 in Kolkata helped India level the series against South Africa and stay No. 1 in Tests. “Watching him bat can be a demoralising experience for those on the other side. He knows his game so well, and seldom does anything more than is required,” Cricinfo reported. “With Tendulkar these days, as opposed to the man who eviscerated Shane Warne in Chennai and Bangalore in 1998, patience is a weapon used to wear down bowlers.”

No. 48: Sri Lanka declared on 642 for 4 at the SSC and India slipped from 165 for 0 to 241 for 4. Tendulkar scored his 48th century and converted it into a double, giving India the lead. “Yesterday when I got into the dressing room, I had a long ice bath. I was in the ice tub for a while. Then I did some stretches, had an early dinner, and I was in bed by 8.30,” he said. “For almost all four days, I have been on the field. It’s been demanding on the body, but it’s held up pretty well.”

No. 49: A 214 in Bangalore helped secure India’s 2-0 win against Australia in 2010. “On his last tour of Australia, Tendulkar was given rapturous ovations by an adoring public each time he went in or out. But the Australians might not have seen the last of him,” wrote Sambit Bal. “Fifty Test hundreds are but a formality. A hundred international hundreds are there for the taking. Tendulkar, though, endures not in the pursuit of milestones, but because he can’t fall out of love with cricket.”

No. 50: India began their second innings in Centurion with a deficit for 484 and were reduced to 277 for 6. Tendulkar rallied, along with Dhoni, and his century changed India’s prospects of saving the game from impossible to improbable.