A guest post from a past-and-future contributor, the PM (aka BP’s cricket & rugby man). Today PM waxes rhapsodic on the final Test match for the peerless Sachin Tendulkar. Take it away PM:
On Thursday, Sachin Tendulkar walked out onto his home field, Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium, to begin his 200th and final Test Match for India. (http://www.theguardian.com/sport/2013/nov/14/sachin-tendulkar-200th-test-india-mumbai) The announcement of the Little Master’s retirement has set off a month-long eulogy, a national and international outpouring of admiration and appreciation.
By any measure, Tendulkar is one of the best players in the world. He holds almost every batting record worth having – most test appearances, most runs, most hundreds, and was a pretty handy bowler too. Although only 5’5″ and hardly an imposing physical specimen, he had no apparent weaknesses to his game — his technique, balance, timing and judgement were impeccable, and were allied with a preturnatural ability to anticipate what the bowler was trying to do, and to play a variety of shots for essentially the same delivery. Don Bradman reportedly said that the young Tendulkar reminded him of himself – cricket’s ultimate accolade.
In addition to his natural abilities, what set him apart was his unwavering will to win, and his refusal to buckle under the most enormous pressure. Even more than his individual accomplishments, he has been the repository of the dreams of his billion-strong nation since his debut against Pakistan in 1989 at the age of 16. He has been cricket’s biggest star in a region that treats cricket as a matter of life and death, and has overseen a transformation of the Indian team into a global powerhouse that has mirrored India’s own remarkable economic and social transformation. Yet he has remained remarkably modest, even humble. As he enters his final test, sports fans around the world should take a moment to appreciate one of the true greats – truly, one of the best players in the world.