Home > Features >

Sachin Tendulkar – the man who changed ODIs and Indian cricket forever

Sachin Tendulkar – the man who changed ODIs and Indian cricket forever

Only the memories remain… Every run that Sachin Tendulkar scored bore the millions of hopes and dreams of the nation which stood still to watch him bat. Every boundary from his blade raised the national happiness quotient. Every time he raised his bat it was the spirits of the countrymen that was elevated to ecstasy © Getty Images

Sachin Tendulkar did not only change the face of Indian cricket, he revolutionised One-Day cricket and gave the average Indian reasons to smile. Arunabha Sengupta says that listing great moments is futile since his whole career has been a saga of brilliance; his contribution goes beyond cricket.

-

When he made his debut, India had won 71 matches and lost 89. The win loss ratio stood at 0.79.

Twenty-three years later, as he leaves the scene the exchanges stand at 401 wins to 367 defeats. The ratio has been dragged up by the bootstraps and hauled to 1.09.

When he came in, the maximum number of hundreds scored by an Indian batsman stood at four. The biggest collection of runs hovered around 3500.

He leaves the stage with 18,426 runs and 49 centuries.

Sachin Tendulkar has not just left his mark in One-Day International cricket. He has revamped the landscape, adding gigantic peaks where there were gentle hillocks, infinite oceans for pretentious puddles.

True, the era has changed. The dynamics of limited-overs cricket have undergone massive transitions. The rules, the approach, the equipment and the mentality has metamorphosed it into almost a new sport.

However, no one has had such an impact on the game as the Little Champion. The nearest rival stands 4,722 runs behind, 17 centuries short. Ricky Ponting came closest to matching his runs, average and strike rate in all their immensity. Yet, Tendulkar easily scores six runs per hundred balls more than the Australian great.

Jacques Kallis is the only one in the 10,000 plus club who averages fractionally more than Tendulkar, but he scores at 72.97 in contrast to Tendulkar’s 86 runs per hundred balls.

The overall numbers are phenomenal, any which way one looks at it,

And Indian cricket in the ODI scene has never been the same after his emergence.

When he came in, the Prudential Cup had been won, followed by the Benson and Hedges Trophy in Australia. There had been usual voices steeped in the immediate, who had argued about India being one of the best in the world.  However, the team continued to be thrashed regularly and resoundingly by superior powers – West Indies, Pakistan and sometimes Australia.

With Tendulkar, the image of Indian cricket underwent metamorphosis. ODI ceased to be a sport in which there were flashes of hope and spurts of giant killing while being forever steeped in the lower rungs of mediocrity. This phenomenal talent introduced the concept that India could be one of the strongest nations in cricket and consistently.

Layers and layers of greatness

In the aftermath of a great, great career, it makes sense to sit back and relive the greatest moments. One remembers Viv Richards playing that incredible innings in the 1979 World Cup final, Kapil Dev scripting that 175 against Zimbabwe without television coverage.

The problem with Tendulkar is that with 49 hundreds and 96 fifties and 234 wins in his career, the entire career is a magical journey. To pick and choose great moments is fraught with a feeling of helplessness. What does one capture and which gems does one leave out?

The valiant 62 against a rampaging Allan Donald to win it for India in 1991? The couple of sand storms in Sharjah that had Tony Greig in delirious ruptures of intoxication? The Centurion masterpiece against Shoaib Akhtar? The two gems of the VB series? The double hundred at the age of 36?

If we file away these moments of surreal brilliance and revisit the two decades and more, we discover innumerable epics that continue to emerge… a series of superhuman feats that would have been the pinnacle of any other career, but is reduced to a footnote in the case of Sachin Tendulkar.

What else would one call that breathtaking 186 not out at Hyderabad or the 163 at Christchurch or the 141 against Australia at Dhaka? Yes, we don’t even remember some of them.

If one scours the memory of the last 23 years, the moments of sublime greatness stand in multiple layers. From the day he stepped out to hit Abdul Qadir for four sixes in an over in an unofficial ODI, to wandering around Wankhede atop Virat Kohli’s shoulders, it has been one saga of supremacy – a stamp of batting genius the world has never witnessed before and has little chance of seeing since.

And lest we hear those mathematically challenged morons clamouring about the correlation of his centuries to Indian defeats, let me point out that scored more hundreds in victories than any other cricketer has scored in his career.

Once in a lifetime

Greatness of this magnitude comes once in a rare lifetime.Yet, his contribution does not end with his runs and centuries and the victories he engineered or even the World Cup.

He not only changed the game and the position of India in the cricketing landscape, he made cricket the symbol of national hope, the spirit of the country that ran through its veins.

Sachin Tendulkar vanquishing foes to win it for India were special days in the life of the average Indian when cricket made him forget the myriads of problems of existence, the borrowed platform which brought smiles to his face while there were thousands of peripheral reasons twisting his forehead into frowns. Thankfully, it happened again and again and again, giving the common man reason to cherish, hope and live.

Every run that he scored bore the millions of hopes and dreams of the nation which stood still to watch him bat. Every boundary from his blade raised the national happiness quotient. Every time he raised his bat it was the spirits of the countrymen that was elevated to ecstasy.

As Sunil Gavaskar pointed out, “It’s not just Sachin Tendulkar’s runs. These are runs the crowd feel are their own.”

With the retirement of Tendulkar from One-Day Internationals, the world loses a champion. Along with it, India loses the national icon, the accepted face of the country, the indicator of the happiness at any point of time.

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry. He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)

Read all related stories to Sachin Tendulkar’s retirement

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 24, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Glenelg, Adelaide

Pakistan vs New Zealand in UAE, 2014

Nov 26, 2014 (11:30 IST)   at Sharjah

India tour of Australia 2014, Practice matches

Nov 28, 2014 (05:29 IST)   at Adelaide

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 28, 2014 (12:00 IST)   at Dhaka

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 29, 2014 (10:00 IST)   at Colombo

More

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Dhaka

Bangladesh won by 124 runs

England tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 26, 2014  at Colombo

Sri Lanka won by 25 runs

Hong Kong tour of Sri Lanka, 2014

Nov 24, 2014  at Colombo

Hong Kong won by 2 wkts

Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Chittagong

Bangladesh won by 68 runs

South Africa tour of Australia, 2014

Nov 23, 2014  at Sydney

Australia won by 2 wickets (D/L method)

Photos

Phil Hughes suffers head injury: In photos

Videos

AB de Villiers: Disappointed with defeat in Australia

Sachin Tendulkar express shock on Phillip Hughes’ death

Chennai Super Kings (CSK) must be disqualified, says Supreme Court

Virat Kohli mourns Phil Hughes’ death

Phil Hughes passes away: Twitter reactions

Australia Bangladesh Bangladesh vs Zimbabwe 2014 England India India tour of Australia 2014-15 Pakistan Phil Hughes Phil Hughes head injury South Africa Sri Lanka Zimbabwe Zimbabwe tour of Bangladesh 2014 Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh Zimbabwe vs Bangladesh 2014

Phil Hughes’ death: Cricket community extends support to Sean Abbott

Phillip Hughes passes away: Bollywood expresses shock

Phillip Hughes’ death: Nari Contractor expresses his sorrow

Phillip Hughes’ death: Sad day for cricket, says Dilip Vengsarkar

Supreme Court revelations just tip of iceberg, says Kirti Azad

Phil Hughes and other cricketers who succumbed to on-field injuries

IPL 2013 spot-fixing controversy: When Will the Supreme Court make the whole Mudgal report public?

Phillip Hughes 7th-youngest Test cricketer to die

Phillip Hughes: A brief look at the career of one of Australia’s most promising talents

Phillip Hughes: Rest in peace

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

682 Posts | 6 Fans

Video: Phil Hughes suffers head injury, collapses on field during New South Wales vs South Australia tie

सुपरमॉडल केट का क्रिसमस के लिए ब्यूटी टिप्स

After Terry Walsh, women’s hockey coach Neil Hawgood resigns

इबोला प्रायोगिक दवा के प्रयोग के नतीजे सकारात्मक आए

Vikram shoots car chase sequence for Vijay Milton’s Pathu Enrathukkula

India is becoming our largest overseas market, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun says

Bharti Airtel launches 4G service in Seychelles

Mona Singh inspired to take up theatre by her Zed Plus co-stars

More broadband connections to boost GDP growth in Asia Pacific: GSMA

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here