“If Cricket is a religion, Sachin is my God” – this placard held by an ardent cricket fan during an international match speaks volumes about the aura and status of a player who ruled the hearts of over a billion people for almost a quarter of a century. It would not be an overstatement to say that – Sachin Tendulkar became such a bigger name that it is almost considered as a synonym for the ‘gentleman game’. Sachin was the man who was instrumental in converting a sport into a religion in India and attained the status of a demi-God.
Some regarded as the greatest batsmen ever in modern-day cricket or some referred him as the ultimate ‘God of Cricket’. Tendulkar, who was born on April 24, 1973, embellished his name around every possible batting record which a human mind can think of. 18,426 ODI runs, 15, 921 Test runs, 463 ODIs, 200 Test matches, 100 international centuries and at last, a World Cup – these are some mindboggling numbers and stats which define just a part of Tendulkar’s legacy. Is there anything else a player can dream or ask for in his lifetime? The answer we all know.
In 1994, Tendulkar received the Arjuna Award and in 1997 received the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, which is India’s highest sporting honour. In 1999 and 2008, Tendulkar also received the Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan awards. After achieving his long impending dream of lifting the coveted World Cup in 2011, Tendulkar’s name was pushed for the greatest honour a citizen of India can wish for – Bharat Ratna! On November 16, 2013, after his last match, the Prime Minister’s Office announced that they shall be awarding him with the Bharat Ratna.
He initiated his cricketing career from a very small age and put in all his hard work, passion and dedication towards the game. He made his presence felt during the West Zone Ranji Trophy League for Mumbai at the age of 14. Tendulkar made his international debut against Pakistan, facing the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Imran Khan on a lively Karachi wicket. He holds the record for the fastest to score 10,000 runs in the history of Test Cricket in only 195 innings.
“Time stands frozen in front of Sachin Tendulkar. We have had champions, we have had legends, but we have never had another Sachin Tendulkar and we never will.” BBC: “Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don’t know, something beyond scientific measure” – BBC
Master Blaster carried the nation of the burden till 2013, post that he decided to hang up his boots from all forms of cricket. Sachin played his last international match against West Indies on his home ground – Wankhede Stadium in front of a packed audience. He is the inspiration for not only sportspersons but for every mortal who desire to make it big and achieve his/her goals in life. His aura and pleasing personality earned him followers not only on ground but all across the world.
In 2010, Tendulkar’s name was included in the 100 “Most Influential People in the World” by Time Magazine.
Thank you, Sachin for carrying the burden of a zillion hopes for 24 long years and giving us infinite moments of joy and pride with that blade in your hand. Happy Birthday ‘God’!