There can be few more exciting sights in cricket than watching Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar bat at his best and, whenever he does, the spectators, especially in India, are on their feet cheering and why not? Tendulkar has set almost impossible targets for the other batsmen. He has reached a stage that others can only dream of. But the spectators will not see this legend playing international cricket again as Sachin hung his boots after a magnificent 24-year career, the fifth longest in history. He played his 200th Test on his home ground last week.
“All my life, I have had a dream of playing cricket for India. I have been living this dream every day for the last 24 years; it’s hard for me to imagine a life without playing cricket because it’s all I have ever done since I was 11 years old. It’s been a huge honour to have represented my country and played all over the world,” Tendulkar said in a statement after his announcement to retire.
He was a true ambassador of India in the world of sports. His achievements in cricket are incomparable; the records set by him are unmatched. Tendulkar is ranked second in both the all-time Test and One-day lists prepared by Wisden, behind Australia’s Don Bradman and West Indies’ Viv Richards, respectively. He was named among Wisden’s Five Cricketers of the Year in 1997. High expectations of the millions of fans put a lot of pressure on the master batsman. Besides his extraordinary talent, courage and consistency have been the main virtues of Tendulkar, who made batting glamorous and entertaining without sacrificing solidity. He is also generally considered to have a near-perfect balance between aggression and defense.
Tendulkar made his first class debut on December 11, 1988, at the age of 15 with a century. Just a year later he made his Test debut against Pakistan in Karachi in November 1989 and became India’s youngest Test player at the age of 16. He also made his One-day International debut in the same year against Pakistan.
Sachin has many records in his fold as he played the most Tests (200) and One-day Internationals (463); scored most Test runs (15,921) and centuries (51); and accumulated most ODI runs (18,426) and centuries (49). In six World Cup appearances (from 1992 to 2011), Tendulkar scored a record 2,560 runs at an average of 56.95 — the most by any player in history. With 50,024 runs in first-class cricket, he is the 16th batsman to aggregate 50,000 or more career runs. He scored 1,000 or more Test runs in a calendar year six times: 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002, 2008 and 2010.
In ODIs, he managed 1,000 or more runs in a calendar year seven times: 1994, 1996, 1997, 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2007. He scored his maiden Test century against England at Old Trafford on August 14, 1990, at the age of 17. His last hundred came against South Africa at Cape Town in January 2011.
On March 16, 2012, he became the only batsman to score 100 international centuries when he scored 114 against Bangladesh. Tendulkar took five years to score his first ODI hundred. It came against Australia in Colombo in 1994. He accumulated 1,894 runs in 1998, most runs scored by a batsman in any season in ODI cricket. He scored nine hundreds that year.
In 24 years of his career, Tendulkar played at 90 different venues, which is also a record. He was also a very good fielder as he took 115 catches in Tests and 140 in ODIs. Tendulkar leads the list of Manof-the Match Awards in One-day Internationals. He was bestowed this honour 62 times. He was also declared Man-of-the-Series in 15 ODI events.
The only dark side of his career was leading the Indian side. He served two unsuccessful terms as India captain, the first aged 23 in 1996, making him the second youngest captain in the history of Indian cricket after Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, who was named captain at the age of 21. Tendulkar was removed as captain 17 months later after his batting suffered. He was reappointed in 1999, but stood down after a 0-3 Test series rout in Australia the following year.