If Sachin Tendulkar were to ever actually stand on a space of every single achievement and record he’s collected, there’s a chance his gatherings might make Mount Atlas a dainty figure. There’s a great threat that record for the tallest mountainous peak may never rest with Mount Atlas again.
The man whose revered following warrants starting of a cult: Sachinist
Cricketers can be either loved or respected. Sachin Tendulkar attained the rare facet of being an individual who was both loved and respected. Implicit in the craft of Tendulkar was his masterly focus and technique that afforded him such prescient achievements; that have endured his legend continually so. From a historical narrative, whether we speak of Gavaskar or a Brian Lara, the statistical outdoing of their opponents have paved way for a queue of their remembrance in the sport. The 34 centuries for the former, the unbeaten 400 for the latter. But bookmarked in every great Sachin Tendulkar memory are his hallmarks- whether the straight drive seemingly from a textbook every single time it was played or that signature square cut.
Sachin Tendulkar: the man the sport loved back
Perhaps that is Sachin’s legacy that you are compelled to dwell on those musings with the bat. And why he became such a great role model could well be understood from all he did on the ground. The hundreds, the glorious match saving knocks, the victorious strokes, the dizzying heights he took Indian cricket to. Not the associations off the pitch. Not the shenanigans away from the 22 yards. Not what he said to his contemporaries or opposites on the pitch. But where he took his game and in the process, his team’s fate on the crease.
It would be incorrect to restrict Sachin Tendulkar to be quite simply the Zeus of batting. He is way more. For his longevity in the game, lasting in fierily competitive cricket for nearly 2 and a half decades, the enormous magnitude of focus he demonstrated whether in scoring ODIs first double hundred or his painstaking 248 against Australia in Tests, he’s the teacher every young batsman looks up to when holding a bat. And inspiration one looks at even when one shrugs off a cricket bat in disappointment.
Some attain respect from contemporaries, others purely scorn. Tendulkar, although, responsible for destroying the hubris of leading sides like Australia in their pomp- went on to collect love. In his heydays in the 90s, squared against the streak of invincibility of Australia- Tendulkar single-handedly hammered the blues out of Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Waugh and Ponting.
Therefore, it may not be incorrect to call him cricket’s only son the sport loved back. And therefore, it’s not hard to understand why.
For no other in the quarter of a century of the game’s history has created a history quite like Sachin Tendulkar. No other has gone onto define the pantheon in which batting greats are bracketed. One that is magnified by 164 fifties, 100 hundred, nearly 34000 international runs and a batting average in echelons where greats rule.
Forget the runs, let go of the hundreds and try and out-space a tonnage of the man of the match performances, incredible fifties and epic series that scandalized bowlers. Let your mind go astray in the simplicity that defined Tendulkar and still does in an age where the term highlight may generally refer to an IPL, CPL or PSL rewind.
Tendulkar’s humility often outscores his mega bouts of concentration. It’s a tricky case marking the case for a genius who was as welcoming of the love he accepted heading into his swansong as refusing to be bogged down by it.
It’s not every day that Cricket produced individuals who remained as sagely aloof from the glitz and fanfare as completely humble in receiving the unparalleled appreciation. He didn’t stoop to wile ways of being when Indians went a little extra in their outpouring of love, advocating a place among celestial greats and gods for a man who despite being all flesh and blood, continued to bat with a childlike passion.
Was this perhaps the greatest testimony to all that Sachin achieved?
You see it in the sign of love a Bradman holds for a man who he describes as someone who reminded, “me of a bit of myself in my playing days.” And you see irrefutable regard from a Lara who submits, “I would love my son to bat like Sachin.”
But none seem to capture Sachin Tendulkar’s colossal impact on another showman of the game who resorts to a description which tampers with the laws of nature; Warne’s confession that “Sachin Tendulkar came first, then daylight.”