It’s been a year and four days, but Sachin Tendulkar, the Little Master, has finally done it.
An incredible sporting feat that may never be matched.
Tendulkar won’t care a jot about the venue or opposition. Any international century is special, and he’s just scored 100 of them. That’s 29 more centuries than his nearest challenger on the all-time list, Australia’s Ricky Ponting.
It’s difficult to understate this sporting achievement. Scoring 100 centuries was unthinkable before Tendulkar came along, making his debut in 1989 as a mere 16-year-old, the youngest cricketer ever to represent India. Now 38, Tendulkar is in the twilight of his career, yet he still shines as brightly as ever.
No other batsman in history has come close to achieving what Tendulkar has. He is the top scorer in Test cricket by a country mile, with over 15,000 runs to his name. Tendulkar is also the top scorer in One-Day Internationals with more than 18,000 runs, streets ahead of Ponting, who is second on the list with 13,704.
Tendulkar is the most successful cricketer in history.
Each time he went out to bat, Tendulkar must have had the echo of a 100 million voices asking “Is this going to be the one?” ringing in his ears. Time and again, cricket watchers, from luminaries of the game such as Sunil Gavaskar, Tony Greig, Shane Warne and Sourav Ganguly, to average fans like you and me, made pre-match predictions that “today would be the day” only to see the Little Master later trudging back to the pavilion having fallen short of the triple figure mark.
In the eyes of the romantics, especially, the timing of Tendulkar’s hundredth century was almost written in the stars.
The World Cup final — which India of course won — in Mumbai was surely the stage for this great cricketer to reach this phenomenal milestone. He knows how to handle the pressure, and the big stage, and it comes no bigger than a World Cup final watched by billions. But no, he was out for 18.
Sachin looked very defensive from start and he became even more defensive as he closed in on his century. Sachin looked a relieved man and went emotional after the century, His eyes became wet as he pointed the Indian logo on his helmet to the stands.