Did you know that it took 78 one-day internationals for Sachin Tendulkar to score a hundred? It’s an odd fact, that, considering he’s squeezed in another 44 since then, including a whopping 175 against Australia today.
It’s sometimes difficult to appreciate Sachin Tendulkar properly. It’s like thinking about the vast emptiness of space or the vast emptiness of the modern urban lifestyle. It’s all too much to comprehend.
What has Sachin actually achieved?
Sachin Tendulkar scored his 17,000th run today. That’s a stupid number that’s seemingly of no consequence at all. But then think to yourself that scoring just a thousand one-day international runs is actually quite an achievement. Ricky Ponting’s only just passed 12,000 and he’s the third-highest one-day run-scorer of all time. Sanath Jayasuriya’s second on about 13,000. These guys are a long, long way behind.
Two whole decades of being pretty damn exceptional
Tendulkar’s not some fly-by-night like Mike Hussey; he’s not some short-lived overachiever like Ricky Ponting or Brian Lara. Tendulkar’s in it for the long haul. As impressive as all the runs and all the hundreds are, the most jaw-dropping achievement of all is that Sachin Tendulkar has managed to be good enough to play for his country for 20 years.
Bet he’s ace at frisbee
He’s not a Nepali Ultimate Frisbee player either – he’s an Indian cricketer. And not just any kind of Indian cricketer – an Indian batsman. This is a country where if you wander down to the Oval Maidan in Mumbai of an afternoon and grab the six nearest people, you’ll probably have a Test standard batting line-up. Sachin Tendulkar has been pretty much the best batsman in this country for 20 years. That’s astonishing.
A tree falling in the woods may or may not make a sound
But a Sachin Tendulkar hundred in a packed stadium makes a kind of searing white noise that sets the hairs on the back of your neck on end even when you’re sat in England watching it on Sky Plus when you already know the result.
Towards the end of this match, Suresh Raina hit a cracking six and got all pumped-up and pleased with himself. He went for another big swing and spazzed it. Sachin Tendulkar hit two sixes in a row at one point. We can’t remember what he did with the next delivery, but he didn’t get out. He passed 17,000 runs and didn’t get out next ball. He got his hundred and still ploughed on.
But get it wrong and the white noise becomes blue murder. There’s that too.
And what have you got?
You get batsmen who are exceptional when they’re 16. You get batsmen with adamantium wrists. You get batsmen who choose their shots well.
You get cricketers who are fit and dedicated to their sport. You get cricketers who can cope with the downs and who come back stronger. You get get cricketers who can last for 20 years.
You never get all of this.
On the slide
There were people four years ago saying that Sachin Tendulkar was ‘past it’. They said his reflexes had gone. People often say this about batsmen once they get past 30. It’s such utter, utter bullshit.
Oh and by the way, Australia won.