Splendid Sachin sets a World Record

Sachin Tendulkar stands atop cricket’s Everest but he isn’t looking down at the cricketing world. That would be unlike him for he looks upon this game as a vehicle of fulfilment, as a servant rather than a master. There is a delicious irony to it. One of the most humble devotees of the game is himself an idol to so many.Of course he knew he was going to get there. Elbows and ankles and many lesser known joints that he brought into public consciousness were the only hurdles. He has always maintained that if he played enough he would get the record. And so away from the public eye, in these last two or three years he worked on getting his body back into shape.Each time it was a more uphill battle than before, each time the odds against him returning as an equally good cricketer diminished, but he kept trying. He winced and he grimaced but his commitment to the game he loves saw him through. Tendulkar’s phenomenal success lies as much in toil, perseverance and such hardy qualities as it does in the many gifts he has been bestowed with.Yesterday, he needed only 15 and instead of laying out a red carpet, Mohali did better. Daljit Singh gave him an excellent wicket to bat on, where the ball was coming onto the bat and where shots could be played. This is where, these days, we see the original Tendulkar—on slow, low pitches where he has to bat to save a match, he is like a miscast actor. Even there he delivers his lines, comes prepared, does what he has to but that is not him. He would have loved the fact that he got to the record against Australia. They seek his wicket, the Aussies, they don’t give him an inch, but they respect him mightily. Earlier this year in Australia, he got a standing ovation at every ground he played on and admitted later that it moved him enormously. Now he has got 88 and showed he can still bat. An irreverent young generation, in a hurry to erase legend, will have to wait longer.He is still only 35 but because he started so young and couldn’t sign a tour contract till he had scored three Test hundreds, it seems he has been around forever.

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