When Sachin Tendulkar retired from all forms of cricket on November 16, 2013, the game lost one of its most diligent students. While the slogan ‘Cricket is our religion and Sachin is our god’, became famous in the 21st century, the Master Blaster himself considered the sport as his religion and worshipped it with sincerity and utmost passion. With over a billion fans around the world celebrating his 42nd birthday, we take a look at some of the most memorable moments that the Mumbai Indians mentor provided us with.
The Little Master announces his arrival: At the start of his career, Sachin missed out on a milestone that could have made him the youngest Test centurion in Cricket when India faced New Zealand at Napier in 1990. Later that year, India were struggling at 183/6 with over half the day remaining against England at Old Trafford in Manchester. The teenager stunned everyone and formed an unbeaten partnership of 160 runs with Manoj Prabhakar to prevent a defeat and scoring his maiden hundred in the process.
The Desert Storm: On April 24, 1998, Australia bowlers suffered the wrath of arguably the greatest innings ever played in an ODI. While the innings was played in a losing cause because of little support from the other end, Sachin single-handedly took the team to the finals of the Coca Cola Cup. Halfway through the innings, the game was stopped because of a desert storm hitting the ground and the target was revised by the D/L method. Once the maestro retook his guard on the pitch, Australia looked taken aback. India progressed into the final courtesy of 143 runs. They eventually went on to win the series due to another whirlwind innings by the right-handed batsman.
The Chennai masterpiece: Struggling after a poor display in the first innings, India had to chase a total in excess of 250 runs, on a fourth innings turning wicket of Chennai. The worst part was that Saqlain Mushtaq was bowling at his best and was forcing the Indian batsmen to dance to his tunes. In comes Sachin Tendulkar suffering from a fever and cramps throughout his body. He played one of the bravest and finest innings of his career, making 136 runs, putting India on track towards a win. However, there was little support yet again and the rest of the batting order failed to deliver following his dismissal and India lost the game by 13 runs. The much awaited 200: If there was one player who deserved and probably could score a 200 in ODIs, it was Sachin Tendulkar. He was at the peak of his powers during a phase where most batsmen would be fading into obscurity. Against a very strong South African bowling side at Gwalior, Sachin broke the 200-run barrier in One-Day cricket with the help of 25 boundaries and three sixes. The six over point at Centurion: It was a match that everyone was looking forward to in the 2003 World Cup. Arch-rivals India and Pakistan clashed at Centurion, in a game that was important for both the teams to qualify for the Super 6s stage. Pakistan batted first and set a 272-run target. With one of the best fast bowling units at their disposal on one of the fastest pitches in the world, Pakistan fancied their chances to win. An intense duel was on the cards between Sachin and Shoaib Akhtar and that was built up as much as the rivalry between the two nations. It was the second over of the game, Shoaib running in fast from his marathon run up bowled a short ball outside off. The Indian batting legend sliced the ball over the point region using the pace of the delivery and slammed it over the ropes into the stands. It remains etched in the memory of fans as one of the most iconic moments of God’s batting. Sachin played a match-winning innings of 98 runs and India won the match with almost five overs to spare.
The – I am not going to play the cover drive- innings of 241: When India toured Australia in 2003-04, Sachin was struggling to score against an Australian line up which had somehow managed to get him out in his favourite shot on three different occasions. In his sixth innings of the tour at Sydney, Sachin made a breathtaking 241 and in an immense show of patience, he refrained from playing a single cover drive.