Look at the top 50 individual scores in ODIs and you see a remarkably diverse mixture of names, ranging from Hamilton Masakadza to David Gower. The only clear trends are that big scores have been increasing frequent recently and that minnows are often on the receiving end of the most brutal punishment. But take a closer look and class truly does stand out:
# Innings in the Top 50
5 – Sachin Tendulkar
4 – Sanath Jayasuria
3 – Sir Vivian Richards
3 – Brian Charles Lara
Need I elaborate? 🙂
Truth be told, there’s not much that can be said. I’m not sure what’s more, the number of runs Tendulkar has scored (in all formats) or the number of pages written about him, or the number of hours spend discussing him on radio and television.
Even if he hasn’t tired of it all yet, I’m guessing his bats are tired of getting raised in front of crowds again and again 😉
In fact, as Miandad says, this record-breaking effort was always on the cards. With his skill and temperament, this record was never out of Sachin’s reach, and he reaffirmed that with the brilliant 175 against Australia recently. Cricinfo staff correctly notes, in this list of his best knocks, that Tendulkar has “mastered the art of scoring quick runs without taking any risks.”
When in the zone, it seems like he can’t be challenged at all as he mechanically does his job. Not like Rahul Dravid, who is the very picture of concentration and focus, every single delivery. Not like Ricky Ponting, who comes out to the crease with a specific purpose driving each innings, and is a winner more than a batsman. Not like Lara, who was so outrageously gifted that he was just really playing a game most of the time (and therefore always seemed most entertaining, at least to me.) Not like Inzamam, who was visibly weighed down by responsibility whenever he walked out, ponderous as he stepped onto the pitch. Not like Mohammad Yousuf, who often seems to go into zen mode when batting (perhaps that’s why he always forgets to call when running).
For Sachin, it really does seem like ‘all in a day’s work’, but when you’ve done that for over two decades, under more limelight and media attention and pressure than most people have ever known to be possible…it’s incredible how he’s rode his passion and patriotism to such success.
That’s why my favorite picture of Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar is the one of him celebrating his first hundred in India.