Why is Sachin Tendulkar the Best Batsman in the World?

Think about a young boy who has a dream, a love for cricket, and an unflinching commitment to succeed. That young man, who came from the busy streets of Mumbai, would go on to make history in the sport of cricket by winning millions of fans’ hearts with his incomparable skill and unbridled passion for the sport. He has smashed records and made a lasting impression on the history of the sport throughout the course of a career spanning more than two decades. He is known as the “God of Cricket”—a title that conjures up awe in the minds of cricket enthusiasts everywhere. Sachin Tendulkar is him.

In Sachin: The Story of the World’s Greatest Batsman, Gulu Ezekiel describes the life and accomplishments of Sachin Tendulkar. The most runs ever scored by a cricketer, he has amassed more than 33,000 runs in international competition. Explore this excerpt to learn more about why he is the best batsman in history.

Between March 2012 and November 2013, a lot happened in Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar’s life. First, on March 16, in the Asia Cup match against Bangladesh at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur, Dhaka, he scored the long-awaited 100th international century (all Tests and ODIs combined). His final game in India’s uniform was the second and final Test against the West Indies at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, which occurred 20 months after that. His career milestone of playing in his 200th Test match had never been reached before. But there was also a lot of drama and action in between. This included being a member of the Rohit Sharma-captained Mumbai Indians team, who won the IPL championship for the first time.

But getting back to March 2012, it had been just over a year since his last century against South Africa at the World Cup in Nagpur. After 33 innings without a century, the lean run came to an end. Tendulkar, who was greatly relieved, said after his century, “Dreams do come true. After 28 years, we finally won the World Cup last year. As the club from Down Under tumbled from one colossal loss to another in 2011–12 as the New Year progressed, the media and the general public appeared to be hanging on to his every inning and run.

The rout was over by the end of the fourth and final Test in Adelaide. Similar to what happened in England in the summer of 2011, India was thrashed 4-0. Indian cricket has suffered eight straight losses in Test matches played abroad, and the supporters were furious. But while the country and the cricketing world rejoiced, the 100th century helped erase all of that. The third Test match between India and South Africa in Cape Town in January 2011 saw Tendulkar score his 51st and last Test century of his career. Mumba has gone 39 innings without another hundred runs until the beginning of his final Test in November 2013 against the West Indies. At Kolkata, there was one more test. With Tendulkar out for 10, it was over in just three days, with India prevailing by an innings. In Mumbai, the circus began its last leg. The entire city was in a frenzy as the daybreak of November 14, 2013, approached. When West Indies were set to bat, they faltered for a pitiful 182 runs. The audience was energised. Would they be able to witness their favourite bat on the opening day itself?

The second wicket falling signalled the moment. All eyes in the stadium turned at precisely 3:35 p.m. to see Tendulkar leave the dressing room and enter the pitch for what would be his final at-bat. India had reached 157 for two at the close of the first day, with Tendulkar scoring 38 runs off 73 balls.
The frenzy reached a fever pitch over night. Would a century allow Tendulkar to retire in style? The second morning, when he turned fifty, there was a great deal of suspense and excitement. However, it was too good to continue. Tendulkar was out for 74 in the first over following the drinks break, bowled by Darren Sammy and caught by Narsingh Deonarine. Unless India and The Hero batted again, the dream was over.

That could not happen. India amassed 495 runs, a huge lead of 313 runs. The second innings of the West Indies was only slightly better, ending with a score of 187 all out, and the Test was over by the third day.

Tendulkar threw up his arms in celebration as the final wicket was taken, grabbed a souvenir stump, and hugged everyone—including the umpires. As he departed the playing field for the final time wearing the India colours, the Indian squad presented him with a running guard of honour. To shake his hand, the West Indians came onto the pitch. The presentation ceremony was put up and fireworks were fired off. After the time-consuming preliminaries were through, the chanting of “Sachin Sachin,” which had been heard in stadiums all over the world for more than 20 years, reached a peak. It was time for the final remarks.

A list of individuals to thank was with him. Nobody was overlooked. Sara and Arjun, the couple’s children, were sobbing while Anjali watched. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house, in fact. Tendulkar became the first athlete to win the Bharat Ratna, the nation’s highest civilian distinction, when it was revealed the government would bestow it on him. The joy of watching his son Arjun emulate his proud father by scoring a century on his first-class debut for Goa versus Rajasthan in the Ranji Trophy at Porvorim on December 14, 2022, may have outweighed his work with his charitable foundation and sports management firm.

Get a copy of Sachin: The Story of the World’s Greatest Batsman from Amazon to start following Sachin Tendulkar.

The author’s bio – One of India’s most prolific sports writers, Gulu Ezekiel (born 1959), has written 16 books and contributed to numerous others. Before relocating to New Delhi in 1991, he started his career in 1982 with Indian Express in Chennai. Along with positions at The Pioneer, Financial Express, and Outlook, he was Sports Editor at Asian Age, NDTV, and indya.com. His byline has appeared in more than 100 newspapers in India and other countries since he went freelancing in 2001. This is the fourth version of Ezekiel’s best-selling Sachin, which he has written for Penguin India and Puffin. Among his other writings is Sourav: A Biography; The Penguin Book of Cricket Lists; Captain Cool: The MS Dhoni Story and Myths and Mysteries: Indian Sport Behind the Headlines. He lives in Delhi, surrounded by books, music, and his sports memorabilia collection.

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