Book Review: Sachin, 501 Things You Don’t know About the Master Blaster

Biswajit Jha

Is there anything new about the greatest sporting icon in India, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar? So much space has been dedicated towards this genius that this question will automatically come to the mind if one wants you to believe that there are still some unknown facts about this legend, who has inspired many a famous writers to pen him.

So when I got my hands on the recently launched book, Sachin, 501 Things You Don’t know About the Master Blaster, I was very sceptical about the value the book would add to my knowledge-base and to the cricket-informed public in India.

Written by sports journalist Suvam Pal, the book immediately changed my initial perception. Little did I know that inside the book, there were certain facts and anecdotes which will help the readers relive the entertainment provided by Sachin and disappointments when he failed to do the same.

Those who have seen Sachin making his debut in front of world’s most fearsome pace attack comprising Waqar Younus, Wasim Akram and Imran Khan at a tender age of just 16, will immediately remember the day when the legend made his Test debut while flipping through the initial chapters of the book.

Through the quizzes and facts on Sachin, Suvam, himself an avid quizzer and a passionate follower of the game, has also taken us to the days of his first Test hundred at Manchester in 1991, his courageous ton at Perth in 1992, his promotion as an ODI opener in New Zealand in 93-94, his solo show in the 1996 World Cup, his ascendancy as the captain of Team India, the historic 2001 Eden Test against invincible Oz side where he won India a game as a bowler, his first five-wicket haul in ODIs, his supreme display in 2003 World Cup where he played like a true champion and took his team through to the final, his ODI double ton against the Proteas at Gwalior in 2010 and so many other things that are associated with the Little Master.

The book, which is divided into ten chapters, depicts the life of the master in a chronological order, from his childhood days to his first ICC award. It also touches upon some really unknown facts and figures of a man who never ceases to evoke in marvel you whenever he takes to the cricket field.

More than the quizzes, the trivia about Sachin is more interesting. Hardly anybody knows that once Sachin fielded for a Pakistan XI comprising Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Rameez Raja in Mumbai. It is also surprising to know that though Sachin scored a number of tons in his career, he neither scored an ODI ton against Bangladesh nor did he hit any century against any associate nations against whom he has played so far.

The book comes up with another startling fact: the batting maestro has never played a domestic match against his illustrious team mate Anil Kumble. But when they faced each other in England in the famous Princess of Wales Memorial Match in the memory of Lady Diana at Lord’s in 1998, the leggie did manage to get the batting legend out in that match.

The book, which is a result of an extensive research work by Suvam, also delves into Sachin’s off field life like his appearance in a movie, his famous gesture of calling his childhood nanny to his marriage party.

The book also gives every die-hard Sachin fan an opportunity to test his or her knowledge about the maestro.

Though there are umpteen numbers of books written on the Master Blaster, there was hardly any attempt before to study the life of the Cricketing God of India through the prism of quizzes and trivia.

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