Over a span of 23 years the master blaster has brought several laurels for the country. Here are Sachin Tendulkar’s top ten moments which come to mind when we recall his contribution to world cricket.
1. 2nd April, 2011 (The World Cup winning moment)
“I couldn’t have asked for anything better than this. I think winning the World Cup is the ultimate thing and I am witnessing it,” Tendulkar himself defined the most special moment of his career. The Little Master himself made a significant contribution in the World Cup as he scored 482 runs from 9 matches. His highest score was 120 against England. The master produced 2 centuries and 2 half centuries which had 52 boundaries and 8 sixes at an impressive strike rate of 91.98.
In the final chasing 274 runs posted by Sri Lanka, India had a disastrous start as both Sehwag and Tendulkar were back in the pavilion. Sachin failed to make a contribution with the bat as he was out for just 18. But his team-mates were determined to make sure that they don’t falter once again in a World Cup Final. Indian cricket team, Indian cricket fans had tears of joy as the Men in Blue lifted Tendulkar on his home ground in front of a berserk Wankhede crowd.
As soon as Dhoni sealed the World Cup with a trademark six, Tendulkar came running in the ground like a kid who had witnessed his dream come true. All the members of the Indian team dedicated the World Cup to the batting maestro. Yuvraj Singh, who had a tremendous tournament, where he played several match-winning knocks, also said that his ‘someone special’ was the master himself.
2. March 16, 2012: 114 from 147 balls against Bangladesh (The 100th ton, pressure cooker relief):
It had been more than a year since he had been carrying the burden of not being able to score the much-awaited 100th ton. Tendulkar was included in the eleven man squad for the Asia cup which was criticized by many. Critics said what if Tendulkar flopped in the Asia Cup, instead of reaching the elusive ton, would he retire then? It wasn’t the most fluent innings from Tendulkar as it came off 138 balls. And for critics, it wasn’t a superior Bangladesh in the Asia Cup, but a minnow against whom the master achieved the historic feat. But then before this knock, Tendulkar hadn’t score an ODI ton against Bangladesh. So after his retirement, the critics would have stressed on the points that he couldn’t score an ODI ton against Bangladesh in his entire career and failed to score the elusive ton against them even after playing in the Asia Cup.
3. Making it to Bradman’s dream 11
"I think the best compliment was from Sir Don Bradman when he announced his all-time Test XI and I was part of that squad. That would be the best compliment," he said. While watching the game on television in his living room, Sir Don Bradman called his wife, Jessie, and asked her to check out a young man who was batting— the man, said Bradman, reminded him of himself.
Tendulkar was preferred over Brian Lara and Viv Richards and many others who have graced the game ever since the first Test match was played in 1877. Bradman had drawn a pool of 69 players from all the cricket playing countries and selected the best eleven from the list. Apart from Tendulkar, Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev were the other two Indians who were named in the pool, but they failed to make it to Bradman`s dream team.
Bradman’s dream 11: Barry Richards - South Africa, Arthur Morris – Australia, Don Bradman – Australia, Sachin Tendulkar – India, Gary Sobers - West Indies, Don Tallon – Australia, Ray Lindwall – Australia, Dennis Lillee – Australia, Alec Bedser – England, Bill O`Reilly – Australia, Clarrie Grimmett – Australia, 12th man: Wally Hammond – England.
The team was revealed in a book `Bradman`s Best` chronicled by Roland Perry after the death of the legend at the age of 92.
Apart from these precious moments, there have been some top performances by Tendulkar which are remembered by his fans till date.
4. 01 March 2003, 98 Vs Pakistan, World Cup
Pakistan had never beaten India in a World Cup match and Tendulkar made sure that the record remained intact. The Master, opening the innings with Virender Sehwag, tore apart one of the best seam bowling attack which included the likes of Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar. The match was also seen as a contest between Rawalpindi Express and the Master Blaster. The latter made sure that it wasn’t just a contest as he shredded Akhtar into pieces. His innings included a six which was produced from an upper cut at third-man. It is one of those shots played by Tendulkar which is cherished till date by the cricket fans. Tendulkar finally was out of Akhtar’s bowling, not before he had produced one of the greatest ODI knocks.
5. 24 Feb 2010, 200 against South Africa
He became the first male cricketer to score a double century. This historic knock came against the Proteas where the master bludgeoned 200 runs from just 147 balls which had 25 boundaries and three sixes! India scored 401 runs at the end of 50 overs which they comprehensively won by 153 runs. The spectators at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium witnessed history being created in front of their eyes as a flawless innings added another feather to Tendulkar’s cap.
Before this innings, the highest ODI score was shared by Saeed Anwar of Pakistan (194 against India, 1997) and Charles Coventry of Zimbabwe (194* against Bangladesh, 2009). Arguably the greatest batsman of all times once again proved why he is considered to be one.
6. May 23, 1999 (An emotional century against Kenya)
"My hero is my father because he is the one with whom everything started in my life. I follow my father," Tendulkar recently said in a press conference. For the man who is a hero for millions, Professor Ramesh Tendulkar remains to be his ultimate idol.
He had scored 21 ODI centuries before this one, but this three figure mark was the closest to his heart. The Little Master had returned from his father`s funeral in India the day before. India desperately needed to win the match against Kenya to remain in the super six.
Tendulkar remained unbeaten on 140 runs as he shared a 237-run partnership with Rahul Dravid who also remained unbeaten on 104. As soon as he reached the century, like he always does, he removed his helmet, looked up in the sky, to thank the Lord and probably his father.
7. Two fantabulous innings at Sharjah (143, 134)
22 Apr 1998, 143 against Australia, Sharjah: Australia won the toss in the crucial match, the result of which would have decided the opponent to meet in Australia for the finals. Michael Bevan scored a brilliant unbeaten century (101) as Australia posted 284 runs at the end of 50 overs. Now the Men in Blue had two targets: 285 to win the match, 254 to qualify for finals on run-rate. After a dust storm accounted for four overs, these were revised to 276 and 237. Tendulkar went on to score his highest score in ODIs (then) as he smashed 143 runs from 131 balls. Towards the end, India fell short by 25 runs, but the job was done, they were all set to meet the mighty Aussies in the finals.
24 April, 1998, 134 against Australia, Sharjah: Tendulkar could not have given himself a better birthday gift. Two days before, he produced one of the finest ODI knocks ever seen, though, India lost the match. But the job was half done, India qualified to meet the Kangaroos in the final of the CB series. And this time, Tendulkar made sure, that he single-handedly helped his side to win the CB series final.
Steve Waugh once again won the toss and decided to bat first. Australia were struggling at one stage-121/5, but the skipper (70) and Darren Lehmann (70) shared 103 runs for the sixth wicket and Australia posted a formidable target of 272. Tendulkar once again was the wrecker-in-chief as he smothered the Australian bowling attack and none of the bowlers had an answer to his spectacular innings. Tendulkar turned 25 as India defeated Australia in one of the best ODI series of all times. It was after this match that Shane Warne reckoned that Tendulkar gave him nightmares.
8. Two spectacular innings that gave India their first ODI series win against Australia (117* and 91 in CB series final, 2008)
March 02, 2008: 117* vs Australia, CB Series, 2nd final, Sydney: Ten years ago, Tendulkar had single-handedly demolished the Australian bowling attack at Sharjah. This time he decided to hunt them down in their own den.
It was first final of the CB series to be played between India and Australia. Australia won the toss and decided to bat first keeping in mind Indian team’s habit of succumbing to the pressure of big matches. Australia lost their top order for just 24 runs but it was a brilliant innings from Hayden (82) that brought the Australian innings back on track. Australia posted 239 runs at the end of 50 overs and it was definitely not what they would have liked to score against India.
Uthappa had been impressive as an opener with Tendulkar as both of them added 50 runs for the opening wicket. Uthappa, Gambhir and Yuvraj fell in quick successions as Tendulkar found some support in Rohit Sharma (66) as both of them added 123 runs for the fourth wicket. India won the match by 6 wickets and Tendulkar went on to score his 42nd ODI ton.
It was a special innings from Tendulkar as he hadn’t scored a century in Australia on 38 innings before this one and also because it put India 1-0 ahead in the best-of-three finals.
March 04, 2008: 91 against Australia, CB Series, 2nd final
Australia were expected to come with all guns blazing after the defeat in the first match in front of the home crowd. This time Dhoni won the toss and chose to bat first. Uthappa and Tendulkar came with an even better performance this time, as they added 94 runs for the first wicket. Tendulkar resumed his innings where he had left it in the match. Tendulkar departed in the 40th over as India had crossed 200 runs and it was the end of another great innings from the Little Master. India scored 258 runs and Australia lost the game by 9 runs and towards the end it was a very tight game. Just to remind you, it was the same match where James Hopes fell as the last wicket as he sat on the ground disheartened for a long time as the Men in Blue congratulated each other for a well deserved series win.
After the match, Dhoni reckoned that series victory in Australia was even more special than T20 World Cup victory in South Africa.
9. 31st January 1999, 136 v Pakistan, Chennai.
Considered as one of Tendulkar’s finest Test innings, it was a gem played by the master at Chennai. It was a century scored under pressure and it was also an effort that almost sealed an epic victory over arch-rival Pakistan. The two countries were playing a test match after 9 years, amid tight security.
India slumped to 82/5 and were in danger of an early finish. But Tendulkar along with Nayan Mongia (52) shared a 136-run stand and gave some hope to the team. It was a painful innings for Tendulkar due to a back strain. He was out for a duck in the first innings for which he compensated in the second. With Tendulkar still at the crease as the scoreboard read 254/6, it should have been a cakewalk for Team India. But Tendulkar, who was troubled with his aching back, was dismissed by Saqlain Mushtaq, as he mistimed a lofted drive. Mushtaq who picked up 5 wickets in the first innings came up with a similar performance in the second innings as well.
Tendulkar departed at the score of 254 and the rest of the three batsmen could manage to add just four runs to the score as Pakistan won the memorable match by 12 runs. It was the spirit of the Chennai crowd that gave Pakistan a standing ovation for a classic contest.
10. 1993, Hero Cup semi-final. Tendulkar’s magical last over against South Africa
While Tendulkar is mostly remembered for his performances with the bat, it is one of the rare occasions where he proved his worth with the ball as well. South Africa needed six runs to win off the last over with three wickets in hand.
After a lot of discussion, a conference of sort, Mohammad Azharuddin asked Tendulkar to bowl the last over. It was the final over of the innings and Tendulkar’s first. Impossible as it might sound, but the Proteas could not manage to score the runs required as India won the cliff-hanger by 2 runs. Well let’s not even mention the word 'chokers'.