It was going to take something pretty special to wake this lapsed blogger from his slumber. KP's childish spat with his team mates and the ECB? Not a chance. England winning a Test series in India? No way. An Ashes series in England? Close but no cigar. The retirement of the Little Master? You bet it does. Rip van Winkle has arisen (as I Am the Resurrection by The Stone Roses blasts out of my hibernation cave).
In pure Rafa Benitez style - except with no rants required - here are some facts we'd like to celebrate about the remarkable career of Sachin Tendulkar:
- Longevity: An international career of 25 years is a staggering achievement and one that aptly apes the player with a similar sobriquet as Tendulkar: Sir Jack Hobbs - The Master.
- Records: Where do you start? 200 Test matches, 463 ODIs, just shy of 16,000 Test runs with 51 hundreds and close to 18,500 ODI runs with 49 tons. Wherever you look, the numbers are extraordinary.
- Sachin's 99.94: Incredible as it may seem, the Little Master's record number of Test hundreds is vulnerable with Jacques Kallis just seven three-figure scores behind and a certain Alastair Cook positioning himself well. But, Tendulkar's record of 49 ODI hundreds brokers no such threats. The closest challengers still playing (Chris Gayle with 21 and Virat Kohli with 17) are simply miles behind. This is Sachin's 99.94.
- Dignity: Rarely can someone be so good at what they do that not even a smidgen of arrogance or cockiness is detectable. That fact that Tendulkar has been and will continue to be deified by 1bn countrymen makes his modesty all the more remarkable.
But is he cricket's best ever batsman? At the risk of being declared a heretic, this writer thinks not. Don Bradman wrote an indelible claim to that title when he retired with that average of 99.94 to his name. You need to add a batsman of the class of Clive Lloyd's Test average to that of Sachin's final score of 53.78 to reach the Don.
Whilst you can't compare eras that still brokers no argument in our book. Better to celebrate Tendulkar's career as the remarkable one it was rather than making claims that are impossible to substantiate.
Sachin has been amazing and I for one have enjoyed watching him grow from boy to man over his remarkable tenure of a quarter of a century as King of India. Cheers Sachin.
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