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The uncrowned king of the cricket world Don Bradman belonged to the times when the game lovers had to go to stadiums to enjoy the sport. But a batsman – about whom it is said that “who wants to see Bradman, see him” – is present in the modern times. All great cricket records are under his belt and nobody seems to equal him in this regard. He is “Don II” Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar!

[caption id="attachment_665" align="alignright" width="300"]If only Tendulkar is ruled out of the Indian cricket history, it would be a colourless tale (Photo: Getty Images) If only Tendulkar is ruled out of the Indian cricket history, it would be a colourless tale (Photo: Getty Images)[/caption]

Tendulkar, who is celebrating his 40th birthday today, has got so much fame that remains unmatched. He never turned back since making his debut in 1989 from the Karachi’s National Stadium against Pakistan. From salvaging the Old Trafford Test against England in 1990 to his 100th international century against Bangladesh in Asia Cup, his each and every run was praised by fans.

His record abound. Most Test runs, most ODI runs, most Test centuries, most ODI centuries, most Test half-centuries, most ODI half-centuries, most fours in Tests, most fours in ODIs, first ODI double-century, most man-of-the-match awards, most runs in World Cup tournaments, most runs by an individual in a World Cup, most Test and ODI runs by an individual, the longest ODI partnership and the list of records held by Tendulkar goes on.

Talk of Tendulkar’s memorable innings, a delivery by Waqar Younis hit him in the face when he started his career only at the age of 16. He completed his innings despite bleeding. He salvaged the Old Trafford Test for India by scoring century when he was just 17, and by the age of 25, when most players even could not start their careers, Tendulkar had made 16 Test centuries.

After the Old Trafford innings, his second memorable performance came on the Australia’s, perhaps world’s, fastest wicket. Though Australia won the match played in February 1992 in Waca, Perth, the spectators gave Tendulkar a big round of applause for the way he stood against Australian bowlers in the first innings.

Everyone remembers Tendulkar’s centuries in the round match against Australia and in the final of the 1998 Coca-Cola Cup. When the world’s best bowler Shane Warne felt frustrated against Tendulkar. India won both matches because of his innings and clinched the title.

Pakistan toured India in 1999 and a memorable match was played in Chennai. After India’s half of the team had been bowled out on just 82 runs in chasing a 271-run target, Tendulkar staged a partnership of 136 runs with Nayan Mongia and led India very close to victory. When India required only 17 runs to win, Tendulkar was dismissed by a “magic delivery” of Saqlain Mushtaq and India lost the match by 12 runs.

Besides, the 98 victorious runs scored against Pakistan in the 2003 World Cup which included a six off Shoaib Akhtar that dented the speedster’s charisma.

The last memorable innings by the player was in 2010 in Gwalior’s stadium when he achieved the milestone that hadn’t been touched by any player in the 40-year history of the game. He played an unbeaten 200-run against South Africa, making the first ever ODI double hundred. Studded with three sixes and 25 fours, the 147-ball innings was no doubt one of the best one-day innings, and will be remembered for ever not only by Tendulkar but by the fans as well.

[caption id="attachment_664" align="alignright" width="262"]Dream fulfilled in the form of World Cup victory after 22 years (Photo: AP) Dream fulfilled in the form of World Cup victory after 22 years (Photo: AP)[/caption]

Despite breaking so many records, there had still been a wish that Tendulkar wanted to achieve – to lift the World Cup. In his presence, Indian team had sometimes been knocked out in the first round or sometimes in the semi-final. They lost the 2003 World Cup even after making it to the final. The 2011 World Cup was the last chance when Tendulkar could achieve the honour because the age factor might not let him play the 2015 tournament. However, India made the most of the event and lifted the World Cup, fulfilling Tendulkar’s dream of holding the World Cup.

He is considered to be the “God of cricket” in India. Indian cricket fans can tolerate anything but a word against their god. When Shoaib Akhtar wrote in his book “Controversially Yours” that Tendulkar was afraid of facing him, the Pakistani pacer became the most infamous figure in India.

Nothing is left in the past two-decade history of Indian cricket, if only one player is excluded. Even if Tendulkar’s records are set aside, his fascinating batting style and the helplessness of world’s best bowlers against him are enough to earn him a place in the history books. If only Tendulkar is ruled out of the Indian cricket history, it would be a tedious tale.
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