Sachin Tendulkar, who turned 43 on Sunday, is our Legend of the Week.
Tendulkar has been out of the game for just over two years now, but his career is one to be celebrated for the ages. He is arguably the most complete batsman of all time, and unarguably the most prolific run-scorer of all time. The master of all shots and the pioneer of the upper-cut, Tendulkar played 200 Tests and 463 ODIs for India, amassing over 34 000 international runs.
He was only 16 when he made his debut, and one of his finest moments was as a 19-year-old – his century at the WACA in 1992 is considered one of the best innings to have ever been played in Australia. A few years later he received the ultimate compliment from the ultimate batsman: Don Bradman confided to his wife that Tendulkar reminded him of himself.
Before the age of 25 he’d already racked up 16 Test hundreds. In 2000, he became the first batsman to have scored 50 international hundreds. In 2008 he passed Brian Lara as the leading Test run-scorer and in 2012, one month short of his 39th birthday, he became the first player to score 100 international centuries. This, like the great Bradman’s Test average, is very unlikely to be broken in this generation.
If anyone can get close it’s probably Virat Kohli, and the Indian skipper was quick to praise his idol on Sunday morning on his Instagram page. ‘Happy birthday to the person who gave me the vision to be a cricketer. Who inspired me like millions across the nation and the world to win.’
Tendulkar’s playing days aren’t quite finished, as he played in the All Star Series towards the end of 2015, scoring a fifty in the third game for his team, Sachin’s Blasters.