Time magazine last week labelled Indian cricket legend as the world’s greatest sportsman.
In a cover article headlined “The God of Cricket”, the influential international magazine said: “Sachin Tendulkar, the world’s best athlete, doesn’t just carry the burden of a billion dreams. His success is intertwined with India’s economic rise.”
The Time article follows Tendulkar’s milestone achievement of a 100th century – a new feat – on March 16 against Bangladesh in Dhaka.
The magazine further said: “The Indian obsession with cricket means Tendulkar carries a heavier burden of expectations than any other athlete.”
Article author Bobby Ghosh goes on: “Of Tendulkar’s many achievements as a cricketer, perhaps the most difficult is the one he must repeat every time he bats for India: carrying the hopes and dreams of an entire nation on his back. It is the heaviest burden borne by any modern sportsman, and his ability to carry it for more than 22 years while utterly dominating his sport makes a good case that Tendulkar is the world’s greatest athlete.
“Tendulkar’s genius stems from a combination of physical attributes – superhuman hand-eye co-ordination, lightning reflexes, powerful wrists and near perfect balance – and a voracious appetite to keep accumulating runs to utterly dominate bowlers.
“Opponents have tried to intimidate him with speed and bounce, with guile and spin, all to no avail: he has no Achilles’ heel.”
Says Indian TV news anchor Rajdeep Sardesai: “Sachin’s the folk hero India want, at a time of political scandal and sense of moral decline. There are no political heroes in public life, and Bollywood heroes are fake. Sachin is the real thing.”
• 1989: Tendulkar made his debut for India as a 16-year-old wonder.
• 1990: Collects his first score of 100 or more in a five-day test match against England.
• 1994: Scores his first century in a one-day game against Australia.
• 1996: Becomes captain of the Indian team.
• 1997: Named cricketer of the year by Wisden, the sport’s bible.
• 2001: Becomes the first batsman to score 10,000 runs in the one-day format.
• 2002: Scores his 30th test century, surpassing Australian legend Don Bradman, to whom he is frequently compared.
• 2003: Racks up 673 runs in a World Cup, a record, and is named player of the tournament.
• 2005: Reaches 10,000 runs in test cricket.
• 2008: Surpasses Caribbean great Brian Lara to become the highest run scorer in test cricket.
• 2010: Becomes the first batsman to score a double century in a one-day game.
• 2011: India wins the World Cup, beating Sri Lanka, with Tendulkar as the tournament’s leading scorer again.
• 2012: Scores his 100th ton, a new feat.