Exactly 18 years ago today a gawky sixteen year old from Dadar with funny hair walked on the cricket pitch. Little did the world know that it was witnessing the debut of a cricketing legend and the greatest batsman ever (personal opinion which I think is supported by millions more). His name – SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR.

Here’s the scorecard from that debut match:

http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/india/engine/match/63513.html

(Note the players – seems another era!)

Today after 18 years, Sachin is still playing and winning matches for India (although not as many as we would like). Today he played in the typical “Sachin” fashion to steer India to a series victory over Pakistan at Gwalior. (Another little trivia: This is India’s series victory over Pakistan after 24 years on Indian soil – it was 1983 and Kapil Dev was the captain).

Here’s the scorecard from today’s match:

http://content-usa.cricinfo.com/indvpak/engine/current/match/297804.html
(Note the players – 21 of the ones from 1989 are not playing now)

Lets do the numbers on the Little Master:
Test Statistics
Matches: 140
Centuries :37
Average: 53
Total Runs: 11150
Highest Score: 248 (not out)

One Day Statistics
Matches: 406
Centuries : 41
Strike Rate: 86
Total Runs: 15932
Highest Score: 186 (not out)

His fans and critics have put him up on a pedestal and worshipped him like a demi-god numerous time. These same fans and critics have maligned him, pulled him down and written him off numerous times. But Sachin has always let his actions with the bat or the ball speak for him. He has taken accolades and criticism with equal humility and modesty. I don’t think he ever believed that he is anything more than a human being with a special talent. He is still the little boy from Sharadashram who one fine day held a bat in his hand and carved his and Indian cricket’s destiny – one stroke and one ball at a time.

More on Sachin:

http://www.time.com/time/asia/2006/heroes/ae_tendulkar.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sachin_Tendulkar

http://tendulkar.co.in/