In the opinion of many former cricketers and critics, Sachin Tendulkar is the best batsman of his generation.
By Rajesh Kumar
An aggressive, right-handed opening batsman in One Day Internationals with every shot in the book, he is, in fact, a cricketing legend. The record books are studded with his superb performances in Tests as well as ODIs during the last two decades.
Over the years, Sachin has played several outstanding innings in Tests and ODIs, the latest being 175 off 141 balls – an innings embellished with four sixes and nineteen fours – at a strike rate of 124.11 against Australia at Hyderabad on November 5, 2009. He had reached his hundred off 81 balls, establishing in the process an Indian record for the fastest hundred against Australia.
During his 45th hundred, Sachin became the first batsman to complete 17,000 runs in ODIs apart from establishing several records in the process. His run-aggregate of 2995 (ave.46.79) in 66 ODIs against Australia is now the highest by any batsman against any opponent.
Although Sachin finished on the losing side while posting his 45th century, he became the first player to post nine hundreds against Australia, which is a record for most hundreds against any opponent in ODIs.
Justifiably, he was adjudged the Man of the Match, extending his record for most Man of the Match awards (60)
in ODIs. Apart from one award as batsman of the series in the Singer World Series in Sri Lanka in 1994, he got 14 Player of the series awards, which is also a record.
In the course of his 175 against Australia, Sachin became the first batsman to complete 6,000 runs in India – 6092 at an average of 46.15, including 17 hundreds and 34 fifties, in 149 matches. No other batsman has even managed to reach 3,500 on Indian soil.
Thirty two of his 45 hundreds have resulted in the Indian victories, which is also a world record. He also holds a world record for most number of fifties (91).
Apart from setting a record for the highest run-aggregate – 17168 runs at an average of 44.59 in 435 ODIs, Sachin holds a world record for amassing most runs in a calendar year – 1894 (ave.65.31) in 34 matches in 1998.
He could accomplish the aforesaid run-aggregate during 1998, thanks only to his nine hundreds, which is also a record for most hundreds in a calendar year. Overall, Sachin has achieved the distinction of registering 1,000 runs or more in seven calendar years, another record held by him.
His career-best, an unbeaten 186 off 150 balls at Hyderabad, Deccan on November 8, 1999 is a record for the highest individual innings against New Zealand.
Sachin is the only batsman in the history of ODIs to have made 2000 runs or more against three opponents – Australia (2995), Sri Lanka (2749) and Pakistan (2389).
Another important record held by him is for making most hundreds (6) in the Tournament finals, enabling India to register victories in all the finals while making
Sachin’s aggregate of 1335 (ave.41.71) in 36 matches is a record in India-England ODIs. Also his aggregate of 1750 (ave.46.05) in 42 matches is a record in India-New Zealand ODIs.
Apart from his 45 hundreds, Sachin has narrowly missed recording centuries seventeen times between 90 and 99, including three innings in the ‘Nervous Ninety Nine’ – one each against South Africa, England and Pakistan. No other batsman has recorded ten scores in the nervous nineties.
With 175, Sachin has equalled Herschelle Gibbs’ record for making most runs in an innings against Australia in ODIs. Gibbs had made 175 off 111 balls at Johannesburg on March 12, 2006.
His 154 wickets (ave.44.19) in ODIs include two five-wicket hauls. His feat of becoming the first all-rounder in the history of ODIs to post a hundred and capture five wickets in an innings against Australia is unknown – 141 off 128 balls and 4 for 38 at Dhaka on October 28, 1998.
As in ODIs, Sachin holds both the records i.e. highest run-aggregate (12,773) and centuries (42) in Tests. His tally of ten hundreds in 29 matches against Australia is bettered only by England’s Sir Jack Hobbs – 12 in 41 Tests.
Five times, he has recorded 1,000 runs or more in a calendar year – 1997, 1999, 2001, 2002 and 2068 – his best year in terms of run-aggregate being 2002, amassing 1,392 (ave.55.68) including four hundreds in 16 Tests.
His tally of 34 centuries includes four double hundreds – one each against Australia, New Zealand, Bangladesh and Zimbabwe. In the 2003-04 Sydney Test against Australia, he impressed everyone with his magnificent unbeaten innings of 241 and 60 to became the first batsman to register two unbeaten knocks, consisting of double century and a fifty in a Test match, against Australia. He deservingly got the Man of the Match award.
Sachin (29951 runs) is now all set to become the first batsman to aggregate 30,000 international runs