November 15, 1989 is a historic day for Indian cricket. The venue was Karachi, when a slim and a shy boy from Mumbai – Sachin Tendulkar made his debut against Pakistan at a tender age of 16. 28 years ago, no one could have predicted – probably not even Sachin himself – that this boy from Mumbai would go on to play 200 Tests and 463 ODIs for India while breaking every possible record in the books.
Tendulkar went on to dominate the cricketing world in the next two decades, etched his name repeatedly in the history books and left behind a legacy which no Indian cricket fan will ever forget.
When this inexperienced timid shy guy came on to bat at No. 6, India were tottering at 41-4 in reply to Pakistan’s first innings total of 409. Tendulkar scored 15 from 24 balls with the help of two boundaries before being bowled by another debutant – Waqar Younis.
However, he had no opportunity to bat in the second innings with the contest ending in a draw. Although his debut was a mediocre one but what followed in the next 24 years was a treat to the eyes of every cricket fan. The legendary batsman went on to score 15,921 runs in Tests and 18,426 in ODIs.
Sachin has always been counted among the best batsmen of all times and he has stats to back it. He is the only player to have scored 100 international centuries, the first batsman to score a double century in a One-Day Internationals. He is the holder of the record for the most number of runs in both ODI and Test cricket and the only player to complete more than 30,000 runs in international cricket.
His achievements seem even greater as the expectations he had to carry every single time he went out to bat was unbelievable. Everytime he walked on to bat – his fans and whole of the nation expected nothing less than a century from this cricketing genius. Sachin was the backbone of Team India when he started his career, but despite being in the company of Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman in the second phase of his career – expectations were never lowered by his fans.
Bharat Ratna winner, having played 6 World Cups and his dream of winning World Cup came true on April 2, 2011 on his homeground Wankehede Stadium in Mumbai.
He received Arjuna Award in 1994, the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 1997, India’s highest sporting honor, and the Padma Shri and Padma Vibhushan awards in 1999 and 2008, respectively. He is the only sportsperson to receive the Bharat Ratna, India’s highest civilian award. He retired from the game in November 16, 2013.
And Sachin’s achievements can be summed up in one of the famous quote.
“Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don’t know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their television sets and switch off their lives – BBC Sports, on Sachin Tendulkar.”