Sachin Tendulkar’s incredible cricketing journey reached a momentous destination in Mirpur on Friday. The maestro became the first cricketer to notch up 100 international centuries when he scored 114 against Bangladesh in the Asia Cup ODI tournament.
The little big man, who innovates and creates, had carved out another big slice of history for himself, his country and the game itself. However, the celebratory mood in India was a tad dampened by the team’s five-wicket loss to Bangladesh in the contest.
Tendulkar’s international career began way back in November 1989, against Pakistan in the Karachi Test. Cricket’s most complete batsman continues to ride on the highway to glory. The 38-year-old Tendulkar now has a magical collection of 51 Test and 49 ODI hundreds. Australia’s Ricky Ponting is next in the list of international centuries and he is way behind his great Indian rival with 71 hundreds.
Tendulkar’s phenomenal achievement reflecting a cricketer’s ability to adapt to different formats and situations, technique, fitness and desire was, ironically, achieved in a rather low key setting against a lower ranked cricketing nation.Yet, the enormity of the moment for cricket cannot be understated.
Immense strength of mind had been a key attribute in Tendulkar’s quest — when this gifted batsman does not conjure, he constructs — but the long and often agonising wait of 370 days for his century of centuries could have stretched even this cricketing giant’s belief.
Tendulkar’s 99th international hundred arrived against South Africa in Nagpur on March 12, 2011. The period after those heady World Cup days at home proved testing. It took 11 Test matches and 13 ODIs, before Tendulkar kissed the crest on his helmet in Mirpur after reaching his landmark.
Tendulkar might have remembered his first hundred – a wonderful unbeaten 119 of balance and timing in the Old Trafford Test against England in 1990. His maiden ODI century — 110 versus Australia in Colombo in 1994 — took a little longer to come but by now he was well on his way to breaking most batting barriers with a heady mix of poise and aggression.