Everything You Need to Know About Sachin Tendulkar

On the eve of his retirement, here's how to ease your way through a conversation about the greatest cricketer and sportsman to have ever lived

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Danish Siddiqui / AP

Indian cricket player Sachin Tendulkar speaks during a news conference to launch a travel portal in Mumbai Oct. 23, 2013

Correction Appended: Nov. 14

He is the Greatest. Sportsman. Ever. Cricket legend Tendulkar has broken all the records there are to break and done so beautifully. He has scored over 34,000 runs in a career spanning more than two decades, during which he has consistently brought his A-game, having never once been dropped from his country’s Test side (its most elite cricket team). There isn’t another athlete who can match that.

He Embodies the Aspirations of a Billion People: Tendulkar’s initial years in cricket (he debuted in 1989) took place against a turbulent backdrop. India was trying to come to grips with economic liberalization, caste clashes, communal riots and political instability. Every time he scored a hundred runs (known in cricket as a century), the hopes of a billion people took flight. In the words of Indian poet, CP Surendran, when Tendulkar walked out to bat, “a whole nation, tatters and all, marched with him to the battle arena.”

Indians Worship Him as a God: A complete, total living embodiment of the divine.  

An earlier version of this story included a reported quote from President Obama. The quote has been removed because it cannot be verified.

MORE: Sachin Tendulkar’s 10 Greatest Moments

109 comments
BrainSight
BrainSight

Sachin is one of the most inspiring person for our youth. 

www.brainsight.co.in

B
B

In Bihar India a temple is being made for the god of cricket, join in prayers.

klp_pdc@yahoo.com
klp_pdc@yahoo.com

I watched some of his and Lara's old innings last weekend and it is an absolute joy to watch these two modern day greats. They are both in a class of their own.

helloruchi7
helloruchi7

Thanks is the least that I can say to Sachin and I will like to say media that they should also encourage the other sports and players. they should not be biased.

helloruchi7
helloruchi7

Sachin is the best. I had not interested in cricket in my early days. I have liked and loved cricket because of Sachin. I was a kid when I saw Sachin. He is my favourite. I don't know everything about cricket,in fact I know very less. But one thing I know is Sachin is an inspiring sportsman and good human being.Most importantly I love him and respect him a lot. his dedication is outstanding.

Shubham Mishra
Shubham Mishra

he's the best....and haters can go on and support their idols we won't come there and criticize them. Internet is full of people who hate Indians no matter how good we are, just because of their crippled mentality and the approach of seeing everything like "if its not white it's not good" #loveyousachin #ThankYouSachin #peace

Shadowfax666
Shadowfax666

Sachin Tendulkar is a great batsman, cricketer and sportsman. But this article is a bit biased and unprofessional.

'He is the Greatest. Sportsman. Ever.' Is that a joke?

There are many others from different sports who can make that claim as well, some better than Tendulkar.

This is not to take anything away from Tendulkar, but from the journalists who exaggerate his achievements away from reality.

Tendulkar is not even the undisputed greatest in cricket. Of course there are those who claim that Bradman played against fewer oppositions and mostly England.

But the same people will fail to point out the difference in quality of bats and the covered, protected, batsmen-friendly pitches, protective gear that favors Sachin's generation.

That is evident with so many average batsmen scoring heavily nowadays.

The best way to compare two players from different eras is the measure of how far ahead each player is in his own generation. In the case of Bradman, there is no one even on the same charts. He is in a league of his own.

Sachin, though the best of his generation, is not in a different league from Lara, Ponting, Kallis, Dravid etc. He is better than those, however not by a whole new level. Anyone who says otherwise is delusional.

‘having never once been dropped from his country’s Test side ‘

That has an explanation. Sometimes opportunities and competition shape teams. Tendulkar is very lucky to be an Indian.

Tendulkar got his debut in 1989. His first year average - 35.83.

Ricky Ponting debuted in 1995 after years of dominating first class county. His first year average - 83.50.

Dropped when Mark Waugh returned to the side(Mark’s injury had got Ponting his debut)

Get this, between 1995 and 2003, only seven players debuted for Australia in tests. All of them turned out to be giants of the game.

That tells you the difference between Australian and Indian teams in 1995 and 1989 respectively. It was very easy to enter the Indian team in 1989 and stay in because there was no competition.

That is called luck. Tendulkar is simply lucky to have survived his first three years in the team. Were he in an Australian side, he would have been dropped.

In contrast, consider Steve Waugh.  He, despite being the captain of the side, was about to be dropped after Ashes 2002-03.

He averaged above 30 for the previous year including a hundred. And despite the Australian team, completely and utterly, thrashing England in the Ashes. He had scored some fifties as well.

I cannot imagine an Indian captain being dropped for his poor batting despite the team thrashing opponents. And Waugh’s batting wasn’t as poor at that.

By that standard, Tendulkar should have been dropped in 1991, 1995, 2003, 2006 and 2012.

So Tendulkar has never been dropped because the Indian side didn’t have much internal competition in the 90s and by 2000s, he had become a huge star. That wouldn’t have kept him in the team in England or Australia.

So Tendulkar’s been lucky to have played so long. But he is a brilliant batsman, arguably the best of this generation. But to say undisputedly best of this generation or ‘greatest sportsman’ is simply overrating a great player.

And for all those saying 'he carried a billion expectations'. All right.

But the pressure of expectation is never greater than the pressure of responsibility or accountability.

KishoreKoya
KishoreKoya

Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar remains heart of the cricketers around the globe. millions of thanks to sachin and the cricket game for entertaining so long time

Jayakrishnan Divakaran
Jayakrishnan Divakaran

interesting title by TIME...are there many other great things and happenings in this world, west is ignorant of....

BansalMishra
BansalMishra

He likes to eat Mangoes, Beef & Mutton Curry and likes to have his eggs well over done.

Ch. Ali Ghafoor
Ch. Ali Ghafoor

he is a best batsman of this time but not for his team only for his records those did'nt save his team from disasters.

Prince Solomon
Prince Solomon

He's the Maradona, Michael Jordan, Bart Starr and Wayne Gretzky combined into One.

PhilC
PhilC

Do you have an authentic reference for the Obama quote ? It is supposed to be a made up quote that went viral in the net.

B
B

Are the they going to make his temple to worship.

Siphelele SF Mkhize
Siphelele SF Mkhize

if you don't know him, you probably don't know the sport of cricket #the Little Master

Dnd Customs
Dnd Customs

thats the best headline most canadians wont get cause of stevie asscrack...

Deborah Pedersen
Deborah Pedersen

I don't know any South Asian people, and I don't care who he is, and after reading the article he's even less important and interesting than the man that parks his car next to me.

Marc Orr
Marc Orr

Cricket is even less important than baseball... and that's saying something.

Shilpa Patil
Shilpa Patil

Not just south Asian, I'm sure all the countries where cricket is played and followed, will laugh at you, if you say you don't know cricket. Daniel Radcliffe stood in line to get Sachin's autograph.

Kiru Breezy
Kiru Breezy

He is the second best after Brian Charles Lara.

Jayanth Kommidi
Jayanth Kommidi

Ok so you say that because of sachin being selfish we din't win more world cups?

Markus H Tremblay
Markus H Tremblay

I hope Valentino Rossi VR46 Official gets this attention when he retires

Jayanth Kommidi
Jayanth Kommidi

So hayden ,gilchrist,brett lee,punter dominated because of steve waugh??? then what about Ricky ponting then?? they won 2 WC's and lost 1 under him so australia din't play as a team in the last WC?

Prada Venkat
Prada Venkat

Jerk I was comparing Steve waugh and Tendulkar. Understand COUNTRY IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN INDIVIDUAL RECORDS . One reason why we dint win worldcup all these years.

Jayanth Kommidi
Jayanth Kommidi

now you tell me that india never played as a team...ROFLMAO!!!!!!

awyeahh1
awyeahh1

Sachin Tendulkar, cricket ? seriously time? couldn't care less. Journalism is dead. ty

Prada Venkat
Prada Venkat

They were dominant ecause Australia played as a team. Steve waugh held them as a team !

Jayanth Kommidi
Jayanth Kommidi

u compare a team with the most dominant cricketers for a decade to sachin and u strike him off saying that he has few world cups that Australia..that's it u need some serious counselling..go home you are drunk!!!!

Jayanth Kommidi
Jayanth Kommidi

u ignorant fool cricket is not a single person game...did india ever had a strong bowling line up like mcgrath,warne,brett lee??? where u can score 30's and 40's and still win it?

Prada Venkat
Prada Venkat

He was in team for 20 odd years ecause of his records . You will never admit it but the cricket world knows he was not much of a team player. Steve Waugh he was. Australia won many world cups under him. Compare him and Sachin you would get your answer.

Jayanth Kommidi
Jayanth Kommidi

Either he is an ignorant fool or doesn't like sachin..first he says india never won,again he says how many centuries in a winning cause after that he says he never plays for his country and after everything he says names of all the other team members who look up sachin as their inspiration one way or the other are more devoted to play for the country than the man himself??? what a pity!!!!! where has this country gone????

Naga Ravi Thej Kasibhatla
Naga Ravi Thej Kasibhatla

isn't it superstitious to say 'when sachin scores a century India loses', statistics show truth.. but stats about this man show Culture.. There is much beyond winning and losing in a game, if he is not a good team player.. How can he sustain in team for a almost 2 decades.. ?? Will you accept someone who is not a good team player in your team for 20 odd years.. Start learning something if you can from him, stop doubting !!!

Prada Venkat
Prada Venkat

I never said that sachin never played for country but as he progressed he got obssesed with his records but that was not the case with Dravid, Ganguly , Laxman or Sehwag

Jayanth Kommidi
Jayanth Kommidi

so you say that only dravid and ganguly played for the country and sachin never played for the country??? can you tell me the name of a single cricketer in from 90's to the late 90's whom you remember winning it for india???

Prada Venkat
Prada Venkat

No use arguing. But as a fellow India I would just tell you one thing. Country matters most then Individuals. Rahul Dravid was called the wall because he was there everytime when India needed him and Ganguly laid foundation to a great team .

wyntage
wyntage

@Shadowfax666 Dude, I agree with your argument about him not being the "Greatest. Sportsman. Ever." That is controversial, to say the least. But you asked him to be dropped in '91, '95, '03, '06 & '12. Well, in ALL those years he put up a more-than-decent show in the other format of the game, the ODIs.
'91 - His ODI average that year was 35. And he was 18. And already making waves. I mean, not many when they debut are billed (even by the opponents) for greatness. And that Perth 114 was round the corner. I mean, everyone knew that was coming. And you don't drop a player like that.
'95 - His ODI average that year was 40. Yea, I need not mention that a 40 for an opener at that point of time will put you among the top 5 batsmen. And you don't drop a player of that calibre, especially when the World Cup is round the corner, do you? You know what happened in the World Cup.
'03 -  Seriously?!!! If you consider dropping a "Bradman-invite', a "Master-Blaster", a "Legend" and more importantly, the player of the World Cup with a world-record 673-run tally, you gotta rethink your strategy, at least once. By this time, he had won enough matches for India with his mere presence, leave alone the numbers. The calming effect that his press conference had on the nation when India were beaten black & blue by Australia in the group stage was immense. Players' homes were being ransacked and their effigies were being burnt in public and that ONE press conference made the difference. I live here and I know. His ODI average that year was 57 by the way. Not bad.
'06 - He averaged a decent 45 in ODIs that year. I agree his test performances hit a nadir that year and his place in the squad was saved by his ODI form and the Ganguly-Chappel spotlight amid preparations for the impending World Cup. He did play fantastic cricket after that, as you had mentioned. 
'12 - I get it. Even I wanted him to go out. But in India, we are a little more gracious. To at least the "Greatest. Sportsman. Ever." that WE have produced yet. 
Thank you.

klp_pdc@yahoo.com
klp_pdc@yahoo.com

@Shadowfax666 Punter is the biggest cheater the world has ever seen. His attitude on and off the field is juvenile. He is a bully and a coward. I have more respect for Shane Warne and Gilchrist. They are better players than Punter on and off the field. Warne knows how great Tendulkar is and that's why he invited Tendulkar to visit Bradman's house and not Punter.

sapanoza
sapanoza

Steve Waugh as captain - Only 1 world cup, if I can recollect the facts right.

sapanoza
sapanoza

Ha ha Venkat. I think you should try a career in stand up comedy. Cause, I have never laughed so loud in the recent past......!!!

Shadowfax666
Shadowfax666

@klp_pdc@yahoo.com

@Shadowfax666

Why the outrage over Ponting? I did not disrespect Sachin in any way in my comment. Neither did I say Ponting is better than him.

I just said Sachin is not that far ahead of others. Lara, Ponting, Kallis, Dravid are not leagues behind. The stats prove it.

And if you’re gonna say ‘the stats don’t always tell the whole story’, hold it. I agree.

In my opinion, Lara is just as good as Tendulkar in tests. Tendulkar’s brilliance really distances itself in the ODIs. But my most valuable player is Jacques Kallis. Kallis is in no way meagre to Sachin, and is miles ahead in the bowling.) That, for me, makes him the best cricketer of the lot.

I just found the 'He is the Greatest. Sportsman. Ever.' a bit biased overstatement. Other sportsmen can make that claim too.

Tendulkar doesn’t obliterate his contemporaries the way Bradman did. And that’s just cricket. Then there’s Michael Jordan, Federer, Pele, Maradona etc.

That statement may also be insulting to some of these and other sportsmen.

Tendulkar is a great player, no one’s disputing that. But it’s time people stopped blowing things over. He is among the greatest certainly. But 'He is the Greatest. Sportsman. Ever.' is surely exaggeration.

And if you were offended by me simply stating the factual differences between the conditions and circumstances in which Sachin and Ponting debuted, there’s nothing anyone can do about it.

Those are facts. Ponting had to work harder to get his debut. And his place in his team was far less secured, not due to poor performance, but simply the abundance of talent that Australia had in the late 90s.

And Indian selectors have been lenient on Tendulkar, not just in the last two years (Any Australian player would have lost his place or would have been under pressure from the selectors after two years of low performances.)

Tendulkar was under a little pressure but only from the fans. In no way was Tendulkar under any pressure from the selectors. And that’s just in the last two years.

The difference is highlighted by the Steve Waugh saga.

Ponting never stooped so low as Tendulkar did in 2002 and 2006. Of course he bounced back and played superbly later. But he should have got the axe from the selectors. He could have worked his way in again, earned his place again through domestics. The way Ponting had to do in the 90s. Or the way many Australian players have tried to after getting dropped in the prime ages of their careers.

This is not to diminish Tendulkar or to alleviate Ponting above Tendulkar in any way. This is just the reason for Tendulkar ‘having never once been dropped from his country’s Test side’.

And I hear all these talks about the pressure of 1 billion expectations and all. In comparison Ponting had to cope with the pressure of responsibility.

Things never worked well with Tendulkar’s captaincy (Not entirely his fault, a captain is only as good as his team). And he resigned from the captaincy.

Ponting was blessed with a stellar, star-studded team and hence his good captaincy records(bar the Ashes).

However, once those brilliant players had retired by 2008, Australia’s performance has been dropping ever since. But Ponting didn’t have the option of resigning. As it is when he finally did resign, it was a first for an Australian captain to continue playing under a new captain.)

Ponting’s batting experienced tremendous decline since 2009. It may or may not have to do with his captaincy troubles. But one wonders eh..?

Now what you do is compare Tendulkar and Ponting’s careers up to that point in time. Ponting averages 57.18. And though people now forget it, it has to be remembered how good and threatening a force Ponting was up to that point in time.

When Lara retired he held almost all test records. And he expected Sachin to break them soon, but said Ponting would eventually end up with all the records.

Things didn’t turn out that way, of course. But who knows? Maybe if Tendulkar had been given the drop in 2006 and he couldn’t have made his way back (drop of morale or whatever)….

Anyway, that’s just speculation. The point is, Tendulkar was never that far ahead of Ponting as everyone assumes today. Ponting was real close. I know a lot of Sachin diehard fans who felt threatened by Ponting’s performances back then. Maybe that’s the reason most of Sachin’s fans hate Ponting.

Tendulkar is a great player and deserves all his records and achievements. But he has had some luck or rather he has not had bad luck.