Man Of The Century!
Cricket fans around the world and more than a billion Indians all heaved a sigh of relief on Friday when one of the most anticipated events in sporting history was finally achieved.
India batsman Sachin Tendulkar’s long ‘Godot-like’ wait for his 100th international century came to an end on Friday as he achieved the much anticipated landmark in the Asia Cup clash with Bangladesh.
The ‘Little Master’ has been stuck on 99 tons on the international stage since March last year, when he hit 111 in the World Cup against South Africa in Nagpur.
He was eventually out for 114 in an imposing Indian total of 289 for 5 but that was not enough to ensure victory as Bangladesh hit 295 for 5 to snatch an incredible five wicket win with four balls to spare and spoil the Tendulakar party.
‘I was not thinking about the milestone, the media started all this. Wherever I went – the restaurant, room service – everyone was talking about the 100th hundred,’ he told television commentator Ramiz Raja in quotes reported by www.espncricinfo.com.
‘Nobody talked about my 99 hundreds. It became mentally tough for me because nobody talked about my 99 hundreds. I started off the season batting reasonably well. I was luckless. I am not playing only for my hundredth hundred. It doesn’t matter how many 100s you score, you still put your head down, grind it out and do the job for the team.’
Asked if he had a message for his fans, Tendulkar added: ‘Enjoy the game and chase your dreams. Dreams do come true. I had to wait for 22 years for India to win the World Cup.’
Tendulkar has twice been out in the 90s since his last ton but on Friday got over the line in Mirpur with a clip into the leg-side off the bowling of Shakib Al Hasan.
He raised his arms to the sky in a muted celebration before being congratulated by the Bangladesh fielders.
A measure of the batsman’s greatest and the value of this unique feat is that there is very little likelihood of any other batsman coming even close to the landmark. Tendulkar stands head and shoulders above all the rest with a gap of more than 30 centuries between him and Australia’s Ricky Pointing who is second on the list.
Tendulkar, who reached his century off 138 balls, made his first international ton in 1990 against England at Old Trafford at the start of what has developed into a wonderful career.
Friday was the 38-year-old’s 49th in ODIs and his first against Bangladesh.
He failed to register a century on India’s tour of England, the home series against West Indies and the tour of Australia.
International Cricket Council chief executive Haroon Lorgat was quick to pay tribute to Tendulkar. He said: ‘On behalf of every cricket fan around the globe I congratulate Sachin on becoming the first person to score 100 centuries for his country.”
‘This is indeed a magnificent feat and not likely to be easily emulated. Fans have admired Sachin for more than 20 years and have recently waited with great expectation for his 100th international century.”