He's known as the god of the gentlemen's game. Others argue that it isn't fair to attribute divine causation to his very human struggle and achievements. There is, however, no denying that Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar has played a singular role in tranforming global cricket. No record was too high for him to smash. No bowler was too scary to trouble him for long. And wickets would come his way too if he picked up the ball. No wonder that some of his fans even installed him in a temple.
It was 43 years ago on this day that Tendulkar was born at Nirmal Nursing Home in Mumbai. At the age of 11, he took up cricket and it took just five years from then for him to make his Test debut for India.
In his career spanning more than two decades, Tendulkar broke hundreds of records previously made and got some of his own that no batsmen in the near future can even hope to touch.
“I have seen God. He bats for India at number four in Tests,” declared Australian batsmen Matthew Hayden, referring to Tendulkar. Wrote commentator Harsha Bhogle in his letter to the sportman after his retirement from One Day Internationals: "You were a great habit, Sachin."
Never mind that he has been away from the field for three years now. Never mind that he has maintained a low profile after retirement by choosing to spend more time with family and training young cricketers. Tendulkar remains a legend that is only going to loom larger as shorter formats of the game which are more about entertainment than cricketing class become more prevelent.
On the eve of his 43rd birthday on Saturday, a Delhi crowd watching an Indian Premier League game at Feroz Shah Kotla erupted into chants of “Sachin, Sachin”. These were mixed with other calls such as “Happy Birthday to you.” In the middle of the match but it was the legend’s birthday that the crowds cared to remember rather than rooting for their home team.
A similar sentiment engulfed social media starting midnight as everyone reminisced about the legend once more. From team mates to politicians to brands – nobody could resist Sachin Tendulkar as they rushed to wish him Happy Birthday in their own special way. Some found humour in nostalgia of watching Sachin bat even as many chose to share their favourite moments of his career on the occasion. Here’s a walk down the memory lane: