At seventeen, Sachin Tendulkar became the second youngest man to make a hundred in international cricket; ever since, there has been no looking back. Today, Sachin is widely regarded as the world’s finest batsman, with over 33,000 international runs-the highest aggregate by far for any cricketer-to his credit.
In this biography of India’s greatest sportsperson ever, Gulu Ezekiel pens a compelling account of Sachin the man and his passion for cricket. He tracks Sachin from his childhood. When he first caught the bug of cricket, and follows him on his meteoric rise to international stardom. With unfailing attention to detail, he reconstructs the crucial matched and events that have marked Sachin’s career and reveals the magic of the cricketer whom Wisden Cricket Monthly once dubbed ‘bigger than Jesus’
Gulu Ezekiel started his career in sports journalism with the Indian Express in
Madras in 1982 before moving to New Delhi in 1991. He has been sports
editor at the Asian Age, New Delhi TV and indya.com and has contributed to
over 100 publications in India and around the world. He launched his own
features and syndication company, GE Features in August 2001.
Ezekiel is the author of several books including Sourav: A Biography; The
Penguin Book of Cricket Lists; The A-Z of Sachin Telldulkar and Captain Cool:
The MS Dhoni Story.
'Sachin Tendulkar is a god in India and people believe luck shines in
his hand,' Australia's opening batsman Matthew Hayden told the
Sydney Sun-Herald in April 2001, shortly after returning from a tour
oflndia. 'It is beyond chaos-it is a frantic appeal by a nation to one
The question was then put to Tendulkar by an Indian journalist:
Are you God?
'I don't think anyone can become God or even come close to it,'
was the response.
But in a country of a billion plus (with many millions more in the
Indian diaspora) where the 'unity in diversity' mantra of the state
machinery has begun to ring hollow, Tendulkar has emerged as
perhaps the nation's sole unifying force. Columnist C.P. Surendran
had this to say about what the batting maestro means to Indians
everywhere: Every time he walks to the wicket, 'a whole nation, tatters
and all, marches with him to the battle arena. A pauper people pleading
for relief, remission from the lifelong anxiety of being Indian ... Seeking
a moment's liberation from their India-bondage through the
exhilarating grace of one accidental bat.' (An Anthropologist Among the
Marxists and Other Essays by Ramachandra Guha)
Time magazine chose Tendulkar as one of their Asian heroes' and
put him on the cover of their Asian edition (29 April 2002) for the
second time in three years. Inside, 'The Bat out of Heaven' shared
space with human rights activists, freedom fighters and other
At 26 Tendulkar was the youngest to be featured by India Today in
their '100 People Who Shaped India' special issue in 1999 (Millennium
Series Vol. I).
In a poll conducted by the Week magazine at the height of the
match-fixing scandal in 2000, both TenduIkar and Sourav Ganguly
were in the list of ten most admired Indians.
The honours have come thick and fast in an international career
that began in 1989. Remarkably for a batsman, in those 20 years, there
has only been the rare bad patch from which he has also promptly
bounced back. It is this consistency that made Steve Waugh say in
awe: 'You take Sir Donald [Bradman] away and he is next up I reckon.'
Just as Sunil Gavaskar reserved his best for the mighty West Indies
in the 70s and 80s when they were the best team in the world, so
Tendulkar has had some of his greatest moments against world
champions Australia. So. Waugh certainly knows what he is talking
The greatest Indian alive' is the tag Bishan Singh Bedi attached to
Tendulkar. He clarified Ius remark when I spoke to him for this book
in October 2001. 'I said that in 1998 after his two centuries in Sharj ah
against Australia that won us the title. I had said then that he should
share the title with Lata Mangeshkar. I was struck by the amount of
entertainment he provided for the average Indian, thrashing the
Australian bowlers to all parts. It was the only thing the common
Indian had to cheer about-plus Lata-ji's incredible voice. Sachin for
me is God's gift to Indian cricket.'
One of Tendulkar's many admirers was the greatest of them all,
Sir Don Bradman. In April 2002 in the West Indies, the Holy Grail of
batting, Bradman's mark of 29 centuries was equaled by his heir
apparent. Then in December 2008 he went past the world record of
his mentor Sunil Gavaskar with his 35th century.
In 1996, during a television interview Gavaskar threatened to
'personally throttle' Sachin ifhis prediction of 40 Test centuries and
15,000 runs for his fellow-Mumbaikar did not come true. By the time
this book went to press, his figures stood at 42 Test centuries and
12,773 runs.That of course is apart from 45 hundreds in OD Is and
Since its international debut in 1932, Indian cricket has been
blessed with at least one towering figure for each decade. The 30s
belonged to C.K.Nayudu, India's first Test captain; the 40s were the
Vijay Merchant decade; the 50s saw the domination of all-rounder
Vinoo Mankad; in the 60s it was 'Tiger' Pataudi who gave a new
dimension to Indian cricket with his astute captaincy; the 70s belonged
to Sunil Gavaskar and the 80s to Kapil Dev.
Sachin Tendulkar made his Test debut in 1989 at the age of16. He
crossed 1000 runs and scored five Test centuries before the end of his
teens. Since then he has dominated not only Indian cricket, but the
world game as well. And that domination has now reached two decades.
If this book were a work of fiction, the rise of Sachin Tendulkar
from middle-class anonymity to global fame in the span of less than a
decade would find few takers. But it is true. And that is what makes it
'What are the advantages of being Sachin Tendulkar?' he was asked
in an interview (Sportsworld, May 1995).
'I would like to be humble, be polite to everybody and would like
to give respect to my elders. I'm not really expecting anything from
the people for the little (fame) .. .I have earned...I believe rules are there
to be observed irrespective of whoever you are.'
That in essence is the man. This is his story.
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