I was born around the same time Sachin started playing for India. My first cricket memory was Sachin smashing the Australians in the coca cola cup in 1998 in Sharjah. He was just unbelievable in the final and the match before. It was like even if god would come down and start bowling he would even smash him into the stands. From that day onwards he became my icon and cricket my religion. As I grew up and passed through various phases of life Sachin would remain the same and continue to pile on records which at one time looked like cant even be neared. The Sharjah innings was when I was nearing 10. Then a year later his father passed away he left the WC in between but came back and hit a hundred against Kenya and dedicated it to his father. That was one of many zillion moments when he showed how much love he has for the game.
I grew older and was preparing for my pre-board exams in 10th when he showed one of the most disciplined innings ever played in cricket at Sydney in 2004. He got out to cover drive in the test matches before that one, in the whole innings he didn’t drive a single ball through off side and got a double hundred. It was two years later I was in my 12th standard he broke the record set by another champion Sunil Gavaskar for most hundreds in Test Cricket. A year later he became the first to reach 15000 runs in ODI cricket. When I got into my college he pulverised the Australians once again in Sydney with his first ODI hundred in Australia and helped India won the CB series there. In the mid of my college life one day he cracked a double hundred against the Proteas, one year later when I was planning for my professional exams he showed us his masterclass by hitting 50th hundred in test cricket aganst Steyn and Co. on a seaming pitch at Newlands.
When I was undergoing professional training he hit couple of hundreds on his way to lifting the World Cup, a dream he long cherished along with million of Indians like me who were not born in 1983. This year he hit 100th hundred and did what generations to come will only be in awe of. Yes we didn’t see Bradman play but we have him. Over the years he has given us innumerable reasons to feel good about instead of our day to day problems. Some people say he plays for himself and records but jesus never did anything wrong still he was crucified so people will find faults. Everytime somebody said something against Sachin I simply said what you know of cricket only cricket knows. In between he became the highest scorer in IPL season 2010 and showed he is good in this format too. One of the innings that really showed his class and is always with me was his 98 against Pak in 2003 WC. Razzaq dropped him and Wasim said “Tujhe pata hai tune kiska catch choda hai”. He went on rampage and showed why people treated him as god. People only talk about his batting but he was a clever bowler too. He could bowl off spin, leg spin and seam up too. His 156 wickets shows he was more than a handful.
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