46 years ago, on 24th April 1973, destiny’s child was born to a famous novelist and his wife – Ramesh and Rajni Tendulkar. He was a very mischievous child, who bullied kids in school. This habit worried his parents and teachers, until one day, his half-brother Ajit found a solution to this problem. The solution changed the little boy’s life completely. He was introduced to cricket and coached under the guidance of Ramakant Achrekar. His high energy levels, focus and dedication towards the game, impressed his coach, who advised him to change to a different school. He shifted to Sharadashram Vidyamandir English High School, solely for its strong and dominant cricket team. He practiced at Shivaji Park every morning and evening, with a simple focused aim – ‘Eat, Sleep, Breathe and Live Cricket’.
He started playing for clubs, along with his school cricket team. He represented John Bright Cricket Club for the first time in Mumbai’s Premiere Club cricket tournament – The Kanga League. He later played for the Cricket Club of India in 1987, when he was just 14 years old. On 11th December 1988, at the young age of 15 years and 232 days, he played his debut cricket match for Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy against Gujarat, and scored a century, not out. After this match, he became the first and youngest Indian to score a century in his first class cricket debut. The Indian team coach at that time, Dilip Vengsarkar, noticed Kapil Dev, the fastest bowler of that time, negotiate with the little boy and hand picked him to play for the team. At the age of 18, the teenager was out on the cricket field, giving competition to some of the best players of the world, and breaking every record of the game.
The little boy grew old and married Anjali, at the age of 22. With his family’s continued support, love and care, he flourished in his career and has played in many record-breaking games. In 1997, he was blessed with his first child and in 1999, his second. The young man holds various records like the highest scorer in One Day Internationals, most number of 100’s(centuries), highest number of Man of the Match awards, most number of 50’s. He is the only player to be in the top 10 ICC rankings for the past 10 years, and the list of accomplishments goes on and on. He is the only cricketer to win Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna award, one of the highest sporting awards of India. Right from trophies at the World Cup to the smallest of matches, he has won them all. He also earned nick-names like ‘Master Blaster’ and ‘Little Master’. The young man also captured millions of hearts all over the world, with his style and composure, on and off the field. He will soon be playing the last international match of his career in November, leaving behind an empty space in the hearts of the cricket world.
He is the real superhero – an eternal symbol for a country, whose people are different in region, religion and colour, but united by the game of Cricket. Thank-you for making all of us love the game of cricket – SACHIN RAMESH TENDULKAR.