Thursday, February 25, 2010

Tendulkar is also a man of the people

Everyone cranes forward to get their first glimpse of their hero.

Slowly, the noise returns as seemingly every individual at the ground roars as they get their first sight of the world's most prolific batsman.

The incredible din continues until he reaches the crease, and then grows louder still with every run and boundary that flows from his seemingly impossibly wide blade.

But more often than not, the dream ends with his dismissal.

And when it does, the stadium takes on a totally surreal atmosphere as the pulsating noise suddenly ceases as soon as the fans realise that he's out.

For a few seconds it is as if all the air has been sucked out of the stadium, but after a few seconds the rumble starts again and by the time Sachin is halfway back to the dressing rooms the sound is every bit as loud as when he first appeared as the crowd, together as one, pays homage to the maestro.

For Tendulkar it's the end of an innings.

For the fans it is the end of a dream with many of those in attendance witnessing him live for the first and only time in their lives.

Tendulkar is more than just a marvellous cricketing practitioner, for he is also a man of the people.

Despite the demands that his celebrity has wrought on him he has never turned his back on his legion of fans.

Through all the public scrutiny, the thronging crowds and the lack of personal space he is always gracious, never losing his cool or heard uttering a harsh word.

The grace he displays on the field is mirrored by the way he conducts himself away from it.

Within months of his 37th birthday, he is arguably in a vein of form as rich as any in his 20-year international career.

He has produced a century in each of the four Tests he has played this year, taking his world record tally to 47, having scored 13,447 runs from his 166 Tests.

His imperious and historic double century in Gwalior was his 46th at one-day level, with his 442 matches producing a staggering 17,598 runs.

Early next year Tendulkar will feel even more weight on his shoulders when India hosts the One-Day World Cup.

By the time it ends, the baby-faced assassin will likely have registered his 100th international century.

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