Another Milestone For Tendulkar
First things first: Laying out the foundation for the post. Sachin Tendulkar surpassed Brian Lara as the all-time top scorer of test cricket and surpassed 12,000 as well, along with his 50th Fifty although missing a well-deserved ton. Needless to say he holds this distinction in ODIs too. Sourav Ganguly surpassed 7000 runs mark along with a half-century on the way (and going) and India ended up with good score on the board at the end of the day.
This probably was destined many years before it actually happened. Everybody knew that some day or the other Tendulkar will end up with all-time top scorer in both longer and shorter form of the game. The only question was when! After two splendid innings Tendulkar-style down under, predicting game had begun.
Optimistics predicted it to be towards the end of the Australia series. Pragmatists predicted it in the series against Sri Lanka. Neither happened. After fabulous Australian series, just like rest of the middle order, Sachin struggled against Sri Lankan bowling attack and collected only 95 runs in 3 tests. Probably it was destined that he would achieve his record against his favourite opponent and he sure did!
His critics have alleged time and again about Tendulkar putting his records before team, and I can counter everyone of them, but that's not the point of the post (An older post about it here). Sachin's records, however personal, have been a cause of joy in this cricket crazy nation. His every record among cricket fan is revered and celebrated. Tendulkar is a hero people have looked upto for last 19 years and seldom he has disappointed them.
His record of staggering 673 runs in 2003 world cup (surpassing his own previous record) was important part of India's much touted appearance in final. His any sort of record hasn't pulled Indian team in negative direction, if not towards the victory. Sachin has never shown lack of commitment to the cause of the team, and records just have fallen into place. That's the reason his every century, every milestone, every record is cheered and savoured among fans. Have you seen the wildness, have you heard shouts when Sachin Tendulkar enters the ground? I have. Just thinking about it gives me goosebumps.
It will be 19 years this November since Tendulkar first set a foot on the arena, but common man fascination is still the same. These 19 years have seen rises and falls of heroes, even to the extent of putting them ahead of Tendulkar, but this man has stood still. Kambli, Ganguly, Dravid, Sehwag, Dhoni all have had their heydays, but it's Tendulkar that still towers two feet above them in public scrutiny. And that doesn't come for a player who plays for himself.
Another important aspect of today's game, may be eclipsed by heap of records, was partnership between Tendulkar and Ganguly. It was extremely joyous to see these two share a century partnership. This best opening ODI pair ever (with record 26 century partnerships and most runs by a pair) was a nightmare of opponents what with attacking approach combined with a repertoire of impossible shots. There was no taunting these two. Ask Henry Olonga what happens if you do do it. But sadly that was past and before this when was the last time these two shared a century partnership? Can't remember and that's probably why this is so important.
With Ganguly retiring at the end of this series, this might be the last big partnership these two greats shared, but those opponent-trouncing nostalgia will always remain with us.