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Posted: 25 December 2012 at 8:10pm | IP Logged

Growing up with Sachin

How Tendulkar helped a generation of Indians make sense of their lives

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan

December 24, 2012

Comments: 423 | Post yours as  Ssayied Mazakat | Text size: A | A

Sachin Tendulkar during the 1991-92 tour of Australia, Brisbane, December 1, 1991
Cherish the memories  Getty Images 
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Sachin Tendulkar has retired from one-dayers.

Does this mean anything to you?

Did you feel numb on Sunday morning? Or maybe it was Saturday night in your part of the world. Did the various stages of your life flash in your head, as they are supposed to in the instant before you die?

Do you remember one-dayers 23 years ago? Travel back in time. What do you see? Red leather balls, players in whites and some one-dayers in England with umpires stopping play for tea.

What else do you see? Doordarshan - the feed hanging this moment, back live the next, your grainy screen filled with men who sport stubbles and bushy moustaches, the camera facing the batsman one over and the bowler the next, commentators screaming "that's hit up in the air".

Gradually the texture changes. Coloured clothing and floodlit games become commonplace, fielding restrictions alter the definitions of a "safe total", Duckworth and Lewis appear, so do Powerplays, Supersubs and Super Overs. Pinch-hitters, a novelty for a few years, lose their sheen. Now everyone must pinch, everyone must hit.

Tendulkar has seen it all. Sometimes he has initiated the change, on other occasions he has adapted. A master of the game in the mid '90s, a master in 2011. The one constant in a wildly changing format. He was around when one-dayers were blooming, he was also around when they were allegedly dying.

You have been around too. Are you a kid from the '80s? Or the '90s? Or are you a straddler, part of the Tendulkar generation that has one feet in both decades?

Ah, you stand on the threshold. You have experienced Doordarshan before leaping to the riches of satellite, you have seen Shah Rukh Khan as a fauji on TV before he soared onto the silver screen, you know of life before the internet but are quick to embrace the wonders of technology, you have watched monochrome but are a child of the colour TV age.

What else do you see?

Tendulkar in a white helmet, his white shirt unbuttoned to his thorax, blitzing Abdul Qadir in an exhibition game in Peshawar. Until that point cricket is merely a fuzzy idea. Tendulkar gives it shape, adds meaning, wraps it in colourful paper and winds a ribbon around the packing. He makes you understand the game's place in your life, teaches you its significance.

You grapple, trying to swerve banana out-swingers with a tennis ball. Standing in front of a mirror, you imagine the opposition needing six off the last over. The stadium is a cauldron. A hundred thousand fill the stands. Can you restrict the batsmen?

One morning in 1994, when large parts of India slept, you awake to life and freedom. What a rebellion at Auckland. Eighty-two off 49 balls. A cameo that unshackles the mind. The greatest one-day innings you have seen. Can anyone better this?

You are carried along the Tendulkar slipstream. When he is stumped off Mark Waugh, after illuminating the Mumbai sky, you sense the game will slip away. It does. A few days later his hundred against Sri Lanka in Delhi ends in defeat - the first Tendulkar ton in vain. You hope it's an aberration. You wish.

You observe his every move. In 1996, when he fires a swinging yorker to dismiss Saqlain in Sharjah and sends him off with an emphatic "f**k off", you blush. Four years later your vocabulary has expanded. When he mouths off Glenn McGrath in the Champions Trophy in Nairobi, you puff your chest, as if vindicated.

It's 1998, a time for decisions. Academics or sports? Arts or science? Biology or computers? To meet her or to continue with phone conversations? To buy a copy of Debonair or to take a sneak-peek? These are the burning questions that occupy you.

Do they matter? Tendulkar is dismantling Fleming, Warne and Kasprowicz in Sharjah. A desert storm, a birthday hundred and a ballistic Tony Greig. A straight six off Warne when he starts around the wicket. Another straight six off Kasprowicz. "Whaddaplayaa," screeches Greig. It imprints itself in your head.

In your inconsequential gully matches you bat with an amped-up ferocity. You nod to tell the bowler you are ready, you hold your pose during the follow-through, you reverse-sweep and attempt straight-bat paddles. You pump your fist when Tendulkar manhandles Henry Olonga in Sharjah.

 
 
A desert storm, a birthday hundred and a ballistic Tony Greig. A straight six off Warne when he starts around the wicket. Another straight six off Kasprowicz. "Whaddaplayaa," screeches Greig. It imprints itself in your head
 

You start college. You are ragged, often with little imagination. Some of the courses don't interest you. Many of your classmates speak about things you have never heard of, in languages you are not fluent in.

You are sipping tea in the canteen when someone switches on a television set. India are playing Namibia in the World Cup. You find your bearings. This is a familiar world. Tendulkar is nearing a century. This is your comfort zone. The next 10 days are some of the most joyous of your life. That six off Caddick, those fours of Akram and Shoaib ... you feel you have turned a corner.

You hate your job. You begin to care for little other than your pay-cheque. This is not what you expected when you graduated. You assumed this job would be interesting. How wrong you were. Tendulkar is still at it, obsessed with his craft. Despite a lean patch, he says he must go on. He knows no other way.

You are engaged, then married. Life gets busier: an apartment, a car, daily chores. Tendulkar is brutalising Brett Lee in Sydney. An uppish cover drive, then a bullet past the bowler. Lee offers an angelic smile, Tendulkar stands still, zen-like, unconcerned about the past or the future, immersed in the present.

You switch jobs. You like your new role but your boss sucks. He is a slave-driver. You take sly peeks at a live scorecard tab that is open at your desktop as India chase Australia's 351 at Hyderabad. Tendulkar is flying but there is no TV. You wish you could get back home but what if he gets out when you are on your way? Would you be able to forgive yourself? India lose. You call out sick the next day.

You relocate abroad. Cricket matches are on a different time zone. You scavenge illegal internet streams, slap your head when the feed hangs. You are reminded of your days of watching Doordarshan. The sun is yet to rise outside your apartment, and Tendulkar is batting in the 190s against South Africa in Gwalior. Cricinfo is hanging. Cricinfo didn't even exist when Tendulkar started. Your twitter feed is on valium. He has reached 200.

You watch every ball of India's World Cup campaign. How could you not? A hundred in Bangalore, a hundred in Nagpur. You suffer palpitations in Mohali. Then the eruption in Mumbai. Kohli raises him aloft and talks of Tendulkar's burden. He speaks for you. He understands how you feel. There are tears everywhere, including on your cheeks.

Here's John Steinbeck in Cannery Row:

Someone should write an erudite essay on the moral, physical and aesthetic effect of the Model T Ford on the American Nation. Two generations of Americans knew more about the Ford coil than the c***oris, about the planetary system of gears than solar system of of stars ... Most of the babies of the period were conceived in Model T Fords and not a few of them were born in them ...

You can apply the same to your generation. To understand us is to take into account the moral, physical and aesthetic effect of Tendulkar. To feel your pain, when he retires from a format he made his own, is to know what it means to grow up with him.

You are the lucky ones. Cherish the memories. He was, and will remain, your Model T.

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India news

Sachin Tendulkar retires from ODIs

ESPNcricinfo staff

December 23, 2012

Comments: 1589 | Post yours as  Ssayied Mazakat | Text size: A | A

Sachin Tendulkar walks back for 7, South Africa v India, 1st ODI, Durban, January 12, 2011
Sachin Tendulkar has called time on his ODI career  AFP 
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Sachin Tendulkar has retired from ODI cricket. Tendulkar finishes an illustrious career in the 50-over format, having played 463 ODIs, scored 18,426 runs and made 49 centuries, each of them a world record. His last ODI was against Pakistan in Dhaka during the Asia Cup, where he made a half-century in India's victory.

"I have decided to retire from the One Day format of the game," he said in a statement. "I feel blessed to have fulfilled the dream of being part of a World Cup winning Indian team. The preparatory process to defend the World Cup in 2015 should begin early and in right earnest. I would like to wish the team all the very best for the future. I am eternally grateful to all my well wishers for their unconditional support and love over the years."

Tendulkar made his ODI debut on his first international tour, in 1989, against Pakistan in Gujranwala, where he got a duck. He scored his first half-century in his ninth ODI and made an immediate impact when promoted to open the batting in 1994, in an ODI against New Zealand in Auckland, where he smashed 82 in 49 balls. His first century took 79 ODIs to arrive but he kept piling them on with remarkable consistency. (Click here to see Tendulkar's cumulative ODI record.)

Some of the batting highlights in his ODI career include back-to-back hundreds against Australia in 1998 in a triangular tournament in Sharjah, finishing as the highest run-getter in the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, and becoming the first batsman to score a double-century in the ODI format, against South Africa in February 2010.

BCCI secretary Sanjay Jagdale on Sachin Tendulkar's retirement from ODIs

He was part of one of India's greatest ODI achievements over the last three decades, when they won the World Cup in 2011, beating Sri Lanka in thefinal on his home ground in Mumbai - it was his last ODI in India. In preparation for that World Cup, Tendulkar had curtailed the amount of ODI cricket in the year playing only four ODIs in the 12 months before the tournament. Since the end of the World Cup, Tendulkar has played 10 ODIs, seven in the CB Series against Australia and the last three of his career being played at the Asia Cup in Dhaka. His innings of 114 against Bangladesh on March 16 was his 100th international hundred in what turned out to be Tendulkar's penultimate ODI match for India.

Tendulkar's announcement of his ODI retirement came through a statement from the BCCI which stated that he had spoken to BCCI president N Srinivasan. His retirement was announced on the day the Indian selectors picked the teams to play in the five-match T20 and ODI series against Pakistan.

"It was not sudden. He informed us before the selection about his decision," Sanjay Jagdale, the BCCI secretary, told reporters. "He spoke to me and the president about his decision. Naturally he must have been (emotional) I can't say we just spoke on the phone."

"What he has expressed is his concern that India has to prepare for the next World Cup," the BCCI's chief administrative officer Ratnakar Shetty added. "From that point of view, he felt that it was time that he retired."

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endulkar's retirement from ODIs

A career built on reinvention

In limited-overs cricket Tendulkar represents reinvention - of form, of technique, of order, to some extent of the passage of time

Sharda Ugra

December 23, 2012

Comments: 80 | Post yours as  Ssayied Mazakat | Text size: A | A

Sachin Tendulkar with the World Cup on the morning after India's triumph, Mumbai, April 3, 2011
Tendulkar's decision to linger on and retire from ODI cricket 20 months after winning the World Cup must be handled like a DRS-free, 50-50 umpiring decision  Associated Press 
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On the night of April 2, 2011, the Wankhede Stadium was more than a stadium. It was a wall of volume, a tidal wave of noise that began on land and spread towards the Arabian Sea in the west and the train tracks to the east, as India won the World Cup after 28 years.

Then, the figure of Sachin Tendulkar was seen sprinting down from the dressing-room stairs onto the grass and his teammates. From the other end of the field where we stood - my colleague Nagraj Gollapudi and I, at ground level - Tendulkar was a speck in a surging sea of specks.

Yet, driven to an insane joy they will probably never experience again, the crowd spotted the speck, one stand at a time. And the noise began to grow larger, as if it had a tangible, physical size. As if the air had expanded to fit in the sound of 40,000 lungs each calling out to Tendulkar, in a joyful sharing. The stadium, it felt, was about to be lifted off its architecturally solid foundations.

This was the last time Sachin Tendulkar played an ODI in India. It was his best of times in the game's short form. Yet he played ten ODIs after the World Cup final, which gave rise to much hand-wringing and teeth-gnashing and plaintive queries of "Why didn't he quit right then?"

The World Cup was Tendulkar's sixth, and his second final turned out to be successful. That would have been the ideal time to wave goodbye to the one-day game, a movie-script-finish, with thunderous music. But he didn't and maybe he will tell us why he didn't quit the ODI game right then. Or maybe he won't.

For any neutral Tendulkar observer/watcher/analyst, the decision to linger on and retire from ODI cricket 20 months after winning the World Cup must be handled like a DRS-free, 50-50 umpiring decision. Deal with it, buddy. The last 20 months could either be interpreted as Tendulkar's blip or blemish, his private battle against time or his stubborn refusal to surrender one half of his cricketing identity.

With the passing of time, though, the 20 months will pale against the monument created by Tendulkar's ODI career in its studious, raging pursuit. The numbers are formidable - 18,426 runs from 463 matches, 49 centuries, 96 fifties, at an average of 44.83 and a strike rate of 86.23 - and won't be matched. But the reason Tendulkar has become the standard by which batsmen must measure themselves in the limited-overs game requires the imagination to be stretched a little beyond those numbers.

 
 
His retirement from the short form, whether brought on by an inner voice or a nudge from the selectors, indicates that Tendulkar wants to give his Test match batsmanship another crack, against the Australians next year
 

In limited-overs cricket, Tendulkar represents reinvention. Of form, of technique, of order, to some extent of the passage of time. His ODI career was crafted with a riotous method in the first half and scientific consistency in the middle. Towards the end, though, there came unexpected abandon. For everyone who thought they had understood Tendulkar and his approach to one-day batting, around the corner there lay surprise.

If statistics can be turned into symbols, Tendulkar's highest score fits all this perfectly: 200 not out, the first double-century in ODIs, scored in his 442nd one-day match, when he was two months short of his 37th birthday. In a sport growing younger and faster, 200 off 147 balls came from the most experienced man in the game.

Tendulkar's surge in ODI cricket - and in India's imagination - had much to do with his constant request to the team manager Ajit Wadekar to allow him to open the innings in 1994. Over and over again he asked for one chance, "And if I fail I'll never ever come to you again." The chance was given and Tendulkar and limited-overs batting and Indian cricket were forever transformed.


Sachin Tendulkar savours reaching his double century, 2nd ODI, Gwalior, February 24, 2010
In a sport growing younger and faster, 200 off 147 balls came from the most experienced man in the game  Associated Press 
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The advent of the attacking opener came to public notice at the 1996 World Cup through Sanath Jayasuriya and Romesh Kaluwitharana. Tendulkar did not have an opening partner to match his pace but by the time the 1996 World Cup began, he had played 32 ODIs as an opener, with four centuries and nine fifties, at a strike rate of 94.

He has often spoken of the impact his ODI batting had on his Test career, in improvisation, widening and making flexible the canvas of his strokeplay in both forms. His peak as an ODI batsman was always carbon-dated to Sharjah 1998, particularly as he chose to play the anchor's role at No. 4 for a while. As a returning opener, Tendulkar accumulated scores with consistency and fluency but without the Sharjah aggro. Yet, once past the cricketing dotage of 35, with injuries set aside, Tendulkar the ODI batsman turned up at the top of the order and smashed the clocks.

He won't play the ODI game anymore. His retirement from the short form, whether brought on by an inner voice or a nudge from the selectors, indicates that Tendulkar wants to give his Test match batsmanship another crack, against the Australians next year. It could be his final shot at reinvention.

Tendulkar, Indian emotion, and in the past couple of years some anguished questions, have always travelled together. As he brings his ODI career to a halt, here though are a few less anguished ones. Why didn't Tendulkar lose his way at the age of 25, having gone crazy with the adulation? Why didn't he turn into a boor or a prima donna? Or give the crowd the finger when they booed or heckled him, which they did? Or give up the hardship of Test cricket and coast, like he could have done, in ODIs? Stats cannot measure drive or ambition. Nor indeed its benefits or hindrances.

For the moment, though, a favourite memory of Tendulkar in ODI cricket. It is not the teenager whose cherubic cheeks bulged from under the helmet visor and who wielded his chunky bat like a razor-blade in a knife- fight. Or the boy who grabbed the ball to bowl the last over of the Hero Cup semi-final against South Africa. Or the "desert storm" of 1998, or the upper cut of Centurion, or even the speck in a sea of specks rushing down the steps at the far end of the Wankhede Stadium.

It lasted all of a few, fleeting minutes, in Jaipur. This was the match before the Gwalior 200 not out, the first of three 2010 ODIs against South Africa, who needed seven to win with two balls left. On the penultimate ball, Charl Langeveldt pulled one that travelled at speed past short fine leg. Tendulkar, on the boundary, ran full tilt towards the ball and flung himself, diving and sliding along the ground like he was 16, to get his hands on the ball. The batsmen had taken three and Tendulkar saved a single. India won that match by one run.

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ndulkar's retirement from ODIs

'He changed the approach of batting in ODIs'

Reactions to Sachin Tendulkar's retirement from ODI cricket

ESPNcricinfo staff

December 23, 2012

Comments: 165 | Post yours as  Ssayied Mazakat | Text size: A | A

Sachin Tendulkar fell for 2, Australia v India, CB Series, 1st ODI, Melbourne, February 5, 2012
"All this time people were asking when is he retiring? Now that he has announced his retirement from ODIs, people are asking why has he retired? I don't understand the Indian people": Bapu Nadkarni  AFP 
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"There was a doubt about whether he would play ODI cricket or not. But I am not surprised by his decision. He has done what he thought was right. I don't think there was any pressure of selectors on him. It is his own decision. No one can drop him." 
Former India captain Sourav Ganguly

"I have very fond memories of the century he made against Australia in Sharjah when I was at the non-striker's end. He redefined the art of opening the innings in one-day cricket, and what was amazing was the consistency with which he continued to score over a period of 23 years and more than 460 matches." 
Former India batsman VVS Laxman

"Emotional moment to not see the person who inspired me to play for india not play one dayers anymore.hats off paaji.we all love you.respect"
India batsman Virat Kohli, via Twitter

"If you look at the statistics, his greatness becomes even more evident in the sheer volume of runs he has scored and the huge gap between him and the next batsman. To bat consistently at the top-order and the aggressive manner in which he did that is a staggering achievement." 
Commentator and former India batsman Rahul Dravid

"He changed the way batting was approached in ODIs especially after he started opening. And he was good as a bowler, if a left-hander came in, he will bowl off-breaks, if a right-hander came in, he will bowl leg-spin, if there is dew then he will bowl seam-up and that's Sachin for you." 
Former India legspinner Anil Kumble

"He has figured greatly with runs in the longer version of cricket. I think he has played a little bit more in the longer version but when he feels that he is good enough to play in the Test side, I know, he feels he is good enough to play in the longer version in order to achieve the milestone of 200 Tests."
Former Sri Lanka captain and batsman Arjuna Ranatunga

"I am disappointed and unhappy that we did not get an opportunity to celebrate Sachin's farewell ODI. He should have given time to the country to pay a tribute because legends such as him are born once in a century."
Former India captain Kapil Dev

"Against New Zealand in 1994 the team was looking for someone, and Tendulkar, still so young, offered to take up so much responsibility. The rest is history. The New Zealand attack was blown away by a rampant Tendulkar. His 49-ball 82 in Auckland remains one of the pivotal efforts of his ODI career." 
Former India seamer Venkatesh Prasad

"I am lucky to have played cricket in Sachin Tendulkar's era. We will never get a legend like him."
Bangladesh fast bowler Mashrafe Mortaza

"You can never beat the moment at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, that night when millions of fans cheered on as he took a victory lap sitting on the shoulders of his teammates with the World Cup in his hand."
Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar

"Conclusion of a sterling ODI career from a wonderful batsman. Congrats Sachin Tendulkar." 
South Africa batsman Hashim Amla, via Twitter

"Masters.423 matches, 23 yrs, 18426 runs !!!! These numbers no body else will be able to come close to.salute salute salute to Sachin." 
India offspinner Harbhajan Singh, via Twitter

"He is the best man to decide when to retire from other formats because he knows his body well. All this time people were asking when is he retiring? Now that he has announced his retirement from ODIs, people are asking why has he retired? I don't understand the Indian people." 
Former India allrounder Bapu Nadkarni

"He was the one who infused aggression into the game and you can say that he was a game-changer. It was a privilege to share the dressing room with him. The good thing is that he will still play Tests." 
Former India fast bowler Javagal Srinath

"Emotional time ! Letting sachin go from one dayers ! 18 thousand plus runs ur jaw drops when u c those records ,master u will always live."
India batsman Yuvraj Singh, via Twitter

"The reason for playing cricket. The reason for watching cricket. Sachin Tendulkar... No words.. Love you Paji"
India batsman Suresh Raina, via Twitter

"Statistics NEVER lie! They tell a very true story.. Well done Sachin! What an incredible ODI career.. #thebest"
England batsman Kevin Pietersen, via Twitter

''When you've played 23 years of international cricket, a time comes when ODIs don't excite you anymore as you have achieved everything that you possibly could have. Sachin has also won the World Cup, therefore his decision is understandable.''
Former Pakistan captain and commentator Rameez Raza

"If cricket was a religion then Sachin would have been the God. I'd have loved to play against him. I played in the 2010 Asia Cup but he wasn't there. I wish he was there in this series. I wish him all the best for the rest of his life."
Pakistan player Umar Amin

"Sachin is a cricketing God. Unbelievable what he's done for Indian cricket." 
Former England batsman Paul Collingwood, via Twitter

"Waqar Younis was on a hat-trick having dismissed Sehwag and Ganguly at Centurion in 2003. As I walked in, he said to me 'be calm and stay focussed.' There was a lot of chatting from the Pakistanis but I survived the hat-trick ball." 
India batsman Mohammad Kaif

"Greatest batsman of all time & my good friend Sachin Tendulkar retires from One day cricket. Thank you for making India so proud." 
Former ICC and BCCI head Sharad Pawar, via Twitter

"I think he has obliged Indian cricket by retiring. The god has ultimately decided. Everybody is talking that he should retire. I suppose if I am playing cricket whether I am playing good or bad, the call has to be taken by the selectors." 
Former Indian batsman Kirti Azad

"Actually I am surprised. If he is continuing with international cricket (Tests) then he should have continued with ODI also. We play almost 25 ODIs in a season. It is very important to keep playing international cricket." 
Former selection panel head Kris Srikkanth

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Sachin Tendulkar's ODI stats analysis

Way ahead of the pack

Sachin Tendulkar achieved the kind of batting numbers which are likely to remain records by some distance

S Rajesh

December 23, 2012

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Sachin Tendulkar cuts powerfully, India v Sri Lanka, CB Series, 2nd ODI, Perth, February 8, 2012
Let alone equalling or surpassing some of his records, it's possible that no batsman will even come close to his stats  Getty Images 
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Sachin Tendulkar's numbers are staggering in both forms of the game, but the margin by which he is ahead of the pack in ODIs is truly mindboggling. Let alone equalling or surpassing some of his records, it's possible that no batsman will even come close to his stats. To start with, Tendulkar's overall ODI aggregate is 18,426, which is almost 35% more than the next-best, Ricky Ponting's 13,704. His 49 ODI centuries is 63% better than the second-highest, Ponting's 30. With Sourav Ganguly, he added 8227partnership runs, 50% more than Marvan Atapattu and Sanath Jayasuriya's 5462. His 26 century standswith Ganguly is 62.5% better than the 16 that Matthew Hayden and Adam Gilchrist managed. (There are several others - biggest partnershipmost matches, most Man-of-the-Match awards, for example - which are available with a few clicks on ESPNcricinfo's record pages.)

Tendulkar was able to create such a distance between him and the next-best by, obviously, playing over a long period - his is the longest career in ODI history - but also by doing so at a ridiculously high standard almost throughout that period. It helped also, that he opened the innings through most of his career as an ODI batsman, which gave him the best opportunity to score runs and rack up hundreds. His outstanding batsmanship, which combined tight defence with an ability to score freely all round the wicket with minimal risk against different bowling attacks in different conditions, ensured he maximised those opportunities to score runs. Along the way he also became the first batsman to score 200 in an ODI innings.

Tendulkar's ODI career changed when he moved from the middle order to open the innings. The first time he did so was in his fifth match of 1994, against New Zealand in Auckland. He scored 82 off 49 balls - a strike rate of 167.34 - in a match in which no other batsman who faced more than 12 balls managed a rate of 75. India won the match with 160 balls to spare - their eighth-largest victory margin in terms of balls remaining - and it was clear that India had unearthed an option which could be of immense value to them in limited-overs cricket. None could have imagined at the time, though, that Tendulkar would end with such staggering numbers.

From the moment he started opening, his ODI career graph swung upwards and stayed high almost throughout his career. From March 27, 1994, which was the first time he opened, he averaged 47.08 in 394 matches, at a strike rate of 87.71. During this period he didn't open the batting in 50 matches, and in those games his average fell to 36.70.

Sachin Tendulkar's ODI career
PeriodODIsRunsAverageStrike rate100s/ 50s
Before 199465167931.0974.320/ 12
1994 to Dec 2000198822045.6688.9627/ 38
Jan 2001 onwards200852748.1786.4122/ 46
Career46318,42644.8386.2349/ 96

The opening act
Among all openers who scored 8000-plus ODI runs, Tendulkar's average is the highest; in fact, even with a 6000-run cut-off, no opener has an average of more than 42 - Gary Kirsten's 41.80 is the second-best. Apart from the high average and strike rate, the other stat that stands out for Tendulkar is his conversion rate of fifties into hundreds: he has 45 centuries and 75 half-centuries, a fifties to hundreds ratio of 1.67. Among openers with at least 6000 runs, the only ones with comparable ratios were Herschelle Gibbs (18 centuries and 24 fifties, ratio 1.33) and Saeed Anwar (20 hundreds and 37 fifties, ratio 1.85). All the others had ratios of more than two, with some of the top names (Haynes, Ganguly, Gilchrist) scoring three fifties per century. Thus, while it's true that Tendulkar was given the opportunity to make big scores thanks to his batting position, he also utilised that much better than most other openers.

Openers with more than 8000 runs in ODIs
BatsmanInningsRunsAverageStrike rate100s/ 50s
Sachin Tendulkar34015,31048.2988.0545/ 75
Sanath Jayasuriya38312,74034.6192.4828/ 66
Adam Gilchrist259920036.5098.0216/ 53
Sourav Ganguly236914641.5773.5919/ 58
Desmond Haynes237864841.3763.0917/ 57
Chris Gayle217818440.7184.8320/ 44
Saeed Anwar220815639.9879.9320/ 37

Australia's tormentor
Tendulkar was often at his best against the best team of his generation, Australia. He scored 3077 runs against them at 44.59, which is 36% more than the second-best aggregate against them. The highlights were obviously the 143 and 134 in Sharjah in 1998, a year which was his best in ODIs: he scored 1894 runs at 65.31, including nine centuries. Both, the runs scored and the hundreds remain a record for a calendar year.

Even apart from those two Sharjah classics, he had seven hundreds against Australia, the last one being 175- his highest against Australia - three years ago in Hyderabad. Tendulkar's nine hundreds is also record for a batsman against one opposition. (Tendulkar also has eight hundreds against Sri Lanka, while no other batsman has more than seven against an opposition.)

The one glitch in Tendulkar's stats, though, are his ODI numbers in Australia: just one century in 46 innings, and a below-par average of 34.67. Unlike in Tests, where he averages more than 50 against Australia both home and away, in ODIs Tendulkar's best against them came in the subcontinent: in Asia he average 55.30 against them in 40 innings, with eight centuries, but outside Asia he averaged 29.82 against them, with one century in 30 innings.

Highest run-scorers in ODIs against Australia
BatsmanODIsRunsAverageStrike rate100s/ 50s
Sachin Tendulkar71307744.5984.749/ 15
Desmond Haynes64226240.3965.146/ 13
Viv Richards54218750.8684.633/ 20
Brian Lara51185839.5376.583/ 15
Kumar Sangakkara44170642.6577.021/ 12
Jacques Kallis50166034.5872.871/ 13
Jonty Rhodes55161040.2577.920/ 10
Richie Richardson51149832.5663.260/ 15

World Cup superstar
In the biggest tournament in the format, Tendulkar was usually at his best. His overall World Cup tally of 2278 is the best, and he is also the only batsman to twice aggregate more than 500 in a World Cup tournament - he scored 673 in 2003, a record for a single World Cup, and 523 in 1996. Only four other batsmen have touched 500 even once in a World Cup. Tendulkar's nine Man-of-the-Match awards is also a World Cup record, three clear of the second-placed Glenn McGrath.

Apart from his World Cup heroics, Tendulkar also finished with a great record in tournament finals, though there was a period between 1999 and 2004 when he appeared to struggle in them. Overall he averaged more than 54 in tournament finals, with six hundreds in 39 innings.

Highest averages among batsmen with 1000+ runs in World Cups
BatsmanInningsRunsAverageStrike rate100s/ 50s
Viv Richards21101363.3185.053/ 5
Sachin Tendulkar44227856.9588.986/ 15
Herschelle Gibbs23106756.1587.382/ 8
Sourav Ganguly21100655.8877.504/ 3
Mark Waugh22100452.8483.734/ 4
Jacques Kallis32114845.9274.401/ 9
Ricky Ponting42174345.8679.955/ 6
Javed Miandad30108343.3268.021/ 8
Brian Lara33122542.2486.262/ 7

The matchwinner
It was often said about Tendulkar that his big scores didn't lead to team wins, but stats reveal something quite different: Tendulkar scored 33 of his 49 centuries in wins, and averaged more than 56 in team wins, at a strike rate of 90. Among those who scored at least 5000 runs in wins, only Lara and Richards have higher averages. In terms of hundreds scored in wins, Ponting is next with 25.

However, it's also true that Tendulkar's 14 centuries in defeats is a record too, five clear of Chris Gayle, who's next with nine. In defeats, though, Tendulkar's average dropped to 33.25 at a strike rate of 79.86. Clearly, in the overall context of his lengthy career, his runs led to wins more often that not. As mentioned earlier, no player has won as many Man-of-the-Match awards either - Tendulkar has 62, while the next-best is Jayasuriya with 48.

Highest averages in wins in ODIs (Qual: 5000 runs in wins)
BatsmanInningsRunsAverageStrike rate100s/ 50s
Brian Lara134655361.8286.3216/ 42
Viv Richards114512956.9893.0111/ 32
Sachin Tendulkar23111,15756.6390.3133/ 59
Mohammad Yousuf151642655.8778.5914/ 41
Sourav Ganguly147693855.0677.8718/ 41
Michael Clarke134508452.9580.624/ 42

Partnerships, and percentage of team runs scored
With Ganguly, Tendulkar added 8227 partnership runs at 47.55, with 26 century stands - the runs scored and the hundred stands are the highest. Tendulkar also put together 4000-plus runs with Virender Sehwag (4387 runs at 39.16) and Rahul Dravid (4117 runs at 44.26). Tendulkar's thus the only batsman to put together 4000-plus runs with three different partners; Ganguly and Dravid are the only others to do so with two different partners.

Overall, Tendulkar scored 19.24% of the total bat runs that India scored in the matches he played in his entire ODI career (18,426 runs out of 95,765). After he first opened the batting on March 27, 1994, the percentage increased to 20.08 (16,668 out of 83,008). For Ganguly, that percentage was 17.61%, for Haynes 19.58, for Anwar 18.19, for Hayden 17.49 and for Gayle 18.41%.

Apart from his obvious batting exploits, there was also Tendulkar the bowler, who chipped in quite usefully more than once. His 154 ODI wickets puts him in 11th place among Indian bowlers, just one short of Ashish Nehra and three away from Manoj Prabhakar.

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ndia news

What's your favourite Tendulkar moment?

ESPNcricinfo staff

December 23, 2012

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Sachin Tendulkar picks a gap on the off side, India v England, World Cup, Group B, Bangalore, February 27, 2011
Twenty-three years, countless memories  AFP 
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Sachin Tendulkar has called time on an ODI career that had the most matches, most hundreds and the most runs. In the past 23 years, his ODI performances have given countless memories to cherish for cricket fans.

Some of the highlights include: the game-tying final wicket of Anderson Cummins against West Indies in Perth in 1991, the Auckland assault in 1994 in his first match as an opener, the nerveless match-winning final over of the Hero Cup semi-final in 1993, the half-century against Sri Lanka in 1996 World Cup semi-final when the pitch looked like a featherbed when he batted but a minefield after he was dismissed, the twin centuries against Australia to win a tri-series in Sharjah in 1998, the emotional century against Kenyain the 1999 World Cup the day after returning from his father's funeral, the dismantling of Pakistan in Centurion in the 2003 World Cup, becoming the first man to make an ODI double century at Gwalior in 2010, and being chaired around the ground by his team-mates after fulfilling his lifelong ambition ofwinning a World Cup, in 2011.

Tell us you favourite memory - a shot, a catch, a spell, an innings, a crowd chant, an encounter - of Sachin Tendulkar in one-day cricket.

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The Tendulkar habit

More than any other player, Sachin Tendulkar defined ODI cricket. To start with, he played in over half of all India's games

Harsha Bhogle

December 28, 2012

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Sachin Tendulkar hits Glenn McGrath for a six, Australia v India, ICC KnockOut, quarter-final, Nairobi, October 7, 2000
Remember Nairobi 2000? Tendulkar during his brutal assault on Glenn McGrath Tom Shaw / Getty Images 
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Dear Sachin,

I guess this means the countdown has begun. It couldn't have been easy for you since cricket has been your life, your solitary love outside of family. I know there are cars and music and seafood, and, as I recently realised, the odd glass of wine, but a bat was what you were meant to hold, and it is with one that you mesmerised a nation and a sport. I wondered if you could have given up Test cricket and stayed on in one-day internationals - until you told me it takes a lot out of you. And you were never one to give less than a 100%.

I guess your body finally won. It had been giving you signals - that permanently cracked bone in your toe, the struggle to get out of bed when the back played up, that elbow... ah, that's a different story altogether, but you always overruled it. It must have sulked but you forced more out of it than anyone else. It was bound to serve notice one day. I mean, you will be 40 soon; people get reading glasses at 40.

But you leave behind an aspect of cricket that you defined. There will be comparisons with other greats in Test cricket, and you will be a chapter in its history, but with the one-dayer, you are its history, in a sense, certainly for India, where you played in more than half the games (463 out of 809). The team had played a mere 165 games before you started, and it is a measure of the impact you had that there were only 17 centuries scored by then. India made a century every 9.70 games. After you started, that number comes down dramatically, to one every 3.52 games. And since that first century, in Colombo, it comes down even further, to one every 3.23 games. To think that you started with two ducks.

Now, of course, the kids keep notching up the hundreds. This young fellow Kohli, for example, who plays with your intensity but whose vocabulary I guess you would struggle with!

Looking back, I can't imagine it took you 78 games to hit a hundred. But then you were floating around in the batting order, spending too much time not being in the thick of it all. I can see why you were so desperate to open the batting in Auckland that day in 1994. Why, when you told me the story of how you pleaded with Ajit Wadekar and Mohammad Azharuddin to give you one opportunity, you sounded like you were still pleading. But I guess you had a history of wanting to be in battle, like that misty night in Kolkata (it was Calcutta in your youth, wasn't it?) when you took the ball in the 50th over with just six to defend and delivered a win.

It seems impossible to imagine that you averaged a mere 30.84 till that day in Auckland, and that you dawdled along at a strike rate of 74. Since then you averaged 47 at a strike rate of 87. It was a marriage meant to be.

I remember that afternoon in Colombo when you approached your first hundred. It had to be Australia, and you were in sublime touch, and you so wanted that first one. You made 110 in 130 balls, but oh, you agonised over those last 15 runs before you got to the century. In a sense, it was like that with the last one too, wasn't it? It was in those moments only that you were a bit like us, that you wanted something so badly, you let it affect your game. But between those two, you were always so much fun, in that belligerent, ruthless, adolescent first phase, in your second, rather more mature and calculated, existence, and of course in that joyous last. What fun that was. The 163 in Christchurch, the 175 in Hyderabad, that 200 in Gwalior, the 120 in Bangalore, the 111 in Nagpur. If it hadn't been for that devilish 100th, would you have continued playing the same way? That 100th hurt you, didn't it, as it did all of us, and I guess we didn't help you by not letting you forget. When the big occasion came, you always played it like another game, even though you knew it was a big day, like those two classics in CB Series finals in 2008, or, of course, those unbelievable nights in Sharjah in 1998. But this 100th took away four or five more.

 
 
Somebody said to me he didn't want you to quit because it would mean his childhood was over. It isn't just them. Just as the child in you never grew up, so too did many grizzled old men become children when they saw you in blue
 

I know how disappointed you were after the 2007 World Cup. You weren't batting in your favourite position, you were unhappy (if you could ever be unhappy in the game that you revered and tended to like a servant), and without quite saying it, you hinted at the fact that you might have had enough. But the dawn always follows the darkest hour.

After the age of 34, in a young man's game, you averaged 48.36. Even by the standards you set yourself, that was unbelievable (in spite of all those nineties, when, almost inevitably, I seemed to be on air). And most of those came without your regular partner. While Sourav was around, you averaged almost 50 at a strike rate of 89. The mind still lingers on the time the two of you would come out at the start of a one-day international. (I watched one of those partnerships the other night and it seemed only the commercial breaks could stop you two.)

By now you were playing the lap shots more than the booming drives down the ground. It puzzled me and made many nervous. "I want to play down the ground too," you told me, "that is why I am playing the paddle shot. As soon as they put a fielder there, I'll play the big drive." You were playing with the field the way your great friend Brian Lara did when he was on top of his game.

But beyond the numbers some memories remain. I couldn't believe how you went after Glenn McGrath in Nairobi. I must have watched that clip 50 times but understood it more when you told me you wanted to get him angry, that on a moist wicket his line-and-length routine would have won them the game. That pull shot is as fresh in the memory as that first cover drive off Wasim Akram in the 2003 World Cup when you took strike because you thought the great man would have too many tricks for Sehwag.

I remember that World Cup well, especially an unheralded innings in Harare that helped beat a sticky Zimbabwe and put the campaign back on track. And your decision to keep the Player of the Tournament award in your restaurant because you would much rather have had the smaller winner's medal. It told me how much that meant to you, and when I saw the tears on your face that night in Mumbai, I instantly knew why.

I had only once seen you in tears and that was at a World Cup too. You were practising in Bristol. You were just back from your father's funeral and were wearing the most peculiar dark glasses. There was none of the usual style to them; they were big enough to cover half your face. You agreed to my request to speak to the media and briefly took them off while you were arranging your kit bag. I was taken aback to see your eyes swollen. You must have been in another world but you were courteous as ever. It was only Kenya the next day, but I can see why you rate that hundred.

There are so many more. I was only a young cricket writer when I started watching you play, so there will be many. That is also why so many of us will miss you. Somebody said to me he didn't want you to quit because it would mean his childhood was over. It isn't just them. Just as the child in you never grew up, so too did many grizzled old men become children when they saw you in blue. You were a great habit, Sachin.

So you are done with the blue then. But the whites remain. That is our first image of you - the curly hair, the confident look, the front foot stride… all in white. I hope you have fun in them. You don't need to try too hard to prove a point to us because when you have fun we do too.

Cheers, you did well for us. And you gave life and strength to our game.

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Bowl at Boycs

'It hurts to see Tendulkar struggle'

Geoff Boycott on Tendulkar's ODI retirement, the highs and lows of 2012, and Eoin Morgan's technique

ESPNcricinfo staff

December 28, 2012

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To listen to the whole show, click on the above link

Siddhartha Talya: Hello and welcome to another show of Bowl at Boycs. I'm Siddhartha Talya and speaking to me today from back home in Jersey is Geoffrey Boycott. A satisfactory tour of India for you, Geoffrey, would you say?

Geoffrey Boycott: More than satisfactory. I thought India would actually do a lot better than they did because history shows they are pretty tough to beat in their own country. And with England's past performances in the UAE against Pakistan, I thought it looked like - even with a moderate Indian side - an Indian win but we're all surprised. Very pleasantly as Englishmen.

ST: The big news here in India is that Sachin Tendulkar has announced his retirement from ODI cricket. Related to that is our first question of the day. It comes from Jatin in India. He wants to know: Was Tendulkar's retirement from ODIs the right call in your opinion? It'll help him focus on one format, which is Test cricket, and is that where you think India needs him more?

GB: I'm not sure it's about what India needs most, I think it's about what's best for Sachin. At this stage of his career, he's done well for himself and he's done well for his country. I think he has to do what's best for him because if he plays better, whatever format of cricket, it's going to help the team he plays for, which is India. That's the most important thing.

He hasn't played in the T20s for India for a while. ODI cricket, today, in the modern game, has become so physically demanding on the player's body, even 50 overs. As much as we all love Sachin, me included, he's never been an outstanding athlete in the field. He's never let anybody down, he's been competent, but nobody could ever call him a top outfielder. So, as he gets older, like all of us, me included, he just can't run as fast as a youngster, he can't dive around. Not that he was a great diver but when you do dive around in the modern day - as you are expected to; it's a modern phenomenon - he's going to hurt himself a bit more. As you get older, you're going to fall the wrong way, your body hurts more, it bruises easier - it's nature taking over.

It's very sad, it's a fact of life, that more of us, as we get older, we have to accept we just can't do what we used to do. There's no fun in accepting that, there's no fun in believing it. There's no fun in having to say it gets easier, because it doesn't get easier. It can't. So for him, it's tough, is one-day [cricket]. As wonderful as he's been, we can't live on the memories. He's 39, and so I think giving up is very responsible and sensible.

He can now focus on staying fit, playing as much zonal cricket as he can - and that's important, trying to get some runs in that, which shouldn't be too difficult. You know [in domestic cricket] they're not as good as him. Even now, when he's past his zenith, he's still better than them. And he needs form. Form means runs, runs means confidence, and then he can play against Australia in March. He desperately needs some runs against Australia in the Test matches in March, because I don't think any of us want to see him embarrass himself with more failures after failure. If he doesn't get runs against Australia, I'm reasonably confident that he'll see the light and call his own retirement. But you cross your fingers and hope he can get some.

He obviously still loves the game. I played county cricket till I was 46 and Test cricket till I was 41 and a half. So it is possible. But in the end, your past performances only count for so much. In the end, we all have to get runs or wickets. It's a runs and wickets-orientated game. You can only go so far living on past performances.

ST: Do you think he had a transformative role to play in ODI cricket? He has played more than 400 matches, has a very impressive average, has broken all kinds of records. What's Tendulkar's greatest legacy with relation to ODIs?

GB: Longevity more than anything. There have been other outstanding one-day cricketers, like there have been outstanding Test players. But it's the longevity, and playing in all countries and playing well. That's it. It's easy to get sucked into believing, when he's playing in the current day and doing well, that they're the best player ever. Hang on. That's being disrespectful to all the eras of cricket and all the players who've gone before. Sachin will be up there with the greatest in Test cricket and one-day cricket, but let's not forget there have been other players. So it's his longevity and playing exceptionally well all over the world.

ST: England managed to square the T20 series here, with Eoin Morgan, their stand-in captain, playing a very significant role in that game at the Wankhede, where he hit the last ball for a six. We have a question from Edwin in the UK about him. He asks: Would you say Eoin Morgan is a gifted limited-overs batsman for the innovativeness and audacity he brings to his batting? And is there a technical reason why he hasn't really made it yet in Test matches?

GB: I would agree with you. He is innovative, audacious, an exceptionally good one-day cricketer. But, look, let's get real and let's be honest. T20 cricket is exciting, it's fun, it's all the action packed into three hours. It's wonderful, quickfire entertainment, but really, it's not cricket's best form. And because the batsmen have to try and hit every ball for a boundary, all the players deep down know they have a good excuse for getting out. So there's a psychological thing there where you know nobody's going to blame you that much if you're trying to hit the ball out of the park, there are only 20 overs and you've all got a hit. So there's that excuse at the back of your mind.

In Test cricket, there are no excuses. There's a lot of time to play yourself in, go at your own pace, play your own style, do your own thing. Bouncers can be bowled at you in Test match cricket, so courage and technique are involved in playing the short-pitched ball. It comes into it more and more. Bouncers in one-day cricket, they give you a wide for. There's more technique, there's more concentration, more patience required to put together a big innings in Test cricket as opposed to a few big hits in one-day cricket. Now I'm not saying T20 cricket doesn't have some skill involved, but not as much as Test matches. And it doesn't have the same amount of character involved to do well in Test matches.

T20 is a batsman's game. The bowlers, a lot of the time, are cannon fodder, they just run up and people are going to smack it out of the park. Morgan is one of those players, and there are a few around the world, who are exceptional against many bowlers in T20. And he is very good in ODIs. But in Test matches he's been dodgy around off stump, that's the problem. He appears to open the face. It's not convincing that he knows where his off stump is. And that's the most vulnerable area in Test match cricket.

They bowl on off stump, you have to know what to leave and what to play. When they are bowling it really quick in Test match cricket, you've actually got to make six decisions in about a third of a second. You've got to decide, "Shall I play it, shall I leave it, shall I play forward, shall I play back, shall I block it, or shall I hit it for runs." So there are six things you have to do in a third of a second, and you have to get it right technically and you better be matched with the mental toughness to do that.

He's failed at times at pressure moments when he's had chances in Test cricket. He particularly looks vulnerable around off stump - it's just a fact of life. I see it, I've called it. He's had chances and he's not come up with the goods when it matters. Sadly for him, and he won't like it, Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root have got slightly ahead of him and they'll continue to move away from him in Test matches. That's my opinion. I believe they will because they've got more mental toughness about them; they've got better technique.

He will be better than them in T20. I don't think there is any doubt in my mind that he is the better of the three in T20. He is a terrific player in T20. When there is less pressure to fail, technique around off stump and against quick bowlers is not exposed.

ST: Coming now to Geoffrey's favourite question for this show. It's from Alan in the UK. Alan wants to know: Geoffrey, if you had to recap 2012 and pick out two highs and lows, what would they be?

GB: I can only tell you what I've seen in 12 months. I see all the England players, all the England matches. I don't see every single Test match in the world. I can only tell you of what I've seen.

Michael Clarke's performance, two [three] double-hundreds, is unbelievably fantastic.

 
 
"I had a great sadness and disappointment watching one of the greatest players of the world of cricket struggle and be a shadow of the iconic batsman he was"
 

But I have to tell you, because I watch England, the worst low this year was in Abu Dhabi, the fourth innings, England v Pakistan in a Test match. We finally played Monty Panesar with Swann and they bowled beautifully to get us into a position where we needed 144 to win. The ball was turning but it wasn't jumping or anything and it wasn't turning alarmingly, but it was turning. And we were all out for 72. The left-arm spinner took 6 for 25, we couldn't even play a left-arm spinner just bowling normal, turning, spin balls.

And when it came to Ajmal, 3 for 22, they couldn't pick him, they hadn't a clue, they had more a chance of picking a nose than picking Ajmal. And he was the one who terrified them, because they didn't know what the hell he was bowling. And when they played the left-arm spinner, they made a pathetic mess of it. They were playing with the pads, playing across the line to the leg side, against the spin, they were sweeping off the stumps because they couldn't pick the ball. They didn't know which way to hit Ajmal and they were trying all sorts against the left-arm spinner.

ST: Abdur Rehman was the left-arm spinner.

GB: Abdur Rehman, that's him. He was unbelievable. Watching it, it was like in slow motion, like watching a terror movie. You thought, "Somebody's going to get a 30 or 40 and we're going to get home."

That was the low point because, remember, they were the best side in the world, supposedly No. 1 in the world. They lost all three Test matches and they deserved to lose all three. But the spinners didn't. The spinners did well. And the England batsmen let England down in all three Tests so badly that, when we think of that, us English people, we think [about] coming to India, we think, "It's going to turn, we're going to struggle here with the bat and it's not Monty and Swann we're worried about, and Jimmy Anderson, and we know they'll do well. But the batting…" And so we were surprised in India and we were surprised in Abu Dhabi when they played so awful.

One of the highs, I'd have to say Kevin Pietersen scored a brilliant 149 at Leeds in the first innings this year against South Africa. And the reason for that was the way he constructed his innings. He started the innings in a steady, compact, common-sense, sensible way, and he was playing against the best seam bowling attack in the world, with Dale Steyn, Morne Morkel, Vernon Philander, and Kallis to back them up. No question, Steyn is the No. 1 bowler in the world.

You could tell it was going to be spicy and tasty because there was always going to be something, there's going to be an edge when KP plays South Africa. Remember, South Africa let him go. They said he couldn't bat and he couldn't bowl. That's going to stick with you all your life. That's going to rankle deep down, isn't it? So you knew there was going to be a bit of a spiciness there, a keen edge to the contest between him and the South African bowlers. So in the second Test at Leeds, he played with a real mental carefulness. But then suddenly, when he got into about the 80s, he suddenly went berserk. He just decided to attack them, and he just went after them to dominate them and played a fantastic innings, just put them in their place as if they were medium-pacers. I have seen a lot of his innings and the only sadness is that we weren't able to win the match. It's always more special if you get a hundred and you win, or when you even save the match rather than you just get a hundred. But it was pretty good, it was a real high.

The second most-important high for me… I am a great believer in skill and character at cricket, all ball games. I think character is so important. There is a young man called Jonny Bairstow who I've been close to. His father was a good friend of mine and he went and took his own life when the kids were young. He has a sister, does Jonny. So I've helped with his mother, my wife has, we've been very close to the family as they've grown up. We've seen him grow and he's a wonderful cricketer. And he played the summer in the Test matches against West Indies. Through the summer he had a torrid time against Kemar Roach. Roach gave him a real working over, very much so in the Test matches before we get to the one I'm going to talk about.

He had a tough time with the bouncers. Roach hit him on the arm. He wasn't looking at the ball, he was getting himself in a little bit of a mess, and he knew he had to do something about it. He lost his Test place when South Africa came. England picked Bopara. And then at Leeds, they picked James Taylor in place of him, in the Test match where Kevin got this wonderful 149. But at Leeds, you remember, there was all the fuss about Kevin's texts and so forth, so Kevin was dropped for Lord's and just luckily, the Pietersen affair gave Bairstow another chance.

But there was going to be a huge personal battle for him. You had the best bowlers in the world, with Steyn, Morkel and Philander coming at him. You were going to get the short stuff, and rightly so. Everybody knew you're going to get more of it - the crowd knew, he knew. There's never a place to hide against fast bowlers when they've seen a chink in your armoury. And they came at him strong, and the time when he went in to bat, England were 54 for 4. They were chasing 309, they were in big trouble, they had two young kids playing, Taylor and Bairstow, no KP, and playing the best seam-bowling side in the world (and Lord's is a great place to bowl seam). He was up against it personally, and the team was in trouble. And he played out of his skin. He played unbelievable.


Jonny Bairstow pulls during his maiden Test fifty, England v South Africa, 3rd Investec Test, Lord's, 2nd day, August 17, 2012
Jonny Bairstow: Overcoming adversity  Getty Images 
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Roach had got him for 16 and 4 and 18 and made a mess of his technique, but that day, he ducked, weaved, looked at the ball, looked a different quality player. And he went on to make 95 and he batted even better in the second innings: he got 54, when England tried to chase down a total and didn't make it - they actually lost the game by 51 runs.

I have a personal interest, I admit that, from seeing the young man grow up in adversity, with his father doing an unfortunate, silly thing. But the kid can play. He's got a lot to learn about playing in India on slow, turning pitches, but he's not the only one that has to learn playing in India. But he played fantastic that day [at Lord's], and that, for me, was a great high, to see a young player in real difficulty against the quicks, and I mean real difficulty… to have the character, skill, the temperament, against the best seamers in the world, your team's in trouble and you personally are in trouble. And you've got to get out of it, and he did. That, for me, was the second high moment of the year.

And just to finish with, I have to say this because you asked me about two lows. My second low I haven't given you and I have saved it till last. It's about Sachin Tendulkar. I had a great sadness and disappointment watching one of the greatest players of the world of cricket struggle and be a shadow of the iconic batsman he was. To me, Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar, two very different styles and two very special talents, have strolled the world of cricket in the last 20 years. They've been very special, they've achieved many things and been way above other batsmen. Way above many of us other batsmen could even dream about. And he was making mistakes against England that he didn't make before.

Now we the public, that's you, me, those that love him, we haven't been used to seeing him fail time after time. We've occasionally seen a slight dip in form, everybody's career has that, but then we've seen him return with gorgeous, crafted centuries.

He is a lovely man. We've known him since he was a lovely boy. He's always had time for me. I don't bother him much but if I ever see him, he'll chat to me. He'll always come and say hello and we'll chat about things a little, as if I've never been away. If I ask him for anything, he always obliges. I care about him very deeply, like many of you. And his legacy to cricket will be very special. When you care about someone and you can see them struggling, you worry, you hurt for them. Not unlike many other people. I don't want to see him embarrassed, I don't want him to embarrass himself. So my New Year's resolution is: Sachin will play zonal cricket, he'll make some runs, he'll get into form, get some confidence and come back and make runs against Australia. I hope so.

ST: Let's hope for the best. That brings us to the end of the last Bowl at Boycs show for 2012. Grand plans for the holidays coming up, Geoffrey?

GB: No, just to be home and rest after being in India. Then, on the 8th of January I've got a special due in Sheffield, Yorkshire, as President of Yorkshire. We are going to celebrate our 150th anniversary. On the 8th of January, 150 years ago, in 1863, Yorkshire cricket was formed by some Sheffield people - not Leeds - at the Adelphi Hotel. That was knocked down some years ago and a snooker hall was built. So we're having a function in the snooker place to celebrate that great event 150 years ago. As the president, I shall be there, I should be there, I am going to be there and it's right I should be there to celebrate this occasion. Then I'm going to South Africa for a month's holiday.

ST: Wish you and all Yorkshiremen many congratulations for that special occasion. Thanks to our listeners for tuning in. Please don't forget to send us your questions using our feedback form and we'll join Geoffrey Boycott in the New Year. So, Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, happy holidays. Goodbye Geoffrey.

GB: Cheers.

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