Saturday, December 10, 2005

The passing of the torch

For years, Kapil Dev has held a unique distinction - of being the only person to hold the world record for wickets in both limited overs (ODI) matches and Tests. Today, Sachin Tendulkar made an entire nation come to its feet by matching Kapil's feat in terms of centuries made in both forms of the game. (There are some well-compiled profiles and articles about his achievement on Cricinfo).

The self-proclaimed "child of the one-day age" is now the greatest accumulator of 100-plus scores in Tests (35 and counting), to go with the 38 he has in ODI's.

On the same ground in Delhi where Sunil Gavaskar had equaled Sir Donald Bradman's century mark, Sachin eclipsed one of his childhood heroes. Gavaskar's century was a frenetic affair, smashing fours almost at will and reaching his century off just 90 balls, a type of innings one imagines Tendulkar usually conjures. And ironically, Tendulkar's century was one that could have been manufactured by Gavaskar - 177 balls of studied determination, defending ball after ball, waiting for the bowlers to change their line and length to his demands.

For a long time one complaint I had against Tendulkar was that while he had the hunger to score centuries, he did not seem to have the temperament to make it a huge one. Someday, somewhere, a key was been turned in his mind, and a lock opened. In the past few years this has changed as evidenced by his scores the last 5 times he has crossed a 100 - 193, 176, 241 not out, 194 not out, 248 not out.

What is better than starting the day batting on zero? Starting the day batting on 100! Tendulkar gets to do that tomorrow. I look forward to watching this one unfold.

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