The biggest news in cricket circles this week, indeed probably this year, is the impending retirement of Sachin Tendulkar from all cricket. As a cricket fan, it oft discussed who is the best player in the world, who is the best player of the generation and who is the best player ever.
I will never be convinced that there has ever been a player better than Bradman. Numbers don’t lie and Bradman’s average will never be replicated, particularly now with the ever weakening of techniques that arises from T20 cricket. The fact is that, by the same premise, it is pretty clear that Sachin Tendulkar is, easily in my view, the best player of the last 25 years. As I said above, numbers don’t lie,and Tendulkar’s numbers, in an era where first class cricket has taken a back seat, are nothing short of phenomenal.
Forget the batting records for a minute here and consider this: Tendulkar has been playing test match cricket since he was 16. His debut was in 1989. Simply, Tendulkar’s presence in the game can not be considered with reference to just one generation because he transcends generations. For goodness sake: Australia’s captain when he debuted was Allan Border. That era of Australian cricket seems like a lifetime ago doesn’t it? Indeed, in my respectful opinion, that fact alone makes him the player of our lifetime. Because, much like Bradman, his records will never be broken AND he played for so long.
It is just not Tendulkar’s longevity that sets him apart though. For the purist there are many images that one thinks of when reminiscing about what they love about the game. For me there is a Ricky Ponting hook shot, Glenn McGrath vs Mike Atherton and Allan Donald in full flight. However, as images go there is has been none purer in the last 24 years of cricket watching for me than a Sachin Tendulkar on drive.
That’s what I will miss the most in Tendulkar’s retirement: that on drive that has tormented bowlers of all types around the world.
It is a fallacy to consider who will be the next Tendulkar because, just like the search for the next Bradman has been fruitless, such a search will likewise be fruitless. As fans the world over we should simply bask in the joy that was Tendulkar at the crease these last two test matches because there will never be another player like him.