SACHIN TENDULKAR - the name itself strikes terror in the hearts of bowlers all around the world. Hailed as the next master-blaster following the legacy of the great West Indian Vivian Richards, this man has all the shots in the book, and a few more. There is nothing this man cannot do - he opens the batting for India in the one-dayers, comes at no. 4 in test matches, bowls rightarm offbreaks, legbreaks and even googlies (the wrong-un). He also swings the ball both ways when he bowls his medium pacers. It seems he had tried his hands at wicket-keeping too (in his school days), but gave it up in pursuit of what he does best - Batting. A child prodigy, he made his international debut in ODIs and Tests at the age of 16 ( yes 16 ) against Pakistan and the fiery pace of Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis . He then went to England as a part of the national side, and has not looked back ever since. In batting, he has reached a stage that others can only dream of. He has destroyed practically every bowling opposition in the world - from Shane Warne (Aus.) to Saqlain Mushtaq (Pak.) , and Waqar Younis (Pak.) to Allan Donald (RSA) , and in style . Tendulkar 'specialites' include the straight drive (seemingly nobody plays the shot better than him ), the cover drive, the square cut, the pullshot over midwicket/square leg, the delicate leg glance, the late cut, the lofted shots over mid-on and mid-off and not to mention the improvisations he keeps coming up with time and again. He plays each of his shots amazingly well and has even employed the reverse sweep to good effect. A short but powerful man, some of his shots are hit with so much power that the ball simply rockets to the fence as if he was trying to dismiss the ball from his presence. On the other hand, some of his shots are simply timed and placed well. His timing can be quite exquisite and it is this blend of timing and raw power that puts him in the top league with Brian Lara (W.I.) ,Waugh Twins(Mark and Steve, Aus.) and Ricky Ponting (Aus.). Always involved in the game, he never hesitates to give his inputs to the captain or to the bowlers. His selfless approach and devotion to cricket coupled with the lack of any ego problems makes him one of the most approachable and likeable personalities on the cricket field. No wonder he commands a huge fan following all over the world. He is a great thinker of the game and a good strategist too.It was his great cricketing mind that saw him being appointed as the captain of the Indian side in 1996-97 making him the second youngest captain in the history of Indian cricket (the youngest being M.A.K. Pataudi who was appointed captain at the age of 21). He initially justified the faith put in him by leading India to series victories against Australia (Border - Gavaskar Trophy), South Africa (at home) and also lifted the TITAN cup (Triangular tournament featuring India, Australia & South Africa). But after that, the performances dropped. He was not given the squad that he wanted and India started losing under an unhappy captain. As usual, the skipper was made the scape-goat and citing his lack of form (!!! he had scored more than a thousand runs in both ODIs and Tests in 1997 - a record) was removed from captaincy. Since then, he has flourished with both the bat and the ball, and is thus back to his true self and the job he loves the most - winning matches for India. With age on his side, this man is set out to be the highest run getter in the history of world cricket. He has already won rich praises from people and fellow/former cricketers who see in him a living legend and a master batsman who is leagues above his fellow cricketers. Truly, a living legend and a great champion.
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