February 24, 2010 is a day none of us Indian cricket fans can forget. The God of Cricket became the first cricketer to score a double century in the limited overs game and took India to reaching a total of 401/3 against South Africa.
The day was a special one, not only for the Master Blaster and millions of his fans, but also for the whole cricket fraternity.
Players from all over the world were hooked to their screens, witnessing the moment, cheering for one of the greatest batsman of all time. Everyone of them wanted Sachin to lap the record. He truly deserved it after all!
Spin legend Shane Warne was following the innings and continuously posting on his Twitter page, egging the Indian star to achieve the milestone.
Anil Kumble, Sachin’s long-time teammate, applauded the way Sachin reacted in his blog post for The Hindu, “I thought the way he celebrated when he reached his 200 epitomised the man’s persona. There was no running laps around the field, no aggressive gestures, nothing over-the-top. He did what he always does, raised both his arms, closed his eyes for a moment and quietly acknowledged that it had been done.”
Nasser Hussain, the former captain of the England cricket team, ran out of comparable for the man. “Better than Brian Lara and Ricky Ponting, the other two great players of my era. Better than Sir Viv Richards, Sunil Gavaskar and Allan Border. And I would even say better than Sir Don Bradman himself,” he wrote for the Daily Mail.
Former Pakistani cricketer Saeed Anwar whose record of highest runs in ODIs, 194, was broken by Sachin said he was happy for his “friend from Mumbai”.
“Nobody else does deserve to get there. It’s only Sachin who deserves to scale that peak. 200 is a big score in one-day cricket. It’s not easy to get there. It took him 20 long years to get there. He has come a long way. It’s Sachin’s greatness. Records are meant to be broken. I heard somebody equalled my record sometime ago. But I did not know him. It’s great that my friend from Mumbai Sachin broke it. I am very happy for him,” said the humble batsman.
Javed Miandad too took the opportunity to say Sachin was his favourite player.
Virendra Sehwag, in a narration to Cricinfo, said he is of the superstitious kind who does not praise a shot believing it gets the batsman out.
“But when he got to 190, I couldn’t contain myself. I came out and started cheering every stroke till he got to 200.”
Talking about the demeanor Sachin had, Sehwag said, “You might say, this is 200 – a figure no batsman in the history of the game has crossed – but then we are talking about Tendulkar. He looked calm and confident even when he was at the non-striker’s end in those final moments. I knew he just needed one ball, and I also knew he would get the opportunity.”
The fierce batsman also highlighted what makes Sachin unique. He said, “I do not want to dwell here on my own batting, but in the past certain people have said I could have scored 200 in one-day cricket, because of my performances in Tests, where I have got near to a hundred before lunch. But I have had the tendency to take too many risks once I reach the 120 or 130-run mark in ODIs. That is difference between me and Sachin.”
Yes, Sachin is a batsman who will forever rule our hearts. His record might have been surpassed but the knock will always be our favourite!
H/T: ESPN Cricinfo
Cover Image: BCCI