Sachin Tendulkar - too cool for school

If Sachin Tendulkar follows the script and scores his 100th century in Saturday's Cricket World Cup final, his home city of Mumbai may well spontaneously combust.

    Superstar, Genius, God… all words that at some point have been used to describe Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.  

    While most cricket fans around the world are aware of the huge popularity of the "Little Master" it's only when you come to India that you realise the near religious devotion the one billion strong Indian public has for the man from Mumbai.

    And when you're in Mumbai you can take that devotion and multiply it by a thousand. If Sachin (no one calls him Tendulkar round here) scores his 100th international hundred to help India win the World Cup final against Sri Lanka then this city may well spontaneously combust.

    What I find most remarkable about the man is how he's been handling all this pressure since he was a teenager.

    At the age of 14 he shared a 664-run stand with Vinod Kambli (another future Indian star) as they played for the Sharadashram Vidyamandir School in an inter-school championship game.

    That's when I and many others first heard his name. At the time I remember thinking how great it would be for this prodigy to fulfill his potential and how unlikely that would be.

    14,962 Test runs and 18,903 ODI runs including (at the time of writing!) 99 international centuries later I'm happy to be proved wrong.

    Not only has he surpassed the expectations of his most ardent supporters, he seems to be getting better with age, as proven in this World Cup, where going into the final he was the tournament's second most prolific run scorer.

    I had the pleasure of meeting one of his former school teachers, Shri H.R. Shirsat. He used to teach Sachin maths and science at the Sharadashram Vidyamandir School.  Now headmaster he remembers the teenage prodigy as someone who, "ate, drank, dreamt cricket".

    Interestingly he said the future great wasn't considered much of a player when he first arrived at the school at the age of 11.

    Whoever made that hasty judgement would've soon changed his mind as Sachin broke batting records throughout his time at Sharadashram. He then made the effortless switch from first class to international cricket and, well you know the rest.

    In a world where footballers like Wayne Rooney, Ronaldinho and Fernando Torres seem to have reached their peak in their early to mid 20s, Tendulkar continues to prove that he has the hunger and desire to keep getting better at the age of 37. Let's make the most of him while we still can.


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