The unseen stats behind Sachin’s record

In the midst of the Sachin-scripted mayhem of yesterday, I spotted the following on my Twitter timeline:

From Asfaq: As of writing this tweet, Tendulkar’s Wikipedia entry has gone thru 24 edits in the last 45 minutes alone.

Gautam John: 3/10 trending topics on twitter are dedicted to Sachin! This is history! Not even obama could do it! Not even apple or google!

Twitter, in fact, is proving to be an invaluable adjunct to following any event live. Consider the following posts — a brief selection that measures the public pulse during those pulsating moments when we realized that we were witness to cricketing history in the making:

Lahar Appaiah: First time I’ve seen Dhoni getting booed for hitting 6s. What exquisite tension, the last few overs..

From Shane Warne, who flooded Twitter timelines during the run up to the record:

#come on Sachin my friend get your 200 !!!! world record to please ! you deserve it !!!!!!

#nervous for my good friend Sachin everything crossed for you mate !!!! ps glad I’m not bowling to him today!about 14 hours ago via TweetDeck

#yes yes yes !!!!!! well done Sachin my friend … congrats and well done !!!!! awesome …

From Anand Mahindra, head of the eponymous business house: On my way to ndtv Indian of the year awards.But wonder if any other indian matters tonight after sachin’s double ton…

From Ashu Mittal, whose creative space is photography and who is a self-confessed cricket atheist: Commit all your crimes when Sachin is batting, they will go unnoticed, because even the Lord is watching!

As for the innings itself — and the man who shattered yet another seemingly impregnable barrier — what can you say?

So many of us have spent a decade and more in anticipation, telling ourselves that if there was one man who could shatter the 200 mark in the one day format, it was Sachin. ‘If he bats through 50 overs just once…’, we kept telling ourselves. And each time he got out, we cursed the very exuberance of strokeplay that made him what he was.

‘Dammit, did he have to play that risky shot when, with a bit of caution…’

Typically, we wanted it both ways. We wanted the visceral thrill of watching Sachin script murder; simultaneously, we wanted the adrenalin to flow a tad less tumultuously, for caution to temper that unbridled aggression.

Speaking for myself, I’d given up that dream. While I still enjoyed the spectacle of watching Sachin bat at any venue, against any opposition, in any form of the game, I no longer believed he had it in him to match aggression with endurance. As age caught up with him, as he shifted from hunter to circumspect gatherer, I signed over that unfulfilled promise, and looked to others — a Virender Sehwag, say — to plant a flag on the peak I had so hopefully earmarked for him.

And then, without warning, it was in the words of the Carpenters’ song, yesterday once more. Initially, Sachin’s innings was a make-weight for Sehwag’s early dismissal. Then it began to transform into a thing of beauty in its own right. He crossed the century, and we ticked off another one. He got into the 140s, and I began anticipating the moment when he would trip over his own exuberance and play that one shot too many [while a very small part of me dreaded the possibility that he might slow down due to sheer fatigue, and thus inadvertently check the team’s headlong progression]. The 150 came up; his score progressed in increments of 10, and yet — a function of having oscillated between anticipation and disappointment too often in the past — I dared not believe.

I think it was when he got to 180 that there was the first realization that this was it. Time was on his side. He was hitting them clean, but more to the point he was running his singles with no sign of the cramps that have cruelly curtailed him when in full flow, in the past.

So, finally, the peak — and the fulfillment of a covenant Sachin made with his fans on the day he played his first ODI innings.

There are moments that go beyond the power of words to encapsulate; moments where silence is the most fitting tribute.

This is one such.

Perhaps the comment that best summed up the collective mood came from a colleague and friend who, on Twitter, goes by the handle Sumantics:

“If I had a salwar suit in our tri-colour, I would have worn it to work tomorrow.”


69 thoughts on “The unseen stats behind Sachin’s record

  1. Yesterday’s match was memorable because of Sachin’s double hundred. Otherwise it was an unequal battle because of the pitch being totally in favour of batsmen. And once SA lost early wickets the match lost all interest. If we have similar wickets for next year’s world cup, the tournament will be one big yawn.

    Shouldn’t Gwalior be pulled up like Kotla for producing ‘substandard’ pitch? Or only pitches favouring bowlers are substandard?

  2. Hi Prem,

    Do you still think that Gambhir and Veeru should open in One day internationals?

    One may say that it depends on the form of these 3 players, righ/left combination, understanding between Veeru and Gambhir, etc., but I have always maintained that Sachin knows his game too well and if he thinks he should open, he will deliver more than any other player if you consider long term consistency. There may have been few injury issues in the past or bit of a weird thinking that he should anchor the innings and play around other attacking players, but I strongly believe that if on any given day Sachin decides to play positive and aggressive cricket, nobody in India can replace him.

    It is a pleasure to read your posts and I think you are one the best when it comes to both writing and your knowledge about cricket, but somehow I still cannot believe what you wrote around Sachin’s 175 against Australia. It felt more like I am reading a spicy article on 🙂 Anyway, I can live with few failures of Sachin and one post of yours out of so many where I completely disagree with you 🙂

    • 🙂 The answer lies in your question, dude. It is about the form of the moment. If VS and GG make for the most in-form combo of the three at a given time, they do the job. If it is VS and SRT, fine. Why stick to those two combos, if GG and SRT are the form combo, give them the job and let VS bat in the middle — I’m good, as long as the combination on the park is the best we can put together at that point in time.

      • I agree with your response. However, I also feel this is more applicable for Veeru and Gambhir. All good players fail once in a while, even when in good form, like Gambhir had a poor test against SA. But when it comes to overall form over couple of series or a season, Sachin has been generally very consistent. If in the last 20 odd years you want to say about a player that ‘form is temporary and class is permanent’, it has to be Sachin…Hence, even if one may call it bit of a preferential treatment, I think he deserves this because he has earned it…

  3. Pingback: 200* « true void

  4. I think Sachin got addicted to his batting and cricket. If any one else did the same other than sports, that person would have been behind bars but this man Sachin is an addict and that of cricket. We can call him an cricket abuser, batting abuser and bowlers nightmare. Cant think of any one who is so addicted to one sport like Sachin to cricket. He is above par than what Micheal Jordan did in Basketball, Federrer in Tennis, Tiger Woods in Golf or Micheal Schumaker in Racing. All these guys are addicts in their own way.

    • Reminds me that I am a journalist, and that whatever my personal likings, I tend to view each event in isolation. 🙂

      You mean if tomorrow in a game SRT screws up, I shouldn’t mention it because he did this today?

  5. I honestly am over whelmed by the match yesterday, I was approximatley 10 years when the master arrived on stage, and I’ll even admit it, during the time India had lot of players coming in and going out, but he stuck. 1992 world cup came, India crashed out and at a tender age of 12 years I began supporting Sachin. I was writing my +2 exams during the 1996 world cup when Sachin started to blossom. I was writing my engg entrance exams when the Sharjah sand storm happened. I was doing my degree when Sachin’s father passed away and he came back wearing glasses to make the most remarkable century for his father against Kenya. i was finishing up my M.B.A and looking to leave for NZ for further studies when he blasted Pakistan in the 2003 world cup.

    I have come back to India to settle down when he passed the 200 + run mark. I am sure there are many people in my generation who passed their lives parallel to Sachin’s landmarks. I honestly don’t know how my life will be when he eventually call it quits. I think I will be depressed….

    • @Sri. I am also the person of approx same age as you and have been following cricket from 1992 world cup just because of one person…. that SRT…… The most important quality of SRT is his perserverance, child like attitude, consistency and many many more…. Regarding the day he quits, i can imagine that tears will be coming down rolling from millions of his fans like me………..

    • Amen to this post! Grew up with Sachin. I will probably have serious withdrawal symptoms when he calls it quits. No matter what or who plays, cricket will probably not be the same for me again. Sachin is pure magic. 🙂

  6. Two things –

    One, He hadn’t played those shots in years that he played yesterday. Those short arm pulls, cross batted heaves (looks ugly on others, not on Sachin). I’d given hopes of seeing him play those shots again. Like most of people, I’d resigned myself to Sachin the accumulator and given up on Sachin the destroyer. He turned the clock back amazingly.

    Second, warne’s uncanny ability to predict the game continues to surprise. He’d tweeted that SA will make 275 tops and ABD will be the key man and that’s just how it turned out. It wasn’t the first time he did this, guess.. greats have gifts we mortals can’t fathom.

    • That wristy half-flick/half-drive to mid wicket by walking a foot outside off stum of dale steyns….. unreal…

      • IMO, the shot of the innings … Steyn’s reaction said it all! They both exchanged smiles when he later tried upper-cutting Steyn over the keeper, standing 1.5-2 feet outside the leg stump.

        Although a watershed moment, this innings is arguably not a Top 10 SRT ODI innings. The 175 recd much praise but, I think, his best ODI knock in the year 2009 was 138 vs Sri Lanka; thankfully, he himself acknowledged it as his Top 3 ODI innings.

  7. Anybody can score a double on a flat pitch with weak bowling. The bowlers also are mentally disintegrated due to terrorist threats. There is nothing to rave about this Sachin’s double century.

    • So there you go, Kishor, flying your words of wisdom. Obviously in democrocy everybody has right to become wrong!!

      This is the same ‘weak’ bowling attack and ‘same mentally disintegrated’ bowlers which/who screwed the indian batting line-up in the first test.

      I reckon you posted the above comment just to ire the people out here.

      God bless you!

    • Oh I agree. We would all agree that yesterday was the first day a cricket match was played on a flat pitch with sub-standard bowlers like Dale Steyn operating, so no big surprise that Sachin scored a double. 🙂

      • Oh, why even bother Prem. I bet this is the same kishore who bitches about every good thing even on Just check out his comment here,
        “The bowlers also are mentally disintegrated due to terrorist threats.”
        LMAO , Thanks for making my day Kishore.
        You obliged his purpose by replying there Prem.:)

        • Sumit you beat me to the reply!

          anyway, seeing as Kishor only haunts the most popular blogs, I’d take this as a compliment to Prem.

          and anyone who has followed greatbong for some length of time knows that kishor’s comments need to be taken with a pinch of salt and a dose of laughter!

    • @Kishor—-balls to you man….”anybody can hit a double century???” Can you? dont think so…why hasn’t any international player done it in the world, there are much smaller grounds and much flatter wickets out there….but u need talent, skill and tons of practice to do that…let me see you hold a bat and face a 140kph+ delivery regardless good or bad(forget scoring a single of it).

      South Africa is one the top sides in the world…Dale Steyn is one of the fastest and most dangerous bowlers…wayne parnell bowls at 135kph+, so does jacques kallis and Langeveldt …and South Africa is the best fielding side still he managed to pierce those gaps…

      Give the man some credit for having shed sweat and blood for the country and for the sport for 20 years…

    • Ofcourse, anyone can Kishor. That’s why we have JUST ONE double hundred in the history of ODI cricket !!!

      Get a life, dude!! Pay credit where its due and one particular Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar’s credit rating is EXCELLENT !!

  8. Prem, my feelings were exactly the same as yours. We’d given up home that Sachin would ever cross 200, and at this time he surprises us in such a manner. What was amazing about his innings is that at no time during the innings did he even give them a chance, he never at any stage looked like he was going to get out.

    And as he kept scoring, I did not dare to think about 200 until he crossed 180. And when he was at 199 and Dhoni didn’t give him the strike and instead kept hitting the big shots, I think everyone in India was cursing him!

  9. Congrats Sachin. You deserved it!

    Got this in a tweet:
    Several media sources are reporting that “Sachin Tendulkar scored the first ever double Sentury in one-day international cricket”. Well, that’s not really true.

    The first ever double century in one-day international cricket was scored by Belinda Clark of Australia. As the captain of the Australian women’s cricket team, she scored 229 not out against Denmark at Mumbai during the 1997 Women’s Cricket World Cup.

  10. You said it right Prem! Sometimes silence is the most appropriate form of appreciation. Even Boria Mazumdar, who can bring the roof of Times Now down with his sheer rhetoric and jargon, seemed to just enjoy and let others talk. Sunil Gavaskar wanted to simply touch his feet, while Harsha was simply smiling and wondering how this little man is destined to spread happiness to the one billion Indians.

    Some who don’t believe in your silence theory, started debating whether he is the best batsman of the world. Should we blame them? No. Sachin is theirs too. They have all the right to do whatever they want to do with their Sachin. And I think this was the best part of yesterdays knock. It once again proved that there is no one Sachin. There is atleat one billion Sachin… or more!

    • Loved your article. Great job.

      I agree, Sachin batted today better than he ever did. This is the same guy who people thought should retire two years ago, the guy that people laughed at when he said he wanted to play another World Cup. And at 37, he looks younger than ever. I’ve never seen him play till the end with such a big score and not have cramps.

  11. I did not see the game live . Even from the highlights that I noticed the coolness of Dhoni . MSD could have easily panicked tried some something stupid in an effort to give strike to SRT. Instead he was busy hammering the final nails on the SA coffin.

    It is one of the most difficult records to break . Even with all the luck and skill you may still miss the mark by simply running out of gas.

    Among the current players I think can of only Shewag and Dilshan who would be able to get there.

    • I agree — was very impressed with Dhoni as well. It would have been easy to lose sight of the big picture and to define your role as merely facilitating Sachin’s record. Instead, MS saw the larger opportunity and managed to balance the team’s needs with that of the individual, and pull both off. Impressive.

      • Correct. But, what if Dhoni or whoever batted at the end didn’t click? Is it still ok to play for personal milestones, however historic the milestone is? We, as a nation place too much importance on personal milestones. Yesterday’s innings was pure magic for the first 90 runs. And again for the 87 runs after getting to 100. But, I don’t agree with the argument that a ball that deserves a 4 need not be hit for 4 because you are batting in the 90’s or 190’s. What if the margin of victory was as close as the 1st ODI?

        Since, this is an inconsequential series, maybe, it is fine. But, what if it was a World Cup knockout match? I am sure there will be many Indians who would still be happy because ‘India’ has the record even if we lost.

        P.S: I know I have opened the floodgates for abuse:-). But, couldn’t help thinking aloud.

        • yeah, the match became inconsequential as soon as he was in the 180s by the 42nd over. also, if it was a world cup qualifier, fuck the world cup lol. this matters more, at any time.

            • Dude, you’re thinking aloud just to make a point and nothing else. Have you ever played a 15 over game? Do you even know what it takes to last 50 overs. you are like those guys who only know how to talk, but do not really know what it takes to execute plans. I think it’s become fashionable to critize the MASTER batsman because he carries expectations of more than billion people on his shoulders and fulfill them most times.

        • Well, had Dhoni not clicked, I don’t think Sachin would have played like this in his 190s. He was not terribly slow either. He took 9 balls from 191 to 200. And with Dhoni going all guns blazing, it didn’t matter. You invariably see new batsman giving strike to well set partner and the other guy hitting it out. Here it was just opposite. There was nothing wrong with it. Dhoni never tried really to give the strike, as long as he thought the ball was there to be hit.
          So, it was OK in my opinion. Had Dhoni not clicked, I am sure we would have still watched somebody going after them.

        • JII…your point stands valid provided the runrate wasnt going along in the expected lines. what sachin and dhoni did was brilliant…sachin faced only 1 or 2 balls per over and allowed dhoni to manufacture boundaries from balls that did not deserve boundaries…do you think that if sachin was personally trying to score as much as possible in the last few overs, india would have reached 400? no way…sachin would have faced more balls, would have scored lesser as compared to dhoni… in the end, it is a team game, mate….it is not the exact sum of the individual contributions from 11 players…theres an aspect of synergy…your argument holds true if dhoni was struggling to find boundaries…

          • Jazzy,
            Fair enough. In yesterday’s context, all went well. In fact, my question was hypothetical. This is what I had asked.

            But, what if Dhoni or whoever batted at the end didn’t click? Is it still ok to play for personal milestones, however historic the milestone is?

            But, I guess you have answered my question. And I feel, it might get more interesting if we were chasing. 4 needed of the last ball. SRT on 199. I would have loved to see his approach:-)

            • i havent met this guy sachin, but with my eyes closed i can tell you: he will try to hit a boundary…not just sachin, every cricketer who has got in them to reach 199 in the first place…..

              • I agree with u …its not just sachin, for any player winning a match is more important and 200 would not have mattered to him inspite of it meaning so much for all his fans.
                After some time,will anyone remember his 175 against aus in the losing cause(we indians are the most fickle minded people)…though personally i think that 175 was a far better innings under the circumstances.
                And following sachin’s interviews from all these years, the century he scored against pakistan in that thrilling test in the losing cause hurts him a lot more than anything else..

                To your hypothetical question…the answer is he would have gone for a boundary and 200 would have meant absolutely nothing for him

            • 4 needed of the last ball and Sachin on 199……..simple answer is he would have gone for the max. Your question although hypothetical unfortunately also questions Sachin’s commitment to the Game and India. After 20 years, over 31500 runs and 93 centuries, doesnt your question seem a bit unfair.

              There are some people out there who always cut an unfair deal when it comes to Sachin. They imagine he plays only for records. The fact is he plays for the country creates records as a by product but there arent good enough contributors around him who could win it for India.

              • Andy,
                If I am being unfair to Sachin, aren’t you being unfair to the Sehwags, Dravids, Gangulys & Kumbles who have won so many matches for India? It’s one thing to praise someone. But, when you do that by denigrating others, it becomes nauseating. That is what the media & his hardcore fans have been doing for years. I have nothing against the man. But, do you think other players can get away with playing nervously in the 90s each and every time? The Boria Mazumdars of the world would have ripped them apart.
                Among international batsmen, I would expect someone with 93 international 100s to be the coolest when he reaches 90s. But, every time he reaches there, he becomes edgy & slows down. Have you ever heard this being discussed? If someone dares to bring that up, it becomes blasphemy.
                And a parting question. Do you think this was the greatest ODI innings ever? How would this compare against Kapil’s 175? In terms of context and significance, that was miles ahead of this. The media has already started hailing this as the greatest ever innings. That would be like calling Aus-SA 434 match as the greatest ODI ever.

                • Hey JII…why to you go with the media hype and reaction…could you being as a logical person and a fan of cricket in general just hear it and leave it at that…(our type of journalism is still not mature enough and give them time it will happen in due course of time)
                  But are you really fair when you doubt sachin’s intention when he has never come up and even said he is greatest player in the world(if something is written in media does it mean sachin also thinks on those lines)
                  Are you not doubting his dedication to indian team for just what is being written everywhere else.
                  To be pragmatic. i don’t regard this as his greatest ever innings even ..he has played many better innings than this which have not resulted in india winning.
                  I am great fan of sachin for years now ,for the sheer inspiration he has given us right from our childhood to excel in what ever field we are with his dedication and love for a game that he likes.
                  To put things into real perspective he is no doubt the greatest ever ODI player.
                  But if you ask me who has played best of innings in tests for india, there is no doubt that Dravid has played those(who is another of the stalwarts in current decade)
                  But that just does not mean sachin has not played any great test innings(It was just a comparative analysis)
                  And no one even doubting the great contribution of the shewag’s,kumble’s and co.

                • wow!! where in all these comments, did u read that anyone was being disrespectful to sehwag, dravid, etc?? the point u make is like saying we cant call federer the best tennis player in the world, as that might be disrespectful to andy roddick and novak djokovic!!! how absolutely absurd!!!
                  and in case you were watching another match in some other planet, in the last 5 overs, tendulkar hardly faced 9 balls…was he itching to get to his “personal” milestone and stop dhoni from hitting all those sixes? NO! but in ur “hypothetical” world, had dhoni failed, tendu wud have gone as he was…which, btw, he was doing even wen with pathan…do u think he wudnt have had the 200 in mind wen at 170? i didnt see him nudge n push the ball then!
                  just shows wat disposable time can do to a brain!!
                  i wud also like to ask wat all these concepts of “personal milestones” mean? does he have a magical machine which converts his runs into money, and takes it away from the team score? which wud explain why those 93 centuries went to his bank account but didnt do anything for the “team”!!
                  oh wait, maybe thats wat happens in the “hypothetical” world that ur little brain has thought up!! LOL

                • This is in response to the comment “Among international batsmen, I would expect someone with 93 international 100s to be the coolest when he reaches 90s. But, every time he reaches there, he becomes edgy & slows down”……..I too did notice the slowdown. In this match he could afford to get 9 of 9 so maybe he did. He is human after all. I would believe if the match situation was different, he would have played more aggressively if required. We just need to go back to his world cup, when he returned to play after his father’s demise, that shows his true colours!!

        • JII

          I see your point about winning being more important. But my contention is that cricket is a sport and not war. It should be all about the joy it gives people. Going by that standard, Sachin reaching that 200 would have given far more pleasure to millions around the world than even I dare say India winning. It might not be you but there are a few million Indians out there who live as Sachin and share his successes as their own. The unfortunate truth is there are very few who feel sad for his failures and many more cruel enough to question his abilities and his contribution.

          Millions consider him God of the game but he considers himself the Servant of the game and that’s his success.

        • JLL excellent point, but I have this for an answer – World Cus can be won every 4 years, this is once in a lifetime achievement dude.

    • Warne’s Twitter is for real, yes. Not all accounts are “verified”. Mine isn’t 🙂 But I cross checked, and it really is Warney at the other end of that piece.

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