Friday, 16 March 2012


The mountain has been scaled. Sachin Tendulkar has finally scored his 100th international 100. Nobody in the history of cricket has ever done this, and there is a strong chance nobody will ever do it again. It took Mr Tendulkar more than two decades to finish the job, will another player ever have a career that lasts long enough?

First, the context for the century to end all centuries. It was a fairly meaningless ODI encounter in a schedule packed full of meaningless matches. The opposition was lowly Bangladesh. India still lost. This was potentially one of the most futile and pointless centuries scored by a truly great batsman.

And yet, this one is special. Or so it would seem, judging from the fawning coverage on cricinfo. For me, the important centuries were those scored in World Cups, or his fabulous 241* in a test in Sydney. Sometimes Tendulkar had the ability to make batting seem childishly simple. My point is this: This particular century was not one of the greats. Compared to the rest of his innings, it was barely one of the goods. However, let us not forget that over the years Sachin Tendulkar has been a sublime batsman, and there are far more worthy innings to remember him by.

Perhaps it is not so bad that this happened in Bangladesh. The nation is desperately poor, has a young population and is by all accounts crazy about cricket. It will mean a lot to them that a milestone innings such as this was scored in their tournament, on their turf. It seems romantic, but maybe there will be a Bangladeshi kid who was in the crowd at Mirpur and become inspired to try and emulate Sachin. Cricket is nothing without the stories we tell about it, and there will be stories about this innings. Let us hope that there is someone in the Mirpur crowd who will one day say "I was there", as he (or she) brings up their own 100th century.

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