The longest-serving current international cricketer Sachin Tendulkar turned 35 yesterday, claiming he was feeling as excited and enthusiastic about the game as he did on debut 19 years ago.
The record-breaking batsman, considered an icon in his native India and around the world, dismissed any suggestions of calling it a day despite being dogged by injuries in recent years.
“I am enjoying my cricket at the moment and don’t want to think too much about the future,” said Tendulkar, currently recovering from a groin injury.
“I have been playing almost non-stop for 20 years and want to focus only on the present. I prefer to take it series by series.”
Tendulkar, who made his international debut in 1989, needs just 172 more runs to overtake retired West Indian Brian Lara as Test cricket’s leading run-scorer (The star batsman, was 11,782 runs from 147 Tests).
Tendulkar is already the world’s top one-day international batsman with 16,361 runs and holds the world records of 39 Test and 42 one-day centuries.
Rich tributes poured in from Australia’s Shane Warne and Ricky Ponting, and India’s Mahendra Singh Dhoni as Tendulkar celebrated the day with his Mumbai team-mates and family. “We may have to wait for many, many years to have another player like him,” said Warne, the retired Australian leg-spin genius whose on-field duels with Tendulkar were legendary.
“I feel Lara and Sachin are the best batsmen of recent times, but I rate Sachin the best, not only because of his amazing ability, but also because of the exemplary manner in which he conducts himself on and off the field.
“He is a wonderful guy. Naturally and exceptionally talented, affectionate and always smiling. I feel Sachin is truly great because he is disciplined, co-operative, naturally talented and a dedicated player.
“He should be allowed to continue till he wants to.”
Dhoni said Tendulkar was “the special guy made by God to play cricket at its best.”
Australia skipper Ponting recently said his bowlers had to put in an extra effort to get rid of Tendulkar because he had always looked solid.
“At different times, we’ve worked out different plans, but Sachin comes up with something to combat them… the sign of a truly class player.” (AFP)
It’s mumbai against Punjab
Preity Zinta’s Kings XI Punjab take on the Mumbai Indians at Mohali today.
Zinta has not had the awe-inspiring success with her team that fellow Bollywood star Shah Rukh Khan has had with his, and the Kings XI are yet to notch up a win.
Mumbai on the other hand are in good form, but have lost both their matches in close encounters – losing to Chennai by six runs in their last game.
Sanath Jayasuriya and Robin Uthappa are explosive with the bat, while experienced all-rounder Shaun Pollock and Dwayne Bravo have also moved up the order to provide a support role.
The one setback for the Mumbai team is that Sachin Tendulkar has not yet recovered from his groin injury.
The Kings XI boast a powerful bowling line-up boosted by Australian speedster Brett Lee and Sreesanth, with Irfan Pathan and James Hopes providing support roles.
It is set to be a battle of Mumbai’s batsmen against Kings XI bowlers. (AFP)