Sports Editor, The Hindu
Cricket has witnessed several great feats of batsmanship. But three achievements stand apart for their sheer ability to stagger the mind: Sir Donald Bradman's Test average of 99.94; Brain Lara reclaiming the record for the highest Test score ten years after he first broke it; Sachin Tendulkar's century of international centuries. Each of these satisfies the most stringent test of greatness, longevity. here is radiance undimmed by the passage of time.
But greatness, for all its intense brilliance, cannot survive in a vacuum. It needs chronicling, contexting, Sachin: Tribute to a Legend. is Sachin Tendulkar seen through the eyes of the The Hindu. The following pages catalogue Tendulkar's incredible journey from Manchester to Mirpur, from prodigy to phenomenon. The book contains reports of his hundred hundreds as they appeared in the sports pages next day, excerpted for relevance. We have striven to convey the sparkle of the moment as it was recorded when it came into being, so older readers can experience the familiar delight of nostalgia and newer ones, the excitement of discovery.
Tendulkar arrived on the international scene fully formed as a batsman at just 16, but this isn't to say he didn't evolve. The chronological arrangement of the accounts allows the reader a sense of this evolution. Amidst the many, many memorable centuries, recalled instantly just by the score or the venue it was made at, are less-remembered masterpieces, even the odd anonymous ground-out hundred. a reminder of that line relating genius, inspiration, and perspiration.
Of some interest to the reader will be the relationship between writer and subject: in many cases, the prescience of the writers is astonishing, for they don't just recognise genius they also make remarkably accurate estimations of it; there also are the inevitable instances of genius expanding a writer's imagination, rising above what was thought possible, and the awe and the wonder of it all make for evocative celebratory writing.
The narrative of the hundred hundreds concerns itself primarily with Tendulkar, the batsman. It isn't independent of Tendulkar, the man, for art can't be separated from the artist. But there's more on the private Tendulkar in the collection of interviews sourced from the The Hindu's group of publications (sportstar, Saturday Sports Special). The first interview was conducted after a day spent with Tendulkar in 1992. There's another after 100 tests, and yet another after 20 years of international cricket. Complementing these are a freewheeling chat in 1994 and excerpts of an interaction after he made his 100th hundred. Tendulkar isn't one for sound-bytes, at least not till recently, but he is engaging, honest, and interesting in each of these interviews. The book also has a statistics section and an essay on Tendulkar, the brand.
We trust you will have as much fun reading and revisiting this collector's item from time to time as we had compiling it.
Keywords: Sachin Tendulkar