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Richly deserved honor for Tendulkar
by Gulu Ezekiel
Jan 26, 2008
By Gulu Ezekiel - Dreamcricket Columnist

The Padma Vibhushan award given to Sachin Tendulkar is richly deserved, as it is in the case of world chess champion Vishwanathan Anand.

The timing could not be better as Tendulkar is currently in the form of his life in the Test series Down Under which in terms of runs is the most successful of his career. It is remarkable that he should achieve this feat in the 20th year of his Test career, that too despite all the debilitating injuries he has had to fight off over the last decade.

It is this insatiable appetite for cricket, fuelled by his boyish enthusiasm that has allowed Tendulkar to continue at the top of the game for so long.

Already he has hinted that this may not be his final tour of Australia. That means he has his eyes set on 2011 when India visit again and which will also be the year of the World Cup to be staged in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

It is his final ambition to add a World Cup triumph to his glittering array of awards and honours and his best chance will come at home in three years time.

Even though at the time of last year’s World Cup it looked like he was running out of steam in ODIs, he has since reeled off a remarkable spate of 90s that have both cheered and depressed his fans.

Now on his fourth tour to Australia, Tendulkar’s form has been awesome in the Test series and there was an air of inevitability about his centuries at Sydney and Adelaide that are the mark of a master.

Outside of India it is the Australians to whom he remains the most cherished icon and to watch the non-Indian portions of crowds greet him at every ground has been a sight for sore eyes.

Despite all the unfortunate bitterness on this tour, it proves that the true-blue Aussie fan appreciates good cricket first and foremost.

Apart from the tons of runs—80 international centuries is a mind-boggling feat—it is Tendulkar’s ability to stay above the often tawdry hurly-burly of Indian cricket that makes him extra special and ensures a special place in the hearts of cricket fans around the world.

Arguably the biggest cricket stars of this generation have been Tendulkar, Shane Warne and Brian Lara.

Masterly as they have been at their craft, both the Australian and the West Indian have led soap-opera like lives, certainly not the type of example that would lead to speculation of a knighthood from the British Prime Minister.

Back in the early ‘90s, appearing on a TV show hosted by his batting predecessor Sunil Gavaskar, the young Sachin was told by Gavaskar that he would personally throttle him if he failed to score 40 Test centuries.

Sunny will be delighted that his prediction made so many years ago is on the verge of being fulfilled—just one more ton to go!

It’s been a long and magnificent journey and thankfully for Indian cricket, the end is not yet in sight.

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