For more than two generations of Indians, and cricket fans from elsewhere, Sachin Tendulkar is a name that opened doors and hearts wherever you were on the planet. Even in the days before the social media revolution, Sachin was a truly global icon. It didn’t matter if you were in Sydney or South Africa, Kolkata or Kingston, Sachin’s name was a conversation starter.
The teenage wonder who exploded into the global consciousness with his bloodied nose in Pakistan in 1989, before becoming the greatest batting sensation ever, transcended the boundaries of sport. As with Jesse Owens, Ali, Pele and Maradona, Sachin’s role in making Indian cricket a household phenomenon globally can never be underestimated.
It was not just the runs he scored. It was the manner in which he scored them – with matchless flair, scoring 100 international hundreds in the process.
How do we celebrate Sachin on his 50th birthday? The prodigy with the baby voice, scoring hundreds in abundance with the exuberance of the teenager that he was then? The legend who won India many a close encounter? Or the genius around whom a very good Indian side was built in the 1990s?
For a generation of fans who grew up in the 1980s and 90s, it was always Sachin and then daylight. Many of them have also passed on now, but the stories they shared with their children will always remain. On his 50th birthday it is time to add to these stories. The very best from India and beyond on the man they adore.
Boria Majumdar, a Rhodes scholar, is recognized as one of India’s most influential commentators. Having covered international sport between 2000 and 2017, he is currently Consulting Editor, Sport, India Today Group and Senior Research Fellow, University of Central Lancashire. He was formerly Sports Expert at Times Now and Visiting Professor at the Universities of Chicago and Toronto. Majumdar has written more than 1,000 columns on sports over the last fifteen years, and has authored or co-authored multiple books, among them Olympics: The India Story (with Nalin Mehta) and Playing It My Way—Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography.