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Sitting at 15th floor of the Hyatt regency in Dallas, with a night view of the city scrapers in the background, the only thing that flashes is nostalgia. The feeling of growing up, adoring and tirelessly following a true champion in Tendulkar. Suddenly, he is taking one last walk to the 22 yard strip, a test match at his home turf in Mumbai. It must be emotional for many and I for sure cannot hold my tears. It is only a retirement, but wait no. It has been our life in some ways.

Today may well be his last innings with cricket bat in a test match. Stamp of vintage Tendulkar was seen yesterday. Let us hope that he adds a few more of his straight drives and cover drives today.  Never have a farewell touched this close. He was not just a hero, but a pride and a part of my growing up. As he walks to the sunset of a glittering career, a part of me fades from the horizon as well.  The timeless thing of our life, prepares to turn the page! Oh dear life, we have crossed two decades!

“One man, two hundred!” was the caption, BBC world news displayed, while broadcasting the (breaking out) news of the world record hit by India’s super star player Sachin Tendulkar.  It was against a formidable South African bowling attack in a one day international cricket match at Gwalior, the little master decided to showcase his fabulous reportoire of pure shot making on a cricket pitch. He has done it so many times in the past, but yesterday was a day when history book needed a fresh page. The first man to score 200 runs in a single innings of a 50 over match is stamped with the name Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar. What a feat from a great crciketer and amazing human being!

Times has published a truly nice article commemorating this new record. Cricket is not wideley popular in all parts of the globe. The United States is not among the cricket frenzy nation either. England and her former colonies are the main countries where the game took the center stage over many years. As for records, cricket is the second most popular game in the planet, after soccer. The article hence put the new feat in perspective for the non-cricketing community. Come to think of this record, we must realize that 200 runs need to be scrored from a maximum of 300 deliveries (excepting illegal deliveries such as no balls). On the average one batsman can hope to get about 150 deliveries. In baseball analogy, this is equivalent to getting 150 pitches. It seldom happens that one get more than this. That means, one will have to consistently hit the balls at a rate exceeding 100% strike rate. Tendulkar achieved the score in 147 balls, at a strike rate of 136.5%. It calls for multiple virtues including patience, stamina, focus and talent. All have to be combined and score runs at a faster rate.  It is not easy, by any means. It was something fabulous if not more. There have been scores close to 200 in the past by great cricketers including that from Tendulkar’s previous outings, but this one will go down as the best, literally because this came against a top quality bowling attack and a formidable fielding unit of the protease.

Here is the list of the top ODI scores.

SR Tendulkar 200* 147 25 3 136.05 India v South Africa Gwalior 24 Feb 2010 ODI # 2962
CK Coventry 194* 156 16 7 124.35 Zimbabwe v Bangladesh Bulawayo 16 Aug 2009 ODI # 2873
Saeed Anwar 194 146 22 5 132.87 Pakistan v India Chennai 21 May 1997 ODI # 1209
IVA Richards 189* 170 21 5 111.17 West Indies v England Manchester 31 May 1984 ODI # 264
ST Jayasuriya 189 161 21 4 117.39 Sri Lanka v India Sharjah 29 Oct 2000 ODI # 1652
G Kirsten 188* 159 13 4 118.23 South Africa v U.A.E. Rawalpindi 16 Feb 1996 ODI # 1049
SR Tendulkar 186* 150 20 3 124.00 India v New Zealand Hyderabad (Deccan) 8 Nov 1999 ODI # 1523
MS Dhoni 183* 145 15 10 126.20 India v Sri Lanka Jaipur 31 Oct 2005 ODI # 2290
SC Ganguly 183 158 17 7 115.82 India v Sri Lanka Taunton 26 May 1999 ODI # 1463
ML Hayden 181* 166 11 10 109.03 Australia v New Zealand Hamilton 20 Feb 2007 ODI # 2527
IVA Richards 181 125 16 7 144.80 West Indies v Sri Lanka Karachi 13 Oct 1987 ODI # 457

Among them, Richards 189 against the then England may be the one comes closest in terms of quality of opposition bowling. Syed Anwar’s 194 against India is also a glorious innings played by the elegant left hander against India at Chennai. But neither Engalnd nor India will claim to have a strong fielding mastery when compared to the South African unit. So Tendulkar’s new innings clearly own special merit.

It is difficult to comprehend the stardom associated with a five foot tall man. To know this all, one need to be in India. Tendulkar earns the respect of close to a billion souls in India alone. Expectations are at levels beyond one can associate to any moving object. No parallels, really. Every time he goes to bat,  millions glue to the television sets (and now internet).  Social hierarchy still exist at large in Indian lsociety. Religion and politics still separates people. People fight for reasons less than logical, but in the name of religion and castes. It sometimes goes beyond what civilized society can comprehend. The difference between rich and poor is startling. But nothing of that

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