He’s a genius, a Trojan, a maniac: Richards
Mumbai, Mar 18: Sachin Tendulkar’s century of centuries, scored at Mirpur against Bangladesh in the ongoing Asia Cup, has unleashed a deluge of tributes from around the cricketing world. His 100th international ton came a little over a year after his 99th, scored against South Africa at the ICC World Cup 2011. But to fans, well-wishers and the media, it seems like a lifetime has lapsed between those two hundreds.
Here’s a sampling of some of the messages of congratulations that have come pouring in for the masterful Tendulkar.
Rahul Dravid, longtime teammate of Sachin, who recently retired from international cricket, said, "What stands out in an exceptional career of unbelievable achievements is Sachin Tendulkar's ability to change, adapt and mould his batting according to the conditions around him. What makes him a phenomenal player is that he has done so many things, be it scoring the highest number of Test and one-day runs or scoring a century of international centuries.
"What he has done is set a benchmark for future generations which, probably, would be almost impossible for anyone to emulate. He has created a new milestone, which to my mind, is like Don Bradman's average of 99.94, the most memorable feat that any cricketer has achieved.
"Like overtaking Bradman's average appears almost impossible today, Sachin's century feat too will in all probability stay forever," he added.
Viv Richards, who had a few days ago appealed to people to leave the master batsman alone, said, "I believe Sir Donald Bradman is the greatest of them all, but seeing Tendulkar bat, I can say that when he is in top flight, in a variety of conditions, I have seen the best.
"He has been a genius when it comes to ability, a Trojan when it comes to work ethic and manic when it comes to his focus. Yet we often miss the little things that make him both human and exceptional", Richards said.
"As a sportsman, I know how damaging an injury can be. For a batsman, an elbow injury and corrective surgery could be akin to a professional death knell. But the way Sachin overcame those setbacks and played at the highest level with unmatched distinction is special", he said.
Richards felt Tendulkar had earned the right to decide when he should retire.
"Friday's century was a testimony to Sachin Tendulkar's self belief and his unwavering focus. Many of his contemporaries who were spoken of in the same breath did not have the hunger and focus, which is why Sachin stands alone at the summit.
"And let it not be forgotten that he is no dour batsman; he still plays thrilling shots and has entertained more fans than any batsman has in the history of the game. All this with humility, bearing the burden of his team's batting and the expectations of his millions of fans," he said.
"I think Sachin has earned the right to decide when exactly he wants to put down his bat. He is a mature and sensible individual and more importantly, a very proud cricketer. He is not going to continue if he feels he is not performing up to his standards," Richards added.
"...I guess chant today goes Sacccchiiiinnnn, Sachhhhhhiiiinnn.. Hmmm I have been chanting that for twenty years," another Indian sports legend, tennis player Mahesh Bhupathi wrote on Twitter.
"Congrats to Sachin on reaching his 100th international 100 – just awesome buddy. Please press no retirement Q'S and let Sachin enjoy the moment," legendary Australian spinner Shane Warne tweeted.
"Just woke up to the wonderful news that Sachin has made that century. Great player and wonderful ambassador for our great game," Tony Greig said.
"Well played Sachin the little master...!!!" said legendary all-rounder Ian Botham.
"Seriously has anyone actually thought about what Sachin has done here?? 100 100's!!!! Absolutely unbelievable.. Batters dream!" Kevin Pietersen gushed.
"The skill, the tenacity and the competitive urge still flows freely through the veins of Tendulkar. He seemed destined to conquer the batting Mount Everest from the moment it was said about him as at the age of 17, Tendulkar scored his first Test century at Old Trafford," former Australia captain Ian Chappell said in appreciation of Sachin.
"The fact that Tendulkar has handled fame so well and maintained an attacking outlook throughout is a tribute to not only his skill but also his wonderfully alert mind.
"Considering the length of his career and the fact that he was able to renew his attacking desires, I would now rate Tendulkar slightly ahead of Brian Lara and comfortably in front of a fading Ricky Ponting,” he said.
"Sachin is a player by which all others are measured over the last 10-15 years, and for him to go out and get a hundred hundreds is an amazing achievement without precedent – it's unlikely to be achieved again," England Test captain Andrew Strauss told 'BBC Sports'.
"Don Bradman is sometimes remembered, unfairly, as the batsman who did not quite average 100 in Test cricket. And there was a danger, as we all waited for Sachin Tendulkar to reach three figures again, that he would be remembered for the one international century he did not score, rather than the 99 he did. That would have been a shame – and completely unjust," Former England captain Nasser Hussain said.
"You could tell after he tucked that single off his pads on Friday in Dhaka how much it meant to him. He's been criticised in the past for being a closed book, a guy who doesn't show his feelings too easily. But you could see the more human side of him after he took his helmet off to celebrate," he added.
"...he's done it and no one can ever take the achievement away. Finally, he can move on. The mother of all monkeys has been removed," Hussain said, summing up the feelings of the entire cricketing fraternity.