Friday, 25 November 2011

Sachin Tendulkar and the persuit of perfection

Through the vast history of cricket, over the 2000+ test matches that have been played and the countless players to take part in them, there has been one man that has stood head and shoulders ahead of everyone else to have played the game. Sir Don Bradman, cricket's ultimate legend, had a career that nobody else has ever had, or will ever have. Part of the legendary tale of Bradman, however, is the story of his final innings. Needing just four runs to finish with a career average of 100, Don was dismissed for a second ball duck, and with it, an average of 99.94.

For all of the great performances, great victories and great feats that the game offers, at it's heart, cricket is a game of numbers. And it's those statistical quirks that see fifties, centuries and ten-wicket hauls celebrated so resolutely. While there never will be another Bradman, the game of cricket has been lucky enough to be touched by a successor to the throne, Sachin Tendulkar. Of course, Sachin doesn't average 100 either, but the sheer longevity of his high-class career, and the sheer amount of runs that he's scored in international cricket set him aside from his peers also. Sachin is on 99 international centuries, a mark that he's been on since the World Cup this spring. He's fallen twice in the nineties in his search for the elusive hundredth hundred. Today he fell for 94 in his home town of Mumbai, in what would have been the fairytale way to mark an ultimate achievement.

Just as nobody will average 100 in test cricket, nobody will come close to reaching Sachin's mark of 100 international hundreds. But just as Bradman failed to reach the ultimate, wouldn't it be apt if Sachin were to never make it to his goal either? In an odd way, failing to get there would add to Sachin's story, just as it added to Bradman's. If Sachin didn't make it to 100 hundreds, it would prove that the man they call God is actually human after all...

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