In less than 45 days Sachin Tendulkar will mark 20 years in international cricket. When you consider how few people have managed to stay in the game that long, leave alone maintain high standards throughout, Tendulkar’s achievement is a massive one. Given how the game has changed taking into account modern-day scheduling, this is one record that is unlikely to be ever matched.
Tendulkar, who made his debut as a 16-year-old in Pakistan on November 15 1989, will fittingly celebrate two decades at the top on the cricket field, in the seven-match home series against Australia. And in that contest he will come up against the one man who has come close to threatening Tendulkar’s statistical monuments, Ricky Ponting.
“Sachin is an amazing, amazing player,” Ponting said, soon after taking his own tally of ODI runs past 12,000.
“You look at his stats and his records, and they are quite incredible. And to think that someone can stay in the game for 20 years is pretty remarkable as well.”
While Tendulkar is some way ahead with nearly 17,000 ODI runs, second on the list is Sanath Jayasuriya, who will also complete two decades in international cricket later this year, on Boxing Day.
“I have always thought of him as the guy that sets the benchmark as far as batting is concerned, and guys like me and the rest just chase and get as close as we can to him,” said Ponting, who stands third in the Test lists behind Tendulkar and Brian Lara.
Assessing Tendulkar’s 20-year journey, Ponting said: “There are a number of innings of his that I have been able to sit back and watch over the years. Congratulations to him for 20 years in the game. If I stay in the game for 20 years, I will probably be batting in a wheelchair by then, so there you go.”