Iconic batsman Sachin Tendulkar turned 37 on Saturday at a time when Indian cricket has been plunged into one of its worst crisis ever with the IPL controversy showing no sign of relenting.
The Mumbai India batsman got a perfect birthday gift on Friday when he was adjudged the best batsman of IPL III in an award function.
However, Tendulkar will have to put his birthday celebrations on hold as he has some unfinished task to complete in the IPL final tomorrow.
The tournament's most prolific batsman, Tendulkar, has 570 runs in his kitty from 14 matches with five fifties and beat competitions from Royal Challengers' batsmen Jacques Kallis (553 runs from 15) and Robin Uthappa (374 from 15) and Chennai Super King's Suresh Raina (463 from 15) and Murali Vijay (432 from 14) for the Jury Award for best batsman.
With his coruscating show with the bat, he has led Mumbai Indians to the IPL summit clash for the first time in three attempts and could give himself a perfect birthday gift by laying hands on the winners' trophy tomorrow.
The maestro is, however, struggling hard to get fit after splitting his right hand webbing during the semifinals. Fans are keeping their fingers crossed that he is declared fit to play the final tomorrow.
Tendulkar's 37th birthday comes as BCCI and the IPL battle allegations of corruption and betting. IPL Commissioner Lalit Modi is in fact, facing the possibility of being shunted out of the event which was his brainchild.
But with their splendid show, Tendulkar's Mumbai Indians have shown that the controversy -- which has found an echo in the Parliament of the country as well-- has not diminished their spirits and when on field they care for nothing but cricket.
Tendulkar has been in phenomenal form which has made cricket fans around the world wonder what makes him tick on the cricket field with such consistency even after 20 years of virtually non-stop play at the international level.
And to top it all, not a whiff of the scandals that have enveloped the sport in the duration of his incredible career has besmirched his name.
Just when people started writing epitaph on his career, his heavy bat boomed with a huge bang in all three forms of the game –- Tests, One-Day Internationals and in the IPL -- to silence them.
Test debut - 15 November, 1989 v Pakistan
ODI debut - 18 December, 1989 v Pakistan
* He was involved in an unbroken 664-run partnership in a Lord Harris Shield inter-school game in 1988 with friend and team mate Vinod Kambli.
* On his Test debut, Sachin Tendulkar was the third youngest debutant (16y 205d).
* Tendulkar holds the record for the highest individual score in a one day international when he scored 200 not out breaking the previous record of 194 by Saeed Anwar.
* First player to reach 10,000-11,000-12,000-13,000-14,000-15,000, 16,000 and 17,000 ODI runs.
* Holds the record for scoring 1,000 ODI runs in a calendar year. He has done it seven times.
* After Sachin crossed the 10,000-run mark in ODIs, only seven other players have managed to cross the milestone: (Sanath Jayasuriya, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid, Ricky Ponting, Brian Lara, Inzamam ul Haq, and Jacques Kallis).
* Highest run scorer in the history of Test cricket with 13447 Test runs.
* Became the first Indian to surpass the 11,000 Test run mark and the third International player behind Allan Border and Brian Lara.
* First player to reach 12,000-13,000 Test runs in Tests.
* Highest number of Test centuries(47), overtaking Sunil Gavaskar's record (34) on 10 December 2005 vs Sri Lanka in Delhi. Ricky Ponting has 39 centuries to his credit and Brian Lara has scored 34 Test Centuries