Sachin Tendulkar is god. I would have upper-cased ‘god’ if he had done either of two things: scored his bloody 100th international century sooner, or against a better side.
Now, don't get me wrong. He's the best cricketer that the world has ever known. Actually, come to think of it, he's the most brilliant human to have ever walked on the face of this planet — and I'm not being biased here. But to leave fans like me dangling for one year and three days — 368 days for people like Harsha Bhogle who are better with figures and haircare than I'll ever be — is a travesty. Or as Sir Donald Bradman-ji, if he was still alive, would have said, “a bloody travesty”.
Tendulkar's last century came against South Africa on March 12, 2011, at Nagpur during the World Cup. I suspect something that I have never aired before. Regardless of how much I hold him in the highest of regards, I can't help but think that my unemployed (and unemployable) uncle was right when he told me some five months ago that Sachin was consciously avoiding scoring his 100th hundred.
No, not because of some H-grade non-item number Bollywood lady hanging around outside the Indian dressing room and then introducing Tendulkar to some bookie-type. Sachin is no rookie-type! He consciously may have postponed the 100th century to keep retirement plans at bay as long as possible. For let's be honest, he's hardly the divine being with his bat that he once was. After all, he hasn't scored a century for a year. And as he said after Friday's match: it's selfish to retire when you're at the top of your game. How's that for humility? And a stick in the eye for Rahul Dravid who should have kept playing for another ten years weren't it for his selfishness.
As for the second reason why I've demoted Sachin from God to god — he's reached the landmark against... er, Bangladesh. Taking a single off Shakib Al Hasan on the 138th delivery he faced in an innings with 10 boundaries and one over-boundary leaves me — now what's the word? — underwhelmed. But I guess I should thank my lucky stars that an increasingly nervous BCCI, worried about Sachin not scoring his 100th hundred before the next leap year sets in, didn't announce a 'historic' one-day series between India and Holland. Sachin scoring his 100th hundred against a delivery from Ryan ten Doeschate would have been a bit hard to digest. It would have still made front page news everywhere though.
To be fair to the man himself, Sachin stated after reaching the mark in Dhaka that the 100th century business was a “media creation”. I believe him because he's still great, he's still god. I must have missed all the news reports in which he kept telling reporters ever since he scored his 99th century in Nagpur that reaching his 100th century was not a big deal.
In any case, I'm all excited about Sachin scoring his 50th one-day international century against Pakistan in Dhaka today. Friday's 100 was his 49th. So let's all hold our breath for that big landmark now, shall we? So what if, like Friday against Bangladesh, India loses the match today.