Can Sachin avenge Sunny?
It will be a double whammy for fans if his 35th century helps India win, writes Sajjan Singh Thakur.Sachin's 10,000 | Indians at Bangalore
Will Bangalore's M Chinnaswamy Stadium witness Sachin Tendulkar create history on the same ground which saw India crumble like nine pins against Pakistan, amid a historic knock by the master-blaster's hero Sunil Gavaskar, way back in 1986-87?
As Tendulkar emerged from his own shadow in Kolkata — after a series of career-threatening injuries in the recent past — playing the trademark shots with elan after ages, focus has again shifted from the also-rans to the best batsman of our time, and probably of all times, in both forms of the game.
The long-waited historic 35th century is due from Tendulkar. It will be a double whammy for his fans, if his 35th hundred sees India beating Pakistan and claim their first series win in 24 years against the arch-rivals on home soil.
If his towering averages — shuffling between 56-59 in Tests — are any indication, he would come out a better all-round player than even Sir Viv Richards and a few notches below Brian Lara (on account of some brilliant fightbacks by the latter in the game's history and those four norm-defying knocks of 277, 375, 400 and 501) when he calls it a day.
Tendulkar's batting average in One-Day Internationals is a rock-solid plus 44, threatening to touch Richards' 47.
Overall, Tendulkar is on the threshold of breaking into the Big 5 of Wisden. The top five in its earlier avatar were: Sir Don Bradman, Sir Gary Sobers, Richards, Jack Hobbs and inimitable Shane Warne. Tendulkar was standing at a not-so-distant seventh place in the all-time list.
So, this time, one is not asking for moon, when one is hoping for a series-defining knock by Tendulkar — a la Richards, Lara — which will also silence his critics always carping him over the issue of "(where are) the winning knocks?".
Series-defining, because, India may have won in Kolkata, but Inzamam-ul-Haq's men will leave no stone unturned to undo the damage and level the series. So, India and Tendulkar must not take things for granted.
Plus, an India-Pakistan Test is never short of miracles and dramas, that Inzamam's men may enact in Bangalore. Pakistani skipper alone is capable of turning the game on its head. So you never know.