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The milestone-man scaling new heights

When Sachin Tendulkar made his Test debut in Pak about 15 years ago, many said he would be one of all-time greats.

india Updated: Mar 17, 2004 15:00 IST

When India's Sachin Tendulkar made his Test debut in Pakistan more than 14 years ago, many observers predicted he would be one of the all-time greats.

The 30-year-old, widely considered to be the best batsman of his generation, has spent his career proving them right as he has passed one milestone after another.

Tendulkar added another landmark to his illustrious list during the second one-day international against Pakistan on Tuesday by becoming the first player to score 13,000 one-day runs and hit 37 centuries.

The achievement came during India's first full tour to Pakistan since 1989-90 and completed the circle on a batting record that can compare with the best in cricket history.

Tendulkar had long wanted to return to Pakistan, where he started his career as a curly-haired 16-year-old with 215 runs in four Tests against the searing pace of Wasim Akram and an upcoming Waqar Younis.

But with political tension between India and Pakistan clouding cricket relations, his only opportunity before the current tour was a three-match one-day series in 1997.

"I'm happy at getting runs in Pakistan, where I started my career," Tendulkar said. "I always wanted to do well here."

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq is second on the all-time one-day list, way back with 9,607 runs. Indian skipper Saurav Ganguly is the second-highest one-day century-maker with 22.

"I didn't know I'd crossed 13,000 runs till after I got out," Tendulkar said.

Not surprising for someone who has made a habit of breaking records and is likely to finish his career as the most prolific batsman in Test history as well.

CLOSING IN

Tendulkar's 9,265 Test runs puts him fourth on the all-time list, behind India's Sunil Gavaskar and former Australian captains Steve Waugh and Allan Border.

He also has 32 Test hundreds, fast closing in on Gavaskar's world record 34.

The reclusive Tendulkar is almost as much a hero in Pakistan as he is in India.

The crowds that packed Karachi and Rawalpindi for the first two one-day internationals were there as much to get a rare glimpse of his master class as to watch the two south Asian neighbours battle it out on the cricket pitch.

Tendulkar's god-like status in India forces him to stay away from the limelight.

He is passionate about sports cars but can only drive late at night for fear of being mobbed.

When he visits a temple near his house in a Bombay suburb, it is always in the wee hours of the morning.

Tendulkar was disappointed his 141 on Tuesday could not ensure an Indian victory, the visitors losing by 12 runs after he had kept them in the hunt for what would have been a world record 330-run chase.

"A hundred is always better when the team wins," he said.

But with the five-match one-day series tied 1-1 and a much-anticipated Test series looming, India will welcome the fact that their best batsman is in prime form.

First Published: Mar 17, 2004 15:00 IST