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Age 30: Emphatic good-bye to Steve and the 'olive-branch' tour

After having a quiet 2 Tests at home against New Zealand, everyone expected Tendulkar to scores runs heaving when he went to Australia in December. But, all his fans were kept disappointed for the first 3 Test matches after which the floods broke out - a brilliant 241* & 60* from this maestro denied Steve Waugh a win in his last Test match and infact, Tendulkar took the catch to dismiss Steve Waugh in his last Test innings. After 14 years there was Test cricket between India & pakistan in Pakistan when Tendulkar came up with a brilliant 194* at Multan in addition to guiding Sehwag to score the first ever triple ton by an Indian. Later, he took his tally of ODI hundreds to 37 with a maginificent 141 in a losing cause at Rawalpindi.

Age 29: Enjoys his own World Cup but for the final hurdle

Didn't start very well with 2 ducks in 3 innings in West Indies, but got his rhythm in England and his 193 was instrumental in winning the Leeds test. Tendulkar put all his patience in place and scored a match saving 176 in the partnership of VVS Laxman against West Indies at Kolkata.

Sachin Tendulkar got 2 centuries in the NatWest Series which India won and became a real force to reckon with as a team in world cricket. After a poor New Zealand tour, Tendulkar decided to sparkle at the big stage - the World Cup in South Africa. He was the leading run scorer in the World Cup with 673 runs from 11 innings with a murderous 152 against the minnows Namibia. The whole of India enjoyed 98 of those 673 runs more than anything else as it came in the crucial encounter against Pakistan and Tendulkar almost single-handedly took the game away from Pakistan. He, once again, allowed the critics to have a ball by failing in the final run chase at Johannesburg against Australia

Age 28: The lion is trapped in the 'Den'ness

In the shorter version of the game, Tendulkar's genius kept flowing with a flurry of big scores as he took India to the final in both the triangular tournaments they played, only to lose in the final. Tendulkar averaged a whopping 68.46 during this time.

India started to win abroad Test matches at this time and Sachin Tendulkar contributed in both the abroad wins at Bulawayo and Port of Spain . Probably the worst phase of his cricketing life came during this time when he was handed a one match suspended ban from Test cricket, for trying to alter the condition of the ball, by the match referee Mike Denness. The issue created a stir amongst cricket fans and administrators and it forced the 3rd Test against South Africa to become an unofficial Test.

Age 27: A successful hand at spoiling Australia's Final Frontier

Sachin Tendulkar
©AFP

On the Test front, his second double hundred arrived against Zimbabwe at Nagpur but the biggest challenge came soon after when Steve Waugh's men landed in India on their mission to conquer the Final Frontier. Tendulkar was only third in the batting averages but his fourth century in five Tests at Chepauk helped India deliver the killer punch in the decider.

In ODIs, he never got a duck during this year and blasted just (by his standards) three hundreds and also India lost 2 of those matches winning only at Indore against Australia. But, his greatest disappointment would be losing to New Zealand at Kenya in the ICC Knock Out Tournament.

Age 26: Roller-coaster year for Sachin.

Sachin Tendulkar
©AFP

Tendulkar flew back home during the World Cup in England after hearing of the death of his father. He missed the game against Zimbabwe which India contrived to lose but on his return, put his grief behind to smash an unbeaten 140 against Kenya. Although he otherwise had a patchy tournament, Tendulkar went on to become only the third batsman to cross 1000 runs in World Cup cricket.

In July, he was reappointed captain of the Indian team replacing Mohd. Azharuddin. The news came as a bolt from the blue to Tendulkar. He admitted that he was not mentally prepared for the job since it was the usual practise for the vice-captain (then Ajay Jadeja) to step into the skipper's shoes.
   
Sachin Tendulkar
©AFP

Later in the season in October Tendulkar overcame a psychological barrier by scoring his first Test double hundred (217) against New Zealand at Ahmedabad. It was a long time due, coming as it did in his 71st match, and after 20 previous centuries. After the innings his Test average rocketed above 57 for the first time in his career. In the one-day series that followed he pillaged an unbeaten 186 off 150 balls at Hyderabad, an Indian record and only eight runs adrift of the world record held by Saeed Anwar.

After the disastrous tour of Australia, Tendulkar announced on February 20 that he was owning moral responsibility for the debacle and resigning as captain after the two Test series against South Africa. He turned down the captaincy of Mumbai as well, preferring to play under the captaincy of Sameer Dighe in the Ranji Trophy. An unbeaten 233 in the semifinals against Tamil Nadu singlehandedly led Mumbai into the Ranji Trophy final which they won after a gap of three years.

Age 25: Sachin Tendulkar takes the world by storm.

Starts the series with an important personal milestone, scoring a double hundred for Mumbai against the touring Australians. Decimates the Australians in the test series in India. Loses the initiative to Shane Warne in the first innings of the first test at Chennai and is dismissed for 4.

   
Sachin Tendulkar
©CricInfo

As if to wipe out that blemish, Sachin rips into Warne in the second innings right from the first ball. Thrashing him to all parts of the ground, Sachin notched up a chanceless 155. In the second test an allround Indian batting performance bolstered by 79 Tendulkar runs set up a comfortable victory for India. The third test saw Sachin get close to scoring a double hundred with an effort of 177. Missing the landmark by a mere 23 runs, Sachin looked good for a double hundred and more, when he was dismissed. His domination of the Aussie bowlers was so complete, being especially severe on their trump card Shane Warne. This was Tendulkar's series. Man of the series, without much doubt!

Continues to bludgeon the Australian bowling in Sharjah, making 80 off 72 balls. The next time he faced Australia, Sachin smashed 143 off 131 balls including 9 fours and 5 sixes. But the best was reserved for the finals. Scoring 134 off 131 balls including 12 fours and 3 sixes. Notching up back to back hundreds when it mattered the most Sachin was once again the unanimous choice for player of the series.

On to Dhaka for the Wills International Cup. And the Tendulkar run machine rolls on. Again going at the Australians with aggression, Sachin puts them out of the Quarter Finals with a blistering 144, and captures four Australian wickets as well! Makes all the bowling look mediocre. Passes Desmond Haynes record of most centuries in one day internationals. Breaks his own record of scoring the maximum number of runs in a single season.

Scores a fighting, even restrained, hundred against the pumped up Pakistanis. Playing well within himself, despite a bad back, Sachin was the lone strength in an otherwise crumbling Indian batting line up. Unfortunately a lost cause where Sachin played an innings of character and still ended up on the losing side. With his back injury aggravated he missed out on the triangular one day series at home and in Sharjah.

Age 23: Sachin dominates the 1996 World Cup.

Had a phenomenal run in the World Cup scoring two hundreds and amassing the highest runs in the tournament. His valiant efforts in Mumbai (v Australia) , Delhi (v Sri Lanka) and in the semi final at (Calcutta) again v Sri Lanka were all in vain as India lost. Took over the captaincy from Mohammad Azharuddin and led the team to South Africa. Completely outclassed by the South Africans india had but a few highlights in an otherwise dismal tour. Even the blistering 222 run partnership between Tendulkar and Azharuddin at Capetown, rescuing India from the depths of 58/5 didn't go very far in saving face.. He also played a key role in the Standard Bank triangular ODI series where India lost in a closely fought final to South Africa. Sachin led the Indian team to the West Indies. The Indian team however continued to have mixed results and Azhar was reinstated in 1998.

Age 21: Sachin Tendulkar, opening batsman is discovered.

Pushed up the order to open the innings in One Dayers Sachin decimates the Kiwis at Eden Park with a blistering 82 off 49 deliveries. This opened a new era in Indian Cricket with Sachin established as a power opener.

Age 19: Stood tall among the ruins in India's tour of Australia in 1992.

He became the youngest player to score a century on Australian soil with a mammoth 148 at Sydney. He followed up his Sydney performance with a century in Perth, that he rates as his best. He became the first overseas player to represent Yorkshire. Expectations were high and he scored 1000 runs at an average of 46.00 but was not satisfied. " I never got going. Perhaps there was more pressure than I'd first thought. I received a fabulous reception each time I came out to bat and I respect the people of Yorkshire for that. The guys in the dressing room were fantastic, the whole thing was good for my learning curve and I would play county cricket again if asked, but only if it did not encroach on the Indian itinerary."

Sachin's Domestic Records [ Check this out ]

Age 17: Toured England for the first time.

Scored a match saving 119 and became the second youngest player to score a test century. Won the Man of the match award for his efforts. Finished off the series with an average of 61.25

Age 16: Plays first One Dayer for Bombay, scores 103 not out.

First selected to play for India against Pakistan in Pakistan. Established his credentials with a fighting half century against a menacing Pakistani attack comprising Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis,Aaqib Javed and Imran Khan. This made him the youngest person to score a half century in test cricket. Toured New Zealand, made 88 in the 2nd test at Napier in 1989-90 narrowly missing becoming the youngest player to score a test hundred.

Age 15: First class debut for Bombay.

Began with a bang, scoring 100 not out. Only one man in the long, glorious history of Indian cricket has made a hundred on debut in all three of the domestic competitions, the Ranji Trophy, the Duleep Trophy and the Irani Trophy. Not surprisingly, that man is Sachin Tendulkar.

Age 14: Invited by Dilip Vengsarkar to the nets.

Not with Bombay, but with India. At the time,Tendulkar had the sort of average in schools cricket that made people more than sit up and take notice. The average : 1034

Age 13: Scores first century in school's first XI grade.

Sachin played five innings in Schools cricket : 27 not out, 125, 207 not out, 346 not out and of course the famous 329 not out in the finals where he shared an unbroken partnership of 664 with childhood friend and future India team mate Vinod Kambli. Having done his bit with the bat Sachin decided to use himself as an opening bowler. One sharp bouncer and slippery yorker later, the opening batsman was back in the pavilion. That signalled Sachin's approach to the game.

 
 
Should Sachin play more aggressively?
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