Cricket is a sport that has witnessed numerous iconic moments throughout its history. From Kapil Dev’s toothy grin while holding aloft the 1983 World Cup, to Sunil Gavaskar’s late cut off Pakistan’s Ijaz Fakih to become the first Test cricketer to score 10,000 runs, and M.S. Dhoni’s steely eyes and the winning six in the 2011 World Cup final, Indian cricket has gifted us with many classic vignettes. However, on March 16, 2012, a feat of staggering proportions was added to that list – Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th international century. This record stands unique and alone in the sands of time, much like Sir Don Bradman’s Test average of 99.94.
The Long Wait
For cricket fans all over the world, the wait for Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th international century seemed never-ending. The anticipation had been building up for months, with every innings he played being scrutinized for signs of the elusive century. Tendulkar’s drought of centuries lasted a staggering 33 innings, spread across Tests and ODIs played in India, England, and Australia. The pressure was mounting, and even Tendulkar himself admitted to feeling the weight of the expectations. “I tried to insulate myself from the hype, but even the room-service guy used to ask me,” Tendulkar said.
A Glorious Century
Finally, on that bustling Friday in Dhaka’s Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium during the Asia Cup match against Bangladesh, Tendulkar reached the historic milestone. It was 17.05 local time when he nudged Shakib Al Hasan for a single, and the crowd erupted in joy. Tendulkar raised his bat, looked at the skies, removed his helmet, broke into a half-smile, and then embraced Suresh Raina, who rushed in to congratulate the legend. The moment had arrived – Sachin Tendulkar had become the first batsman to register a hundred international centuries.
The hints of merging feverish hopes and pleasant reality were visible in Tendulkar’s confident shots and the easy singles he took on his way to the century. Fortune favored him too, as he survived being stumped on 51 and narrowly avoided being run-out on 89. Tendulkar’s innings of 114 (147 balls, 12×4, 1×6) showcased his mastery of the game and reaffirmed his status as one of the greatest batsmen of all time.
The Impact of the Hundred
Ever since Charles Bannerman scored Test cricket’s first century in 1877, the three-figure mark has defined a batsman’s aura. Sachin Tendulkar’s hundred international centuries elevated him to a league of his own. It is a record that could stand the test of time, considering the changing landscape of modern-day cricket. Batsmen now spread themselves across different formats, focusing on Tests, ODIs, and Twenty20 leagues, which may make it increasingly difficult for anyone to match Tendulkar’s achievement.
A Career of Longevity
Tendulkar’s journey to his 100th international century showcased not only his extraordinary talent but also his longevity in the game of cricket. He walked into the Indian dressing room as a young prodigy in 1989, playing alongside legends like Kapil Dev and Dilip Vengsarkar. Throughout his career, Tendulkar played with players from different generations, forming partnerships with the likes of Virat Kohli and Suresh Raina. His ability to adapt and perform consistently over the years is a testament to his dedication and passion for the game.
A Privilege to Play with Sachin
For his teammates, playing with Sachin Tendulkar was a dream come true. Virat Kohli, who grew up idolizing Tendulkar, expressed his awe and gratitude, saying, “As a kid, I used to go to the Feroz Shah Kotla Stadium to see Sachin play. Then I used to think, ‘if only I can get close to him just once, then I can be on top of the world.’ And now I am playing with him, and it’s truly a privilege.” Tendulkar’s presence in the team inspired and motivated his fellow players, and his commitment to the game served as a guiding light for aspiring cricketers.
The Weight of Expectations
While Tendulkar’s 100th international century brought joy to millions of cricket fans, it also came with its fair share of pressure and expectations. The media hype surrounding the milestone was immense, and Tendulkar admitted that it was beyond anything he had experienced before. He wished he had someone to guide him through the anticipation and acknowledged that records do happen during a player’s long journey in cricket. However, Tendulkar’s main goal was always to perform well for the team and contribute to their success.
A Legacy that Endures
Sachin Tendulkar’s 100th international century solidified his place in cricketing history. With 51 Test hundreds, 49 ODI tons, and the distinction of being cricket’s highest run-getter, Tendulkar’s records are a testament to his unparalleled skill and dedication. However, his hunger to compete and his love for the game remain undiminished. Tendulkar’s influence extends beyond the numbers on the scoreboard. His longevity, humility, and passion for the sport continue to inspire generations of cricketers, leaving a lasting legacy for Indian cricket and the game as a whole.
March 16, 2012, will forever be etched in the annals of cricket history as the day Sachin Tendulkar achieved the unthinkable – his 100th international century. The long wait, the mounting pressure, and the weight of expectations only added to the significance of this milestone. Tendulkar’s century not only showcased his extraordinary talent but also highlighted his longevity and dedication to the game. As we reflect on this iconic moment, we can’t help but marvel at the impact Sachin Tendulkar had on Indian cricket and the lasting legacy he leaves behind. His records may be broken one day, but the impact of his achievements will endure for generations to come.
“It was a relief. I am also human and I have my emotions. I don’t play for records, but they do happen during your long journey of playing cricket. I want to do well for the team, and that has been the main goal.” – Sachin Tendulkar