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A landmark ton
Sachin Tendulkar's 50th Test century is unarguably one of the greatest feats in the history of cricket. It generated buzz even in countries where the sport is not popular. Huw Richards of The New York Times wrote: "It was a significant moment for cricket as a whole. Cricket as a game thinks in fifties and hundreds and applauds when players reach those marks. Until recently it was unthinkable that any one man might score as many as 50 centuries in tests. Tendulkar not only met the old record, 34, set by his Indian compatriot, Sunil Gavasker, he smashed it. One more and he'll have exceeded the original mark by 50 percent. It appears unlikely, barring some implausible explosion in the number of the matches or the emergence of an authentic Superman, that we will ever see the next step, somebody scoring 100 centuries in tests, and that makes Tendulkar's mark of 50 a truly special moment. "
Of course, in the cricketing world the milestone was lauded by all. An editorial in Pakistan's Daily Times praised the master blaster in clear terms. "He truly announced his arrival to the world when he scored his first Test century in a match-saving innings at Old Trafford at the tender age of 17. Sachin Tendulkar has been able to score in all parts of the world and in all conditions. Unlike most modern batsmen, he does not play any predetermined shots, but rather plays every ball on merit. There is no apparent chink in his armour. His concentration is second to none. The two features that set him apart from all other players is his selflessness for the team and his never-ending hunger to score more runs. "
Suresh Menon compares Tendulkar to other greats like Edmund Hilary and Neil Armtrong in his article on BBC. com. Menon writes: "It is tempting to assume that, statistically at least, batting after Sachin Tendulkar will be like mountaineering after Everest. History always remembers the first to a landmark. Edmund Hillary, Roger Bannister, Neil Armstrong. Even if someone betters his record, no one can take credit away from Tendulkar for being the first to make 50 Test centuries. But is he the greatest batsman of all time? Bigger and better? The glib answer first. Yes. Because it is in the nature of sport to produce bigger and better champions. In sports where progress can be measured, this is seen in the faster timings, longer jumps and greater heights recorded by modern athletes. After 50, what? A hundred international centuries (Tendulkar has 96), perhaps a World Cup win, maybe 200 Test matches? Tendulkar has become used to those setting goals on his behalf moving the goalpost as he achieves these with almost monotonous inevitability. "
An editorial in Dawn expanded a similar note. "Putting Sachin Tendulkar's latest feat in a strictly cricketing context would not be fair to the sportsman. His achievements in the world of cricket need to be seen on a par with efforts in any field - science, art, literature, etcetera - to push the frontiers of human excellence. He has no more points to prove to anyone. It has been a privilege to watch Sachin Tendulkar demonstrate his remarkable skills. There is hardly anyone who would disagree with this, especially as his talent on the field has been observed for several years now. Today, it is just about celebrating a cricketing giant who goes by the name of Sachin Tendulkar. "
The Aussies were just as eloquent in showering praise on the Little Master. The Sydney Morning Herald declared that Tendulkar's 50th ton has reignited the who's-thegreatest-cricketer debate. "Is it India's 37-year-old Little Master, or Australia's late, great Sir Donald Bradman? Or is it even fair or realistic to compare these two men from very different eras? Bradman scored 29 centuries from 80 innings at the unparalleled conversion rate of a ton every 2. 76 innings. Second best is Tendulkar's 50 centuries from 286 innings, or one every 5. 72 innings. Then there are the averages. Bradman's Test mark of 99. 94 stands like a beacon among cricketing statistics, although Tendulkar's 56. 89 is none too shabby. The debate goes beyond numbers. Bradman, for example, played on uncovered wickets, Tendulkar on covered ones. Bradman played Tests in only two countries, Tendulkar in 10. Bradman played through a depression and a war, Tendulkar with the expectation of a billion people upon his shoulders. Bradman's bats had a comparatively tiny sweet spot to Tendulkar's railway sweepers. And Bradman never had to play limited-overs cricket, while Tendulkar has represented India in an astounding 442 one-day internationals. "
Mike Coward continued the debate in The Australian. In an opinion piece he says that earlier it would be considered intemperate to compare Tendulkar with Don Bradman but this is not the case any more. After all, Bradman admired the way Tendulkar plays, believing he could see something of himself in the Little Master's technique and temperament. Those who regret not seeing Bradman at the crease should acknowledge the honour and pleasure of seeing Tendulkar. For it truly is a privilege. "
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