- His baptism into the world of cricket in Pakistan 1989; facing the fearsome foursome- Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Abdul Qadir
- His heartbreak on missing his first test hundred Vs NZ,1990 when he got out at 88
- His joy on getting his first test hundred at Old Trafford,1990 that helped India draw the match
- His emergence as one of the world’s best when he made the whole world sit up and take notice of him, through his two scintillating knocks on the tour down under in 91-92. The II4 at Perth, then what was the fastest track in the world, a terror for batsman, will be etched in memory forever
- His run-out in the first test at Durban, 1992. That made him the first batsman in the history of test-cricket to be given out by the third umpire.
- Two hundreds in 1996 series in England, the series that saw the emergence of two stars who would be his men-in-arms for the years to follow.
- The 169 Vs SA, 1996 . The fantastic partnership with Azhar. What a counter-attack! I can never forget his reaction when Adam Bacher plucked the ball out of thin air. He simply refused to budge from the pitch.
- The attack on Shane Warne in the 1998 series at home. The first round at Chennai went to Warne. He knew he had hurried too fast in the first innings. What we saw in the second innings was a calculated assault. Eden saw a glimpse of the brilliance followed by a masterful 177 at Bangalore. His best year ever, in international cricket.
- Finally in 1999 his wait ended. It took him 79 ODIs to wait for his first century, and a nice 10 years to get his double in test-cricket. He finally achieved it on home soil in Ahmedabad Vs NZ,1999. A fine knock of 217.
- But then came the slump. The forgettable 1999 Aus Tour , the series loss at home to SA, 2000, and the test loss to Pakistan at Chennai,1999. Though he remained his consistent self, as a captain it was shattering; especially the 136 at Chennai. Fighting all odds, a stinging back-pain, and seeing the last 4 wickets failing to make the 16 runs left. That was one hell of a heart-wrenching match. For the first time I think he cried and was open about it. I think it still hurts him.
- He came around it though to make amends, back to his favourite hunting ground. 125 Vs Aus in Chennai, 2001, was as priceless as any other knock of his.
- His 34th century was not Vs an opponent he would have fancied, but nevertheless it was a milestone. He came close to the record breaking one against Pak in the series at home earlier this year but it was not to be; sometimes God has been pretty cruel to him, and some records have not come his way that soon or easy
- Finally he achieved his record-breaking century in his 125th test match. His reaction was one we rarely see him express. He punched his fist when he was in the middle of the pitch, off came the helmet , hands and bat raised, and kept looking up to the heavens, the bat came down to his chest, a kiss on the bat and there was so much relief and happiness. He had really waited for this moment for long. The whole stadium and the entire nation had erupted to celebrate this moment.
It was a well paced innings. He started a little edgy but settled in slowly and as he went on to play a little longer he accelerated really well. The three fours of Murali in an over were just the same as he played in his old days; the cheekiness and the confidence was back.
When he made his debut; almost everyone who saw him predicted his greatness. It takes something to live up to all those expectations. There are still some complaints about him, but I’ll keep that aside. It takes a genius to sustain the consistency for 16 long years and yet, he is not finished with the game. He is back with a renewed vigor and more lies in store.
He has kept his promise with the nation 16 years down the line; after he started out as a 16 year-old prodigy. Yes, Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar, we would simply like to take a bow for providing us such fine moments to be proud of, may you give us some more.
We simply don’t seem to have enough!