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banner Saturday, 31 March, 2001, 17:37 GMT 18:37 UK
Tendulkar: On top of the world
Sachin Tendulkar
Run machine: Sachin Tendulkar
by BBC Sport Online's Robin Scott-Elliot

Cricket is a sport that devours records, statistics and landmarks. And perhaps more than in any other sport they carry real meaning and relevance.

"I am a stats man," said England captain Nasser Hussain, playing down his side's chances of beating Australia this summer by referring to the old rivals' record.

If he wants to succeed against the Aussies, Hussain would be well advised to seek the advice of the world's current greatest player.

  Tendulkar in Tests
Runs: 6720
Hundreds: 25
Fifties: 26
Highest score: 217
Average: 56.94

As a stats man, Hussain cannot fail to be impressed, very impressed with the record of Sachin Tendulkar and most notably against the Australians.

The Little Master, Master Blaster, Smashin' Sachin, The King, whatever his legions of admirers label him, the most relevant tag is that he is the best. And the statistics brook no argument.

He has just become the first player to score 10,000 runs in one-day internationals in the course of plundering his 28th one-day century. No-one has scored more runs or centuries in this form of the game.

His record in 82 Test matches and 266 one-day internationals is phenomenal, or as one Indian writer put it "bloody phenomenal".

The consistency is staggering. He averages in the high 50s in Tests and in the 40s in the abbreviated form of the game.

Sachin Tendulkar
The centre of attention

It was the 78th time he has passed 50 in one days. He has done it 51 times in Test matches and in more than half of those he has gone on to make a century.

Tendulkar is still only 27 - he could conceivably play at the highest level for another 10 years. It is frightening to think what he might achieve.

Born in Bombay, Tendulkar was 16 when he became India's youngest Test debutant.

There is not an obvious fault to his game. He has the iron wrists of all Indian greats, but also pulls and hooks confidently while his driving is immaculate.

From the very beginning something special was expected from him. As a schoolboy he once shared in a 600-run partnership with Vinod Kambli and it would have been more if their teacher had not instructed them to retire. Tendulkar's share was 326 and boosted his average for that season into four, yes four, figures.

He made his club debut at the age of 12 and the bandwagon gathered pace and passengers at a frightening rate in the four intervening years.

Sachin Tendulkar
Tendulkar in his first Test

It did not take long for him to achieve superstar status and it came before he was out of his teens. It was Boyzone meets David Beckham and intensified by 10. Everywhere he went he was, and still is, mobbed by adoring fans.

"That is a normal life," he has said. "It has been like that since I was 16."

By the time he turned 20 he already had five Test centuries to his name. The first came at Old Trafford in 1990 as this diminutive youngster defied a dominant England seam attack in alien conditions.

He has continued as he began. Runs have come whereever he has played. He has scored centuries on the pace of Perth, the unpredictability of Edgbaston and the stodge of Wellington as well, of course, as on the dry, dusty surfaces of home

  Tendulkar in ODIs
Runs: 10,105
Hundreds: 28
Fifties: 50
Highest score: 186 not out
Average: 42.82

More than half his Test hundreds have come away from home and six of them have been against Australia.

To succeed against Australia is the benchmark of success in Tendulkar's era. They are the outstanding side and his record against them stands out.

He was overshadowed in the current series by Laxman and Dravid, yet it is a measure of the man that he still averaged over 50. He has played more Tests against Australia than any other country, 28, and that average remains over 50.

The one-day series has seen him back in his rightful place. No player has succeeded like him in both forms of the game as he appears to move seamlessly between the two disciplines.

Sachin Tendulkar
Schoolboy prodigy

His best of 186 not out - from 150 balls - against New Zealand is the highest one-day international score by an Indian.

The form of Dravid and Laxman will be welcome for Tendulkar as it does relieve some of the immense burden he carries, the hopes of a nation over a billion strong.

Tendulkar's worth to India was never better demonstrated than in the 1996 World Cup. The country were co-hosts and the nation demanded a home triumph.

There was an outpouring of anger when they went out to Sri Lanka in the semi finals, but none directed at Tendulkar. Instead he was more revered than ever.

In India's seven games he scored 523 runs which amounted for a stunning 34% of the runs the entire team managed.

The only blot in Tendulkar's career are his two spells as captain. Neither the team nor he, by his standards, were particularly successful.

He has said he would not be averse to returning to the role and given his relative youth, he is likely to be given another chance at some stage.

Sachin Tendulkar
Tendulkar at the 1999 World Cup

A return to county cricket is less probable. That was another area where he felt he did not live up to his standards.

In 1992, when still a teenager, he became Yorkshire's first ever overseas player. 1,000 runs, an average of 46 and a county charmed would have staisfied most.

Tendulkar is a man with higher standards than most, but even he declared a measure of satisfaction with his 10,000th run.

"I could not have asked for more," he said afterwards.

But he expects more and he will get more runs - no doubt many more - to keep the stats men happy for sometime to come.

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See also:

31 Mar 01 |  India v Australia
Tendulkar left satisfied
31 Mar 01 |  India v Australia
Tendulkar reaches 10,000 runs
15 Mar 01 |  India v Australia
Incredible India defeat Aussies
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