I had written in my column a few weeks ago that critics and commentators will soon run out of adjectives to describe Sachin Tendulkar. After his devastating innings yesterday, this has become even more exruciating, and I would like to keep things simple by stating that he is the icon of his generation.
This was one of the greatest one-day innings of all time --to be ranked with Kapil Dev's 175 against Zimbabwe in the 1983 World Cup, Viv Richard's 189 against England at Old Trafford in 1984 and Javed Miandad's 116 against us at Sharjah. I had the privilege of watching all these innings and am convinced that Tendulkar's 142 was not a whit behind.
His innings yesterday bore the stamp of the best Indian batsmen I have seen in the last 20 years. It had technical brilliance, superb balance, splendid timing, great judgement of length, tremendous stamina and above all the fierce competitive urge which makes for a champion sportsman. This attribute showed clearly when Tendulkar went for an outright win instead of being satisfied with enabling India to qualify for the final.
India were lucky that the master blaster rose to the occasion yesterday with a great all round performance, but it would be too much to expect this of even Tendulkar in every match.
But win or lose, this tournament will be remembered for an outstanding display of power batting. Those who witnessed the Tendulkar special on Wednesday, are unlikely to ever forget that knock.