At Christchurch, It was like Sachin of two sizes, ages and shapes being on view on the same ground
Christchurch: There were two Sachins at the AMI Stadium here on Sunday. One the young adventurous type who likes to take the attack to the bowlers and he was very much in view on a sunny Sunday. And the other the more mature, wiser Sachin who constructed his innings delicately.
It was like Sachin of two sizes, ages and shapes being on view on the same ground, both literally and figuratively speaking.
The younger Sachin Tendulkar began in the very first over of the game as he played some agricultural shots who tried to up the scoring rate right at the start. It was vintage Tendulkar who played it across the line and let his intention known to the Black Caps.
From there on it was just one-way traffic as Tendulkar took the Black Caps apart with his awesome hitting. He was prepared to play the slog in the powerplay overs. Then as the pitch flattened it became easier for Tendulkar to pick the singles at will.
He saw the opportunity to put up a huge score as he watched Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir throw away a good start. First a clearly disinterested Sehwag played across the line and let the stumps be disturbed by Kyle Mills. Then Gambhir fiddled with a ball that was going far away from the off-stump and let go of another opportunity.
All this meant that Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh could put their heads together to pull India away from the Black Caps. Very smartly the Indians utilised the third powerplay between the overs number 23 and 27. That phase of play gave a new impetus to the Indian innings.
And even if Yuvraj Singh was leading the charge, Tendulkar was prepared to bide his time. He may have let Yuvraj take centre stage, but Tendulkar was quietly taking his score to new heights. The small boundaries meant that Yuvraj could play the big shots at will and Tendulkar could dip his hands too in the New Zealand bowling which hardly threatened the Indian batting.
Within no time, Tendulkar moved swiftly into the nervous 90s, but had a new partner now in skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni. The effort to reach the hundred for the 43rd time in ODI career cost Tendulkar no more time as he quietly picked a single off his leg. The skipper was on hand to congratulate Tendulkar on his first ODI hundred in New Zealand and the entire ground gave a standing ovation to the man who is a hero even for every Kiwi.
Tendulkar now has ODI hundreds in every country except West Indies, which is quite a telling statement considering his exploits in the Test matches there.
Just when it seemed that Tendulkar would reach the unlikely score of a double in ODIs, there was the age old tryst with pain for the master. In what is almost scripted for the master, he has an unique injury each time. This time it was a soreness in the stomach muscle which made him pull up short.
There was pain in the stomach area and he had to immediately summon the physio Nitin Patel for help. Patel strapped up the master who was still in pain when Dhoni suggested that he retire hurt and the master pulled out as he could not bear the pain anymore.
As he walked off Tendulkar was experiencing the side effects of being hit on the stomach by a ball in the second ODI which showed up on Sunday. In the end his early depature meant that a young boy, aged just seven, and also named Sachin was one of the few Kiwis who were disappointed.
Sachin Austin, son of an advertiser, Nick and his mother Veda Karan, who practises vedic philosophy was named after the master. While the father is a cricket fanatic, mother Veda has an Indian guru. So when the two combined it resulted in their son being named Sachin.
On Sunday, like millions of Indians, Sachin jr got a date with the master who gave him an autographed team sheet and got a return gift too. It was the perfect way for Tendulkar to be rewarded for all his exploits over the years.
So in years from now if a Black Cap named Sachin provides return service to a future Indian team then you know why it was so naturally done.