2007 witnessed a different Sachin Tendulkar. For someone who is alien to
controversy and prefers to be on the safe, diplomatic side, the year saw Tendulkar in the news for off-the-field issues as much as for on-field heroics.
Be it his statements against Greg Chappell, after the Australian quit as coach of the Indian team -- statements he subsequently denied making, by the way -- or the controversy surrounding his cutting of a cake in the colours of
the Indian national flag during a ceremony in Jamaica; or his admission that he's getting tired after all these years and all this cricket, triggering speculation that he could retire; or even his refusal to take over the
national captaincy despite persuasion from many different quarters, Tendulkar hogged headlines to an extent that was, for him, remarkable.
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And then there was his cricket. Like most Indian players, Tendulkar had a forgettable World Cup, the sole standout being a little cameo of 57 against lowly Bermuda. His performance prompted Ian Chappell, in one of his columns,
to call for his retirement.
Tendulkar is never so dangerous as when you write him off, and he proved that again during the subsequent tour to Bangladesh and the one-day series in Belfast (against South Africa and Ireland). Those were by way of prelude
-- he hit the high notes when he emerged as the highest scorer in the subsequent one-day series against England (away) and Australia (at home).
In Test cricket too, he was impressive in Bangladesh and good against England and Pakistan; his performances this year have in sum given rise to the feeling that he is good for a few more years.
He has on a few occasions talked of playing through to 2011, but that seems more in the line of wishful thinking. 2007, for Tendulkar, will thus end with the realisation that arguably the best batsman India has ever produced is likely to end his career without a World Cup in his kitty; ironically, during that same year a young team won the Twenty-20 World Cup while he watched from home.
A year to remember
Tendulkar scored only 64 runs in three matches in the World Cup, his highest (57 not out) coming against lowly Bermuda.
In the second Test against England at Nottingham in July, he became the third cricketer after West Indian Brian Lara and Australian Allan Border to complete 11,000 runs in Test cricket. The 34-year-old now has 11,289 runs in 142 Tests, second only to Brian Lara's 11,953.
In the ODI series against Australia in October, he was the leading Indian run-scorer, with 278 runs.
Tendulkar has scored over 1,000 runs in a calendar year in ODIs seven times, this year included.
He was dismissed seven times in 2007 between 90 and 100, including thrice on 99.
Text: Bikash Mohapatra | Photograph: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP/Getty Images
Also read: Tendulkar's top ten
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