October 11, 2013

What if Tendulkar were English?

An alternative timeline of how the Little Master's career might have panned out

1989 Makes international debut against Australia, aged 16. Scores 4 and 0 but after bowling an okayish over of seam, is immediately dubbed the New Botham.

1990 Emerges that Ted Dexter had handed him his debut in a case of mistaken identity.

1991 Injured while trying to carry a crate of Carling Black Label over security fence at Uxbridge during NatWest Trophy quarter-final celebrations.

1992 Gets early introduction to the levels of media exposure that will follow him throughout his career when he makes dazzling, banter-rich debut on A Question Of Sport, cracking a cheeky-but-just-the-right-side-of-the-line quip about Princess Anne.

1993 After being dismissed cheaply several times against Australia, is subject of controversial profile by Michael Henderson which claims he "has a marvellous natural sense of rhythm but they lack the stomach for the fight, don't they?"

1994 Well documented struggles with drink, drugs, gambling, cigarettes, weight, cricket.

1997 Brought back into the England team after a three-year absence. Is given thorough working over by Windies' battery of pacemen.

1998 Dropped, confidence shot to pieces. England career looks over.

1998 Appointed captain of England. Makes what comes to be regarded as his finest innings, a battling 37 at Headingley on a lively deck against fired-up South Africans. Reveals later that he was playing on despite severe hangover throughout.

1999 Marries loyal childhood sweetheart Babs in tasteful ceremony at Alton Towers.

1999 Divorced by Babs after affair with busty page-three stunner's older cousin.

2000 Loses captaincy after unsavoury row with an umpire, in which he begs to be given lbw in order to get away from facing any more of the West Indian bowling.

2001 Retires, saying that it "is time to let some of the young lads have a go". Turns 28. Working on multimedia roadshow with Corky.

2003 Gets OBE.

2004 Weight of county runs (including eye-catching half century against Oxford University on testing mid-July flat top) leads for growing clamour for him to be recalled, yet again, to England side.

2005 Passes milestone that will surely never be repeated: his 100th international comeback.

2006 Makes comeback for Ashes tour of Australia as Andrew Flintoff's personal drinks carrier.

2008 Launches unsuccessful power grab to become England captain, coach, chief executive, and women's cricket captain. Cast out into the wilderness once again.

2011 Demands time off England cricket to play in the Peruvian Premier League, but is sacked after just one game for the Lima Daredevils, amid claims that "his eyes have gone - as has all of the money".

2013 Plays final game for England (at time of writing), disappears off radar, re-emerges on Celebrity Big Brother, now believed to be pursuing options to get a foreign passport and make debut for another country.

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