Christian Ryan
Writer based in Melbourne. Author of Golden Boy: Kim Hughes and the Bad Old Days of Australian Cricket

Sachin of Benalla

They say no one ever remembers how you leave cricket, that the memory of you at your peak is what's everlasting. Is that true?

Christian Ryan

March 2, 2012

Comments: 61 | Text size: A | A

Sachin Tendulkar drives on the up, Australia v India, 2nd Test, Sydney, 3rd day, January 5, 2012
Tendulkar: textbook first, exotic later © Getty Images
Related Links
Series/Tournaments: India tour of Australia
Teams: Australia | India

Anyone curious about whether Albertslund Under-13s or Chang-Aalborg Under-13s won the 1992 season final in Copenhagen can look it up on page 1168 of the following year's Wisden. In those same yellow-backed pages is not a peep, let alone a score, telling us of Sachin Tendulkar's fourth encounter with the soon-to-be-magic-wristed Shane Warne on a Sunday afternoon in Benalla. That game is gone.

Benalla is a town of 9000, proud of its roses. Cricket on a local ground is different. No cinema-sized replay screen - that's everything, it means each ball has a once-only importance, so people watch with crinkled and concentrating eyes, and the players can feel their eyes, especially since the watchers are invariably leaning close-by on the fence or boundary rail. All of this, and plenty else - sightscreens that are too short, a whispering gale unimpeded by grandstands, the full-strength drink being sold out of redeployed kebab vans - has a democratising effect. Top players' sheepish shots look more sheepish. Their good shots no longer seem so unlike ours.

"If you have ever," the local boast goes, "been privileged enough to play on the Gardens Oval in Benalla, count yourself lucky as it is truly one of the great grounds of our time." In 1884 Arthur Shrewsbury batted here and made 6. Frank Woolley hit 37 in 1921, Wally Hammond 53 in 1937, Viv Richards 11 in 1984. Through the mists, just once, an Indian team visited for a World Cup warm-up against Victoria. Tendulkar was teenaged and Warne 22, both puffy-cheeked still. No newspaper, country-based or city, sent a reporter along. What's known is scant - that Tendulkar batted third-drop and made 59, that Warne's ten overs went for 37, that Tendulkar was stumped off Warne's bowling, that Warne getting Tendulkar out had never happened beforeā€¦ enough, in other words, that we know to file it in the pantheon of cricket's lesser-watched gripping afternoons. We know as well that a boundary-leaner or two, peering at Tendulkar's feet and hands, would have murmured: "I could do that."

For that was the style of the man. Tendulkar batted, if not quite like us, then like us as we aspired to bat - us with swifter reflexes, softer hands, greater confidence, more talent, a functioning brain and five times the stroke repertoire. Little about this Tendulkar was exotic. Everything was textbook and explicable.

You'll note the past tense - was - because this Australian summer nearly gone, Tendulkar's batting has taken a Harlem Globetrotterish turn. Way back in the MCG Test, first ball after tea, he dipped down to a wicketkeeper's bent-kneed squat and paddle-scooped Siddle over the slips for six. Beyond us in our wildest dreaming, that was; and nor was it, not really, him. Two nights ago in Hobart he painted hopscotch squares round the popping crease. Premeditating a full delivery from Maharoof, he reverse-quickstepped nearly on to his stumps, only to then hover, dropping bat on ball with a heartbeat to spare and poking it wide of deep third man for two runs. Five minutes later he tried a mirror variation off Malinga, aiming at fine leg this time, and missed, out lbw.

With exit doors beckoning for fading members of two batting line-ups, the catchphrase of the summer has gone something like this: "No one ever remembers how you leave cricket. The memory of you at your peak is what's everlasting."

For batsmen, the more far-gone you are, the shorter your innings tends to be, but this seldom proves conclusive, it's more likely out-and-out confusing, the shortage of visual evidence making it tricky to second-guess where rust begins and decay sets in and pure bad luck intrudes

Is that true? Think of Bradman. He was pushing 40 when he boarded his last boat to England in 1948. Certain Englishmen sensed the Don drifting dangerously close to the banks of cricketing mortality. He flat-batted that notion back over the bowlers' heads. Sort of, anyhow: if he'd played on first ball to Alec Coxon at Lord's, as nearly happened, and if the slip fielders had then caught him on 22 or 30 at Headingley, where he proceeded to 173, Bradman would have averaged 39 in that series - confirmation, and right on cue at the end, of mortality. That 99.94 career rate would instead read 95.87. One's an Australian Broadcasting Corporation GPO Box in the making; the other is a (stupendously fine) batting average. Would we remember him just the same?

The decaying boxer winds up with chunks of his face on the canvas. Golfers on the slide spend whole afternoons hacking their way round the backblocks of the course. For batsmen, conversely, the more far-gone you are, the shorter your innings tends to be, but this seldom proves conclusive, it's more likely out-and-out confusing, the shortage of visual evidence - of raw crease-bound minutes - making it tricky to second-guess where rust begins and decay sets in and pure bad luck intrudes. It's in this emotional murk that an ever-lengthening bunch of ever-ageing batsmen find themselves today.

Tendulkar has long provoked in Australians that rarest wish: a hundred for him, whopping defeat for his team. With amazing regularity, the wish has come true. But there has been no hundred on this tour, and much inordinate fretting - not Tendulkar's fault, though he has looked a bit harried - about the hundred that cried wolf, Tendulkar's prospective 100th hundred. This sits uneasily with some Australians who respect Tendulkar but tell tales of Bill Lawry declaring an innings closed, for the team's sake, when Rod Marsh was 92 not out, or of Allan Border - Adelaide, 1991-92 - vowing to declare on himself on 90.

Border: "We've got this over, and then we're declaring."

Last man Whitney: "What? You're on 90."

Border: "I couldn't give a shit about that."

Border took a single. Whitney took a slog at Venkatapathy Raju and got out. Some AB-style hard-headedness will shortly be needed in India. If Sri Lanka win today, India are out of the finals, and then it's up to Tendulkar, or maybe it's up to the selectors, or maybe it's up to Tendulkar and the selectors to work out who it's up to, to determine if he'll be back or if his jitterbug effort in Hobart was his farewell to Australia. He's 38.

That afternoon in Benalla in 1992 must have been some sight to see.

Please may Sri Lanka lose today.

Christian Ryan is a writer based in Melbourne. He is the author of Golden Boy: Kim Hughes and the Bad Old Days of Australian Cricket and, most recently Australia: Story of a Cricket Country

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Posted by johnathonjosephs on (March 5, 2012, 1:20 GMT)

How many Tendulkar pieces are written by Cricinfo since the 99th century against South Africa? I think we should get Raj the Stats man on that

Posted by BillyCC on (March 4, 2012, 21:19 GMT)

Finishing a career poorly does not make one of the greats of all time suddenly be considered a non-great. However, it may change their rankings amongst the greats. Had Tendulkar retired in 2008, he would have finished probably fourth or fifth on the all time rankings. Had Tendulkar retired at the start of 2011, he would have been the clear and undisputed second greatest batsman of all time. Given his poor tours of England and Australia, there is a case for him dropping back down the order again. The same goes for Ponting, who in recent times has dropped in the all-time rankings.

Posted by   on (March 4, 2012, 12:38 GMT)

Sachin Seems to be an ELEPHANT in the India's Cricket Room...Seriously time to hang the boots for the sake of good future of Indian cricket Team.

Posted by Meety on (March 4, 2012, 9:13 GMT)

@csowmi7 - I really dislike the old chestnut about Piunter "...unlike ponting who played along some of the finest cricketers like..." It is almost like saying that India are not up to test standard! The fact is SRT has played with Mo Azzar, Harbhajan, Kumble, VVS, Sehwag, Dravid & Ganguly & Zaheer. Hardly a lack of talent, that arguement is tiring & not well thought out. Lara on the other hand, started his career with some of the greats, but was almost a one man band afterwards - not Sachin!

Posted by SMAM-Jameel on (March 4, 2012, 1:42 GMT)

After match presentation, clearly M S Dhoni has been giving his comments about the fitness of seniors on field that team is losing 20 - 30 runs due to senior players . . . It is shame for Sachin as well as his supports because now he is blocking the younger generation to take the spot in team. . .

Posted by   on (March 3, 2012, 20:04 GMT)

Sri Lanka has defeated Australia in last three encounters - they deservedly walk into the finals for defending what was a distinctly sub-par total. As an Indian, and an ardent Tendulkar fan, the question which begs an answer ever since April 2, 2011 is: What more does Tendulkar aspire to achieve in ODIs? He played superbly in 2 World Cups - leading his team to Semifinals (1996) and Finals (2003) only to be pipped at the post by a better team. In 2011, he played just as beautifully, but also with the freedom which comes with the knowledge that he had a team to rely on, instead of a team to drag on. First ODI double ton, a career aggregrate, average against the best team of his era (AUS), century tally, matchwinning knocks, heck! even matchwinning bowling spells - which spell out loud and clear: great. But the clock spares none, and scared as any man who has played the game with his passion all his adult life might be: we'll weep when you're gone, but please let us Sachin ..

Posted by   on (March 3, 2012, 18:15 GMT)

True, but I think he's just playing his game.Others seem to be more obsessed with his 100th 100 than SRT himself.At the same time it would be better for him to concentrate on tests than ODIs to prolong his career just as Ponting is thinking.

Posted by csowmi7 on (March 3, 2012, 11:53 GMT)

Tendulkar's legacy as one the greatest batsman will always live on in the minds of all true cricket fans. Nobody remembers that Kapil Dev took 2 years to go from 400 to 434 only that he won India's world cup or Gavaskar's 34 of 120 odd balls. Hope that Tendulkar gets the fairytale farewell that he deserves and goes out with a bang. Still believe that he still has 5-6 centuries left in him going by his form in 2010.

Posted by csowmi7 on (March 3, 2012, 11:27 GMT)

@ king owl out of his 48 centuries in ODIs 33 have come in winning causes more centuries than any other man on the planet. His form took India to the number one spot in tests and the world cup. How many big matches has Lara won for his team? The fact is that when Lara and Tendulkar were at their peak in the 90s they had little support from their teammates unlike ponting who played along some of the finest cricketers like mcgrath, gilchrist, lee, and warne.

Posted by enthusiastic on (March 3, 2012, 10:58 GMT)

I'm an Indian fan and was hoping India would qualify but given the way SL has played, they truly deserve. Yes i'm fed up of individual Indian cricketers Sehwag,s, Sachin's and Virat's etc. Pls stop talking about individuals as Cricket is a team game and fed up of SRT's 100th 100, dont care if he does or doesn't get it, hope he retires soon and retains his respect and India win matches abroad.

Posted by ygkd on (March 3, 2012, 8:55 GMT)

By the time this is posted the Benalla Gardens Oval will probably be under water - flooded like a lot of south-eastern Australia at the moment. When it is dry, like a number of regional grounds, it could be used more as it once used to be.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2012, 8:12 GMT)

Sachin will get his hundred. This is a pnemomenal cricketer to whom even the Gods will not deny what he deserves.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2012, 7:52 GMT)

Sachin will get his 100th 100 against much rated Bangaladesh and may retire.

Posted by   on (March 3, 2012, 6:10 GMT)

Frankly speaking - from a pure cricketing standpoint he's looked in great touch. Numbers often do tell the story but not always. In his case - he's played a great few shots before playing the rare shot to give away his wicket. He's still got a few innings left in him. An ardent waiting for the master to turn it on in his last spell before he bids adieu.

Posted by here2rock on (March 3, 2012, 5:43 GMT)

Adnrew Gray, sure there are times when you have to graft but I think Tendulkar goes in shell when a milestone approaches or an hour before the day's play. For an exmple look how he got to a part time bowler Michael Clarke in the Sydney test match. In his prime and right frame of mind there is not way he would have allowed him to settle. Supporters go to grounds with their hard earned money to be enetertained but watching Tendulkar lately is not entertaining. He is obessed with his little chip shots over the slips and paddle sweep shots, while they are cute but not as breath taking as his cover drive or straight drive. People who watched his 250 plus not out in Sydney swear that was one of the most boring innings they saw from a champion batsman. He should forget about the records and stats, just go there and enterain the crwod who come to watch him play. The Australians have been very disappointed this summer from him and I don't think they will get to see him bat again.

Posted by MikeMiller on (March 3, 2012, 2:25 GMT)

Let's see what 2012 brings before we prematurely consign Sachin Tendulkar to the scrap heap. He and all the team will be more comfortable in home conditions. As for how he will be remembered for his performances in Australia: simply as one of the four greatest batting talents anybody ever saw, the others being Sobers, Ponting & Lara. In the context of his fabulous career, these recent Aussie test and limited overs series will surely not loom large nor linger long in the memory.

Posted by Imabowler on (March 3, 2012, 1:50 GMT)

I have played a few times on the gardens oval in benalla.. It is a magnificent ground to play cricket on! I also saw the Victorian team play the West Indies there once.

Posted by KingOwl on (March 3, 2012, 0:13 GMT)

Glad SL won. Am tired of this 100th 100. He is becoming too selfish. Need a kick out of the door. I would really like to know how many big matches he has won for India.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2012, 22:34 GMT)

I think Sachin should give a younger player a chance to play for India and just hang up his belt.... He is blocking progress right now as a player.

Posted by chand_chowbay on (March 2, 2012, 22:16 GMT)

When a man smiles,the entire world smiles with him,but when he cries,he cries alone.

Posted by GPIndia on (March 2, 2012, 21:56 GMT)

I think Sachin loves to play one day cricket more than test matches. So he should think about retiring from Test cricket before ODIs.

Posted by nikhilpuri on (March 2, 2012, 20:57 GMT)

Very nicely done mate! Top quality article and a really nice way of showing your liking for the player!

Posted by   on (March 2, 2012, 20:16 GMT)

@here2rock - IMO, SRT had to change his game to graft more, as he got older. Even Lara grafted early in his innings in his later years. Ponting is trying to graft more. The point I think Ryan is making, is that he is more reckless than he use to be, IPL maybe? Dunno, the Sachin of 3 or 4 years ago, would definately have done better, despite a resurgent Ozzy bowling attack. That I think is Ryan's point.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2012, 19:44 GMT)

No. we didn't lose today

Posted by Andrew_Aung on (March 2, 2012, 19:43 GMT)

I always gave Tendulkar benifit of the doubt that he was playing for his team and not for records. But if he postpones his retirement and retires after scoring his 100th 100 in the near future, guess what that would lead me to believe...

Posted by Charindra on (March 2, 2012, 19:01 GMT)

Well, if you haven't heard Mr. Ryan, Sri Lanka won today, and therefore your wish was not granted. I never really considered you a great writer, and this article does nothing to change that opinion. Sachin, with all due respect to him, has had enough chances to get that 100. I still believe that Sachin has the ability to make big scores, and have another prolific season. But it's not about him is it. If Ponting was dropped with an eye on 2015, why should Tendulkar be any different?

Posted by StopSmoking on (March 2, 2012, 17:57 GMT)

Cricinfo is lucky to have you Mr. Ryan.

Posted by vatsap on (March 2, 2012, 17:52 GMT)

Brilliant article ... and what a sight it would have been in the 92 practice match. It would have been a perfect fairy tale if Sachin had got a ton in any of the tests, unfortunately for the great guy that was not to be ... and any other ton in the next year will never make it sweet, thats how life is.

Posted by RajSal on (March 2, 2012, 17:06 GMT)

Sachin and all the older players in Indian team have to realize that with age they all slow down, his body does not support their brains responses. I watching Sachins 148 in 1992 at Sydney on Utube same time I was watching this series on Willow. He was hit on the helmet by Brett Lee and missed the shot by a full second! It's so clear he is a shade of himself. I believe they are under too much pressure to play because of media contracts and records to be sent. If he continues to play like this in Asia cup he will lose his legendary status. As Charles Barkley said in a recent cnn interview about retirement and Kobe - Retirement is never an easy decision. It's very frustrating, your ego speaks for the player you used to be.

Posted by on (March 2, 2012, 16:54 GMT)

@hamza malik - loved that quote from batman , apt for the moment... the way i see it batsmen are going to get worse with age because batting is essentially a reaction , a batsman always has to react to the ball and for that reflexes are important unlike bowling where the bowler can decide what to bowl next , bowling is essentially based on rhythm , he can lose pace but usually his control and guile increases with age , provided decent fitness is maintained

Posted by Mahesh4811 on (March 2, 2012, 16:52 GMT)

Retirement should be like Adam Gilchrist: People must say, 'what? You are retiring? Why?', and not as 'You don't have any plans of retirement yet?'

Posted by aarifboy on (March 2, 2012, 16:46 GMT)

If Sachin quits test cricket and plays only ODIs he can definitely survive till next world cup.I don't know why experts want Sachin to retire from ODIs to play tests.Sachin is too old to play five days continuosly.

Posted by zico123 on (March 2, 2012, 16:32 GMT)

i advise to Sachin, as soon as u get 2 more ODI hundreds to make it 50 ODI hundreds, hang your boots in ODIs, and as soon as Ponting retires from Test cricket, hang your boot in Test cricket as well.

Posted by Al_Bundy1 on (March 2, 2012, 16:18 GMT)

Agree with @here2rock - Tendulkar has changed his game over the last few years and has not been fun watching a master struggling. These days he's only thinking about his individual records. It is painful to watch him after he crosses 75.

Posted by cricinfo_2010 on (March 2, 2012, 16:13 GMT)

Nice pleasing article. Relaxing - like Sachin's batting. i think looking at Tendulkar's overall stats, it's pretty mediocre with respect to his talent. I think most astonishing of all is, the 'STYLE' and 'SIMPLENESS' in his batting. May more batsmen break his records, but i can't think anyone can provide that CLASSIC and PLEASENT ENTERTAINMENT like Sachin did, whether he made 10 or 100 runs. His numbers could be matched, but his gracefulness in batting - NEVER. I am blessed to be born in this generations to relish his batting. Wow!

Posted by   on (March 2, 2012, 15:59 GMT)

SRT jus finished watching his last match on AUS soil from the couch ... instead of being part of it on the field.

Posted by moBlue on (March 2, 2012, 15:02 GMT)

i'd bet my last penny that there is yet another glorious tendulkar chapter to be writ yet...

the shot that left christian ryan slack-jawed - the one over slips off a bouncer outside off - was actually in evidence 10 years ago! no kidding. a starstruck SA slip cordon watched in amazement in the first test in johannesberg in 2001/2 when sachin - and sehwag in his debut inning when he scored a hundred, naturally; test cricket, after all, came easily to both these guys - fought back when IND were at the brink at 68 for 4... and sachin pulled the same risky shot out of thin air and executed it to perfection as he switched gears seamlessly to a much faster tempo... on his way to a brilliant test hundred...

boy, am i going to miss him when he decides it is time to go! "explicable"? i disagree. there is very little that is explicable about his batting while he is on - or off! ...which is why - along with his grace and humility, of course - he puts bums in seats wherever he goes! what a dude!

Posted by   on (March 2, 2012, 13:57 GMT)

Tendulkar is going to Bangladesh next. At least the bogey of the 100th 100 is taken care of!

Posted by timtom on (March 2, 2012, 13:53 GMT)

Not sure what this article is abt.In current form he still looks good to play 2015WC, and tests for another 4 yrs. But bcos PONTING retired, bcos he is 38 he is is expected to retire.. What logic is this ?

Posted by 360review on (March 2, 2012, 13:26 GMT)

@Tendulkar, it is now time to call it quits. Don't let the selection or media push you out. Give us all a graceful end to your cricketing career.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2012, 12:52 GMT)

There has always been a problem with Indian cricketers choosing the right time to go. Kapil was virtually pushed into retirement. Azhar, Vengsarkar, Amarnath, Shastri - these are some of the best players of the previous era. And none of them left the scene when they were still good. To my knowledge and only Gavaskar and Ganguly had fantastic retirement season / series. Even Kumble almost pushed it too long. But he had the good sense of realising sooner rather than later that it was time to go. The batting trinity of Test cricket are likely to let their greatness be sheared a bit due to playing too long.

Posted by timbod1 on (March 2, 2012, 12:29 GMT)

I grew up playing cricket on that ground (and was there to see the Windies in 1984). The shade of the elms around the ground, the dry heat of summer, a few friends watching from the old brick grandstand and feeling like you share the ground with the ghosts of the greats who have played cameos there. That's cricket! Sachin looks like he should spend a summer in Benalla and enjoy cricket in all its magnificent simplicity. Its the burden of expectation, not years that he is carrying.

Posted by Freddy37 on (March 2, 2012, 12:24 GMT)

I was involved in the organization of the Benalla game that Tendulkar played in. Little did we know at the time how he and Shane Warne would become legends of the game. I have three memories from the game: (1) How Tendulkar made batting look easy. (2) Darren Lehman's innings for Victoria was first class, every time he hit the ball it went into a gap, and (3) Dean Jones being stumped and not being happy with the decision. Its a pity that these games (featuring international sides) are not played in rural area's of Australia anymore.

Posted by Busie1979 on (March 2, 2012, 12:20 GMT)

One other thing... "legacy" only seems to be a subject of discussion for batsman. What were people saying of McGrath, Warne, Akram, Ambrose, and Walsh's legacy? What about Gilchrist? Was there debate as to how people would remember them before they retired? I don't recall any discussions of legacy until after they retired. Maybe this is because they usually retire younger. I'm not sure.

Posted by Busie1979 on (March 2, 2012, 12:14 GMT)

I don't think Tendulkar is done. I think Dravid and Laxman are done, but not Tendulkar... yet. He will have one last home series and then should go. It is irrelevant whether he gets the hundred or not. It would be a nice and neat reflection of his influence on the game, but that's about it. It would have been neater if Bradman averaged 100 rather than 99.97, but nobody thinks any lesser of him for not scoring 3 extra runs. As far as a player is remembered - the fact is, eventually nobody remembers you at all. All they see in the cold light of day is your stats. I know Bradman was the greatest batsman (or at least most effective in any given era). I have never seen him, so I don't remember him and don't know much about how he finished. In about 20 years time, nobody will remember him at all, and even if they do, they will not remember much. I think people get preoccupied with legacy. Legacy lies in the stats, not fading memories.

Posted by fan2011 on (March 2, 2012, 11:52 GMT)

ha ha to you all of you who wished Sri Lank to loose... we won in roaring style :DDDDD beat australia in australia 3 out of 4 games? can it get better yes, 2-0 finals win for Sri Lanka...

Posted by   on (March 2, 2012, 11:28 GMT)

You either die a hero or you live long enough to see youself become the Villian

Posted by   on (March 2, 2012, 10:02 GMT)

Quite true, nothing to disagree with.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2012, 9:38 GMT)

Very subtle note of things by Christian Ryan on the day when another Aussie Daniel Christian has had a glorious day. Yeah! Very true that the resource is dwindling, the count of seeds diminshes with ageing and Mr. Tendulkar has had a golden reap of harvest already.All great people are aware of their selves and I guess he has been too. He has always tried to be conscious of it but sometimes consciousness has bemused and overwhelmed him.He becomes overly conscious and that has led to his downfall.And sometimes when he has opted to just cut loose from the scratch, he has not found his nature, that we have known of, going with him. He is certainly battling. But that is what greatness does; leaves you contemplating about them and leave you astounded when they hit back. I have left pondering how he has been handling all this but have to say I just rejoice what he does and live in the moment.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2012, 9:37 GMT)


Posted by here2rock on (March 2, 2012, 7:45 GMT)

Very nice article Christian Ryan. Tendulkar has changed his game over the last few years and has not been fun watching a master struggling. The hardest part for me as a cricket follower has been that he has forgotten to be an entertainer. In the early years he entertained immensely but as the records started to pile up and landmarks keep coming his ways, he has lost his freedom and forgotten to entertain. This is one of the reason why Ian Chappell, who is one of the most respected observer of the game has picked Brian Lara as a better batsman than Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar because he never changed his game. Tendulkar has given us plenty of memories and still every time he goes to the crease there is an air of expectation, that beautiful straight drive, cover drive or that flick of the legs. It is pity that he hardly plays in the V area now days. He seems to be stuck with his cute little chips over the slips or down the leg side. The beauty and elegance has sadly gone.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2012, 7:19 GMT)

this is true. we would love to see tendulkar make 100 or even 200 while the rest of the indian team floundered. However just like ponting time has come to an end in odi's, so to it is sachins time also to go in this format if not all formats. To not do so puts the man ahead of the team which results in failure.

Posted by tgevans on (March 2, 2012, 7:18 GMT)

Too early to write Tendulkar off. He still looks in great touch and has a few big scores left in him.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2012, 6:30 GMT)

For me (and I think a lot of others), it would have to be the desert storm of 1998 and then the heroics of 2003 World Cup, especially that upper cut for 6 off Akhtar in that marauding 98 run innings. I have seen the '91-'92 hundreds of 119 and 114 against England and Australia fondly remembered too, though I was just 7 years old then and did not watch them live.

Somehow the 2011 World Cup and the 200 or 175 are not that memorable. Probably time will tell if they seem grander a few years down the line.

Posted by podichetty on (March 2, 2012, 6:21 GMT)

Its definitely very important to leave cricket with a bang; not just one good series but 2-3 good years in succession coz otherwise it just takes the sheen out of your greatness !

Posted by   on (March 2, 2012, 6:19 GMT)

U Know what Mr.Ryan? U've become my favourite cricket writer!! I've just read 3 of urs,& u touched my heart in all the 3!

Posted by   on (March 2, 2012, 6:08 GMT)

fantastic article..loved it..hope srilanka will lose

Posted by Longmemory on (March 2, 2012, 5:55 GMT)

Lovely story about Allan Border. I can just imagine him saying that. What a world separates the two cricketing cultures: one obsessed with winning as a team, and the other prizing individual achievement and record over all else it seems. The irony of course is that it is the Aussies who are supposed to cherish rugged individualism and its the Indians who supposedly value family and place the collective over the person. Go figure.

Posted by   on (March 2, 2012, 5:49 GMT)

nice one,truly reflects the respect of the author and quality of the great batsman..

Posted by Solace1 on (March 2, 2012, 5:39 GMT)

Tendulkar still has it in him, he should go on to play the 2015wc, he can contribute as a mentor cum coach just like how warne and ganguly did in ipl, i really hope he gets 20k runs in one dayers before he retires!! After retirement he should concentrate fully on winning the ipl regularly for the mumbai indians!!

Posted by Samp008 on (March 2, 2012, 5:35 GMT)

Hope Has another name today = Australia!

Wonderful way to sum up the desire of 1.2 billion fans. :)

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Christian Ryan Christian Ryan lives in Melbourne, writes and edits, was once the editor of The Monthly magazine and Wisden Australia, and now bowls low-grade, high-bouncing legbreaks with renewed zeal in recognition of Stuart MacGill's retirement and the selection opportunities this presents. He is the author of Golden Boy: Kim Hughes and the Bad Old Days of Australian Cricket and Australia: Story of a Cricket Country

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They have to see a glass that is half-full, and play the game as if it is just that, a game; and an opportunity

Ishant's fourth-innings heroics in rare company

In India's win at Lord's, Ishant Sharma took the best bowling figures by an Indian in the fourth innings of a Test outside Asia. Here are five other best bowling efforts by Indians in the fourth innings of Tests outside Asia

Another battle, another defeat on Planet Al

Alastair Cook has got used to feeling of the axe hanging over him. Only his team-mates can save England now

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