x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Start as you mean to go on like Sachin has

Those looking to emulate Tendulkar should focus on the attitude as much as the technique.

He started off as a 16-year-old boy up against Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis, three of the greatest fast bowlers to have played the game.

More than two decades on, he got to a landmark that few could even imagine reaching. "It's the hunger that keeps one going," Sachin Tendulkar, the Indian batsman said afterwards as he celebrated reaching his 50th Test hundred yesterday.

There was a time, about half a decade ago, when tennis elbow and a shoulder injury precipitated the longest slump of a storied career. As he struggled, many last words were written about him

Tendulkar though has not just found a second wind. He's made sure that it's become a tornado. In 13 Tests this year, he has scored 1,539 runs at 85.5. The hundred at Centurion was his seventh; the most he's ever made in a calendar year.

In a country obsessed with youth largely because of the impression that he made as a teenager, the 37-year-old Tendulkar remains the most reliable and accomplished batsman.

The thrilling strokeplay that so demoralised Shane Warne in 1999 has largely given way to a game built on steady accumulation but there are still moments when he makes crowds gasp with a shot of breathtaking audacity.

Those looking to emulate him should focus on the attitude as much as the technique. "I still consider myself a student of the game," he said recently. "You never stop learning."

An ideal student, and one who has never misplaced his child-like delight for the game. That is his greatest legacy.