Master's magical tribute

Master's magical tribute

For dad: Sachin on his ton after the demise of his father

Master's magical tribute

Coming as it did under great emotional stress following the death of his father in the middle of the 1999 World Cup, his 22nd one-day century was a special effort; even if it came against minnows Kenya.

After playing in India’s opening match against South Africa, Tendulkar had to fly back home following his father Ramesh Tendulkar’s demise. The unfortunate incident also had put a big question mark over maestro’s participation in the rest of the tournament. But much to Indian cricket fans’ delight, Tendulkar flew back to England after performing the final rites. Tendulkar revealed his mother played a big part in persuading her reluctant son to join the team again.

“I think, that phase in my life was most difficult,” said Tendulkar who beat the daylights out of Kenyan attack with a 101-ball 140 not out upon his return. Such was the poignancy of the moment that Rahul Dravid’s unbeaten ton at the other end remained almost unnoticed.

“At that stage my mother said that ‘if after his (father’s) demise, you don’t play cricket and stay here, what could be worse than that? You have to go and play for the country’,” the right-hander, who holds the record of highest number of runs in Tests and one-dayers, said.

Tendulkar, who holds the world record for scoring the maximum number of centuries in Tests and limited overs cricket, recalled how he reached the landmark 50th ton at Centurion against South Africa, a day after his father's birthday.

“When I scored my 50th hundred, the first thought that came to my mind was had my father been alive. I got my hundred on December 19, and my father’s birthday was on the 18th. I wanted to do it for him. And I achieved it,” Tendulkar pointed out. “When I score a hundred I thank god for the century, for giving me all the opportunities,” he added.

The 37-year-old cricketer said that among the many things that he learnt from his father, he would like to teach his children to be ‘good-natured’. “If a man’s nature is good, he is always liked by people around him. Whether you perform well or not, cricket is a different thing and your nature is a different thing.

My father had given me the advice that your nature will be always with you. If you can become a good-natured person, that will stay with you forever and people around you will like you irrespective of whether you make runs or not. This is something I would want to teach my children,” he said.

As Tendulkar walked in with India at 92 for two in Bristol, a huge roar from the crowd set the tone for a brutal innings. Careful to begin with, he took 54 balls to compile his first 50 but needed a mere 34 balls to bring up his next half-century. By the time he finished, he had brought up his highest total in a World Cup match as India had amassed 329 for two.

It was always going to be an improbable chase for the Kenyans even in the the absence of the injured Anil Kumble and Venkatesh Prasad. Paceman Debasish Mohanty, however, didn’t make Africans’ job any easier. Supplanting for the lack of bite in India’s attack, the Orissa bowler claimed four wickets to pave the way for India’s command 94-run win. The day, though, clearly belonged to a certain Tendulkar.

“I always felt the loss (his father’s death). It is a permanent one. Nothing can replace him. But I know he is still there guiding me. His hand is there in all the decisions I take,” he noted.

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