Media, players celebrate Tendulkar’s 40th birthday

Sachin Tendulkar celebrated his 40th birthday on Wednesday with

a nation of cricket fans willing the man they affectionately call

”The Little Master” to another year in his prolific international


Tendulkar, holder of most of the world’s batting records –

including most runs and centuries in tests and one-day

internationals – retired from limited-overs cricket last year but

continues to play tests despite watching contemporaries like Ricky

Ponting, Rahul Dravid and V.V.S. Laxman all step down over the past


Most leading Indian newspapers dedicated huge space to Tendulkar

in their sports pages, along with columns by former players.

Television channels broadcast programs dedicated to his

achievements since his international debut in Pakistan as a

16-year-old in 1989.

Tendulkar last year became the first batsman to complete 100

internationals centuries during the Asia Cup in Bangladesh, with

his 49th in ODIs. He’s scored more than 34,000 runs in tests and

one-dayers, and he was the first to score a one-day double century

with 200 not out against South Africa at Gwalior in 2010.

He’s taken little part in one-day cricket after achieving the

lifelong ambition of winning a World Cup on his home ground of

Wankhede Stadium at Mumbai in 2011, and his retirement from the

shorter format was no surprise.

Former Australia captain Greg Chappell, who also served as India

coach, praised Tendulkar for his long career in a column in The

Hindu newspaper.

”While crossing the age of 40 is no big deal for most people,

it is a huge milestone in the life of a professional sportsman,”

Chappell wrote. ”Not many reach that age and are still playing at

the highest level; especially if they began their international

career as a precocious 16-year-old.”

Tendulkar has often been compared with Australian batting great

Don Bradman, but Chappell says Tendulkar probably carried more

pressure through his career.

”No other player, not even Bradman, has endured greater

scrutiny and higher expectations than Tendulkar, and none has

delivered more often. My warmest birthday wishes and may the final

stanza of his career play out as he deserves,” Chappell added.

World Cup-winning former India captain Kapil Dev recalled

Tendulkar’s debut.

”It was very tough for me to deal with his near-childlike

presence in the dressing room,” the former allrounder wrote in

column in the magazine section of The Times of India that was

accompanied by with photographs from that tour of Pakistan.

”At that time, he was in the 10th standard (grade), I think.

So, for me, he was just a baby,” Dev said. ”But what I liked

about this young boy was that he had tremendous confidence in his

cricket abilities.”

Spin bowling great Bishan Singh Bedi congratulated Tendulkar for

keeping a level head and avoiding controversies despite his

God-like status in India.

”The fact that Sachin, during his very long innings, has not

been embroiled in any major personal controversy is a tribute to

his modesty as much as it is to his fierce motivation to keep the

glitterati at bay at any cost,” Bedi wrote in The Hindu.

Twitter was also abuzz with praise from contemporaries.

”Welcome to the 40s buddy!! Push for singles, from here on in u

don’t want to score too quickly,” tweeted West Indies great Brian

Lara, one of the batsmen with whom Tendulkar was compared.

”Dear master blaster many happy returns of the day wishing you

health and success always thank you god for this day regards,”

tweeted allrounder Yuvraj Singh, who was man of the tournament at

the 2011 World Cup and dedicated the victory to Tendulkar.

”From idolizing him to playing with him has been an exciting

journey! (at)Sachin-rt bhai (brother) will be not out forever!”

tweeted Indian middle-order batsman Virat Kohli.