It is a bit daunting to write on Sachin. He is India’s number one feel-good factor. There is so much bad news and yet in far-off West Indies, when this compact, composed ball of fire walks out, every Indian’s blood pumps a little harder. At his first authoritative off-drive, or pull off a good length ball to the midwicket boundary, children cheer, elders glow, and wives even smile at their husbands. Apna Sachin.
There are many great Indian cricket heroes. I remember the Lord’s Test when the headlines said "Vinoo Mankad against England". He almost won the Test by himself. Vijay Hazare’s two centuries against Lindwall and Miller in a Test in Australia cannot be bettered. Gavaskar has ground every batting record to dust. The pack hunting of Bishen Singh Bedi, Prasanna and Chandrashekhar had to be seen to be believed. But all of them pale besides Tendulkar. No wonder Viv Richards says: "He is blessed—I would say he is 99.5 per cent perfect." And Brian Lara admits, "Sachin is a genius. I am a mere mortal."