Timeless Tendulkar to turn 38 on Sunday

(image) New Delhi: Considered timeless by fans, experts and contemporaries alike, iconic Indian cricketer Sachin Tendulkar turns 38 tomorrow completing another year punctuated by milestones and unprecedented highs — the most memorable being the World Cup triumph.

The champion batsman, who sits on such a huge pile of runs and records which any contemporary batsman would find nearly impossible to exceed, is not known to be flamboyant in his celebrations.

If he is not busy on the field, an intensely private Tendulkar prefers to blow the candles just in the company of his two kids, wife Anjali and other family members.

But that would not be possible this year as he would be leading his franchise Mumbai Indians against Deccan Chargers in an Indian Premier League match in Hyderabad tomorrow.

The glitz and glamour of IPL would ensure that high-profile celebrations with generous sprinkling of Bollywood stars and corporate bigwigs would greet Tendulkar, who got his biggest gift weeks before the big day.

The trophy might have been lifted first by Mahendra Singh Dhoni after the finals on April 2 but much before India won it, the members of the World Cup squad were falling over each other to dedicate it to Tendulkar, who was making his sixth and perhaps the final appearance in the mega-event.

The Mumbaikar had played five World Cups before this edition but never been a part of the winning squad.

His dream was finally fulfilled and even for a man who is known to be discreet in expressing emotions, the tears were all too visible when his teammates carried him on their shoulders for a lap of honour.

Just one short of completing his 100th century in international cricket, records are fairly routine for Tendulkar but for the cricketing fraternity every run he scores just adds to the legend that the right-hander has become.

Much before his debut on November 15, 1989, Tendulkar`s precocious talent was there to be seen when he shared an unbeaten 664-run stand with buddy Vinod Kambli in the Lord Harris Shield Inter-School Game in 1988.

The 1989 international debut was far less spectacular, in fact forgettable. A Waqar Younis bouncer left him with a bleeding nose but Tendulkar did not wince and the next two decades saw him punishing bowlers all over the world on all kind of surfaces.

His first Test century came in England next year at Old Trafford and the diminutive Mumbaikar rose in stature after the 1991-92 tour of Australia, hitting sublime centuries on a Sydney turner and a Perth minefield.