At two hours and nineteen minutes plus intermission, "Sachin: A Billion Dreams" never drags, although it probably does not warrant a place on the top shelf of sporting documentaries. A love letter to be sure, but a well-crafted one.
On Tuesday, Australia's Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced while on a state visit to New Delhi that Sachin Tendulkar would be made an honorary Member of the Order of Australia. . Yet on Wednesday morning, the Australian media is full of outrage. How can such a seemingly safe and popular decision be so controversial?
Sachin Tendulkar is surely cricket's greatest batsman of the past twenty years, and maybe (in competition with Vivian Richards) the best of my lifetime. His genius, longevity and durability have given him records that may prove impossible to break. But the farcical pursuit of his "100th international hundred", which climaxed at the Sher-e-Bangla Stadium, Mirpur yesterday, is a blight that his illustrious legacy can do without.
"Tendulkar’s 100th 100 a certainty and what a place to do it. 1st Test played at MCG as well as 1st ODI"
- Tony Greig, Twitter, 5.42pm 27.12.11
"Did I jinx him...if so sorry"
- Tony Greig, Twitter, 6.01pm 27.12.11, five minutes after Tendulkar was dismissed for 73.
The continuing expectation of Sachin Tendulkar's "100th international hundred" and a delightful partnership with his rejuvenated team-mate Rahul Dravid. The highlights of the second day of the Melbourne Test between India and Australia, 27 December 2011.
Tendulkar fell for 73, and that faux statistical milestone remains unconquered for now. But it was still a joyous innings to watch, encapsulated in these highlights, from the official Cricket Australia Youtube channel, of the post-tea session of play:
Back on May 21, 1997, I was logged into that great 20th century social medium, IRC, when Saeed Anwar smashed 194 against India to break Viv Richards' thirteen year-old record for the highest score in a One-Day International. The big question that was being asked by the Indian fans, who made up the vast majority of IRC participants following the game that night: How soon until Sachin Tendulkar claimed the world record and became the first to break the 200 barrier?
When it comes to stats and trivia about cricket, I've been hooked since I was a teenager. It's easy to get seduced by the numbers and the mathematical comparisons, but I figure it's ok so long as the sport itself remains more important. I draw a line, however, when statistical "milestones" become playthings of the media industry, a raison d'etre of the sports desk at the 24/7 news outlet, the honeytrap for mindless SMS fodder.