New Delhi: The Indian Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar turned 39 today, completing another milestone with unprecedented highs, the most memorable being the World Cup triumph and his unapproachable  elusive century of centuries.

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The appetite for runs has increased with the each passing year. The 100th ton chase bereft the master for more than a year and finally the historic March 16, 2012 added another feather to the legend’s hat.

The champion batsman, who sits on such a huge pile of runs and records, will be celebrating his 39th birthday.

His dream was finally fulfilled and even for a man who is known to be discreet in expressing emotions, the tears were visible when his teammates carried him on their shoulders for a lap of honour and dedicated the World Cup trophy on April 2.

With 100 international centuries in his kitty, records are fairly routing for the batting great.

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 childhood buddy Vinod Kambli in the Lord Harris Shield Inter-School Game in 1988.

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.

The rest is history. No existing batting record seemed safe. Other than Brian Lara's Test match highest of 400 not out and first class highest score of 501 not out, every batting record became Tendulkar's.

A staggering 15,470 runs scored in 188 Tests before the ongoing one at a robust average of 55.44 confirmed Tendulkar's greatness in the longer version of the game.

And in the 462 ODIs he played, a whopping 18,374 were added to his mountain of runs at an average of 44.81.

Tendulkar is also the only batsman in the world who has scored a double ton in ODIs, a feat he achieved in Gwalior against South Africa in February. This feat was included in 'Times' magazine's top 10 sports moments of the year.

The biggest compliment to his batting came from Sir Donald Bradman himself in 1999 when he said that Tendulkar's style of playing resembled his style. "That touch I used to feel when I batted," he had said.

Tendulkar's colossal batting exploits have completely overshadowed his utility as a part-time bowler who reveled in breakthroughs.

He was a complete enigma with the ball, sending down military medium pace, orthodox leg-break and off-spin with the guiles that often caught batsmen off their guard.

His 45 Test wickets and 154 scalps in ODIs underline the fact that Tendulkar could have also staked claim to be that elusive all-rounder that India has been desperately looking for since the legendary Kapil Dev. But shoulder problems have not allowed him to bowl as much as he and the team would have liked.

In the field, he is among the safest pair of hands in the slip and his flat throw releasing strong arm saw him manning the deep with equal aplomb.

The aura has only grown because of his impeccable demeanour, on and off the field.


Amit Kumar/JPN