As part of Cricket Yorkshire’s #6notout birthday celebrations, we are publishing a selection of articles from past years that audiences won’t have read on this current website.
To begin with, Graham Shorter on how the sensational career of Yorkshire’s first-ever overseas player and cricketing messiah captures the events of the lives of a generation.
It is difficult, perhaps impossible for many, to imagine a world where Sachin Tendulkar is not playing cricket.
When Sachin Tendulkar played his last domestic game for Mumbai last week, he closed the game out in a fifty-run partnership with youngster Dhawal Kulkarni.
That isn’t particularly amazing, until you consider the fact that Kulkarni was born on 10 December 1988, just a day before Tendulkar made his first class debut.
It occurred to me, Sachin Tendulkar is one of the few constants in the history of my coherent life, and for a generation of millions of cricket lovers Sachin Tendulkar has been scoring runs for the entirety of their born days.
When you look into this a little further you soon realise that you can chart the major events in your life against the milestones in Tendulkar’s illustrious career.
To all intents and purposes, his cricketing prowess has unwittingly become a barometer to measure your own life history against.
Take his first Test century, scored in 1990 at Old Trafford. I vividly remember this being the day I handed in my final school project on Dinosaurs to Mrs Anderson (no relation to Jimmy).
Incidentally, Graham Gooch was captain in that match, expertly juggling the bowling skills of Eddie Hemmings, and I was much more interested in climbing trees.
The school theme continues, as you would expect for a child, as Tendulkar’s groundbreaking spell with Yorkshire in 1992 coincides with me being in the early days of big school (secondary).
Whilst Sachin was plundering 1,070 runs for the White Rose at an average of 46.52, I was busy covering school textbooks in wallpaper off-cuts and playing cricket in the garden with a bat that was much too big for me but that I could grow into (I’ve still got it somewhere).
As Tendulkar’s cricketing stock continued to rise through the nineties, so do the number of days I spent watching cricket instead of revising for exams.
I can correlate England’s home series against India in 1996 against waiting for some GCSE results and trying poorly to get served in the local pub.
Tendulkar scored 177 at Trent Bridge in that series and I still remember him going to that century – Mike Atherton was at the helm for England despite his “dirt in pocket” escapade two years previous, and Mark Ealham was batting at six (there is definitely hope for Ben Stokes).
At the 1999 World Cup in England, I remember watching Sachin smash 140* against the Kenya attack and I remember because John Smiths was 50p a pint in the Student Union. I don’t recall how the game ended.
You will remember this World Cup fondly though, as I do, for the England team song being released after the team had been eliminated. For the record, Tendulkar’s strike rate was 138.
By the time Sachin moves onto December 2001, I am applying for graduate jobs and watching repeats of “This Life” in which Egg is doing the same.
Yet another Tendulkar hundred is chalked up, against England again, but this time at Ahmedabad.
I recall being forced to miss this one to attend an interview for a job I unfortunately got. Craig White also scored a hundred in that game.
As you look through more recent milestones, the names of Tendulkar’s teammates and opposition become increasingly familiar, as do the clarity of the memories in the barometer.
2005 was a quiet year for the Little Master, but we can all remember what happened in 2005, can’t we?
That’s right, the Sherminator was born and Paul Collingwood was on the Queen’s honours list for blocking (Brigadier, thanks Bob) the Aussies out for an hour at the Oval.
When Tendulkar hit a brilliant double hundred against Australia at Bangalore in 2010 I remember this very clearly, as I have no doubt my lovely wife will do too, as being during my honeymoon.
Coincidentally, this then leads Sachin into a loss of form and an agonising wait for that elusive hundredth hundred.
He finally got there in March 2012 at Mirpur, and I can correlate his enormous relief with moving into my current house.
Sachin Tendulkar will play his last Test against West Indies in the middle of November, chalking up his 200th Test appearance in the process.
You might be able to remember some of them, maybe all of them even, but however many you can remember, 200 will be the end.
All that leaves now is to work out who will be the constant in the lives of the next generation of cricket fans?
It has to be Joe Root really, doesn’t it? I wonder what I’ll be doing when he gets his hundredth international hundred?
BY GRAHAM SHORTER
*Article by Graham Shorter originally published in 2013 (on another version of cricketyorkshire.com so many won’t have read this).