He has been around for over two decades now and it still appears as if he has just stepped into international cricket. His enthusiasm for the game remains the same even to this day. And, he trains like no other cricketer and takes his practice sessions seriously. That is Tendulkar for you. He never drops his guard nor takes any rival or any match lightly.
Cricket is all about runs and wickets and for the statistically-minded, the Master Blaster has provided them a lot to work with and delighted them more often than not. The numbers that he has stacked up are humongous, to say the least. A staggering 15,470 runs in Test cricket embellished by 51 centuries and an even more mind-boggling 18,374 runs in ODIs to go with 49 tons, make him one of the greatest players to have ever handled a cricket bat. Those figures would indicate the hard work he has put in throughout his stupendous career, in which he has served Indian cricket and starred in many a memorable win.
However, Tendulkar is more than just the mountain of runs and tons. He is God of cricket, as many would say. He can commit no wrong and he is seen as the embodiment of perfection, so to speak. For many, he is the be-all and end-all of cricket in India. Before the arrival of the likes of Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, Sourav Ganguly and a few others, he was the man carried the burden of an entire nation's cricketing hopes. Yet, he continues to be the beacon and retired Aussie opener Matthew Hayden while paying tribute to the Little Master said: 'He has been scrutinised, reflected upon. He is one of the greatest cricketers of all time. He is the King of India.'
For a man who is under enormous pressure thanks to the sheer weight of expectation, it must be said Tendulkar doesn't let it show. He just goes about his routine and keeps piling up the runs, no matter the conditions or setting or country. He has scored tons of runs against Australia, probably the toughest opponents of his generation as the West Indies were a spent force by the time the Mumbai ace made an entry.
Despite the longevity and the runs that Tendulkar has amassed, he seemingly was put under pressure all the time. Most importantly, he was in constant media focus for nearly a year now as the much-anticipated 100th international ton took some time to come.
No one can be sure if the man himself was under any amount of strain on account of his inability to reach the landmark, but the ubiquitous talk on the impending milestone might have even shaken the bravest cricketer.
Reaching a 100 international centuries is no joke. His achievements, both in Test cricket and ODIs are out-of-the-world and may never be matched at all, going by rampant decrease in the number of Tests played and clamour to reduce ODIs even as the cash-rich T20 format goes viral.
It is to his credit that Tendulkar has overcome all the attendant pressures being made to bear upon him and racked up runs and maintaining his poise at all junctures.
Now, that he has completed a ton of tons, the focus is most certainly set to turn on another approaching milestone. He is one century away form a half-century of tons in ODIs and that will give the ever-hungry media another chance to whip up some emotions.
His success has not changed him a bit, it is repeated often by his fellow players and greats and that sets him apart from the rest of the tribe. He is without doubt one of the greatest ever and is certainly a 'King' in India. Long live the king.