Sometimes the last step in a long anticipated goal can be the hardest to obtain.
Just ask Sachin Tendulkar. Having scored ninety-nine test and one day hundreds, the great man has been so close now to becoming the first to the magical mark of one hundred hundreds.
No one else has got close. But that’s not surprising really. If it has become so challenging for a player rated as the second best batsman of all-time, then what hope do the rest have?
All that hard graft since he debuted in 1989 at the tender age of sixteen. Perspiration lost over many hours of toiling away on the cricketing arenas of the world. The man known as the little master deserves nothing more than to achieve something that mere mortals can only dream about.
Through it all, Tendulkar, who is an idol in his homeland of India, has had to deal with the suffocating attentions of a cricketing mad nation. Much like the coming of an unwanted and unloved season, pressure has presented itself regardless of whether wanted or not.
Not one to complain, the little Indian master blaster simply accepted his lot in life and continued on his merry way as he confidently strode into the annals of history as one of the true greats of the game.
It’s not like the good doesn’t outweigh the bad for him, though. A career that has allowed him to accrue a very healthy living financially, the chance to peruse a goodly sample of the planet whilst playing the game he loves. Yep, life is good.
And all with what appears to be a very sensible head on his shoulders.
This, of course, means that the art of the meltdown has never happened across the countenance of one of the games true gentlemen. Being a superstar, Tendulkar could have easily let fame and fortune go to his head.
But he didn’t. Instead, he contented himself with going about the highly entertaining (for him) task of plundering whichever bowling attack that was unlucky enough to come across the attentions of his fearsome talent at the time.
Despite all the carnage and destruction that he was often responsible for, Tendulkar has never forgotten that he is just another man on the street. Yes, a mightily talented one, but, all the same, one that in the end is just like the rest of us.
And that humility has made him what he is today. Genuine modesty has allowed him to keep aspiring to new heights. He has never forgotten that improvement welcomes us all into its heart, no matter the level of success one has attained.
The respect that he has garnered over time was there for all to witness as he entered the fray at the MCG today. The roar was deafening. There were the Indian fans in the crowd. Then there was a partisan Australian crowd. Yet one and all cheered the legend that is Sachin Tendulkar. It wasn’t just those at the ground, though. There were the millions of fans around the world with eyes only for Tendulkar, watching, waiting; ready to witness what they hoped would be that one hundredth hundred.
Sadly, it wasn’t to be this time. On 73, and looking comfortable, Peter Siddle got the little master with a goodun. Cleaned bowled with a ball that jagged back off the seam.
Even the best are not invincible, as we all found out today. But Tendulkar has built up copious amounts of goodwill over his tenure as this generation’s greatest batsmen.
And there will be no more deserving in the minds of fans when he finally scores that long awaited century.
It simply couldn’t happen to a nicer bloke.