Maybe since the 24th of April 1998, Sachin hasn't had a match to celebrate his birthday with, though I guess there may have been a WI test which I've forgotten. Nevertheless, I guess no one can forget the way Sachin demolished Aus then, with the other birthday-mate Damien Fleming on the receiving end.
Excerpt of the article from rediff:
"I am basically here to thank everyone who has shown affection to me. It really surprises me — you are so consistent and I'm not," he said referring to the now almost annual ritual of reporters waiting outside his house with cake on his birthdays.
"It is something special. It is not a burden for me."
Wasim on Sachin:
Sachin Tendulkar: An “unbowlable'' batsman of my era
On Monday, Sachin Tendulkar will be all of 33 years. Even with nine lives most cricketers still wouldn't be able go beyond the foothills of his achievements. Yet, there is a call for his head. The Gulliver of our times is being held down by the Lilliputians. Liberate him and you could still enjoy the genius of this man.
I have no time for all these tales coming out of India: Tendulkar is finished; he can't face up to short-pitched bowling; he is being "carried" in the team; he should choose between the two forms of the game; his injured frame is somehow being held together and horror of horrors, the time has come to look beyond him. From being the toast of the nation for a decade and a half, it would now appear as if he stands between the team and a golden future. Shame on all!I sometimes wonder if all this affects Tendulkar. Beyond the profile of equanimity in public, he is after-all a human and it must hurt. This kind of bigotry usually stirs champions to life. It always did to me; I would swear under the breath — and sometimes audibly — to spark myself to life. So those who are writing off Tendulkar must do so at their own peril. They shouldn't have any qualms in eating their own words.
Tendulkar has clearly been one of the three best batsmen I have ever seen on a cricket field. I would rate him along with Sir Vivian Richards and Sunil Gavaskar as the `unbowlable' batsmen of my era.I remember there was a time when I would question my ability only because Gavaskar was still not in my bag. Finally I had him in Hyderabad — caught at second slip! The memory of it is still so refreshing. With Tendulkar too we always went to the field thinking if we get him, we would be through. And so it was most times!
Better than Lara
I would even rate Tendulkar as better than Brian Lara. The world can swoon over the records and mercurial ability of the West Indian but for me Tendulkar brings infinite value to the dressing room. You judge a man by the respect he gets within his own set of men. Tendulkar is beyond reproach on this issue; Lara would only set the tongues wagging.
Too much is being made of his injuries. It is not unnatural for a long-serving sportsman to fall foul with fitness. I too was beset with scores of injuries in my career; if it was not the groin, then the hamstring; if it wasn't the shoulder, then the knees. But I kept rousing myself from the surgeon's table and doing my stuff on the field. Tendulkar would do likewise.
Tendulkar is not old. I mean he is only 33 which is not the autumn for a top class batsman and he certainly has more years of cricket left in him. He doesn't have to choose between one-day or Test cricket: if Inzamam-ul-Haq can do so at the age of 36, Tendulkar, who is fitter and more agile, can surely do no worse.
Tendulkar's passion on the field is so palpable: it's not the sight of a cricketer who is on his last leg. It is also utter nonsense to suggest he is no longer up to short-pitched bowling. Piece of cake that is what it is to him.
Tendulkar is out of touch, his footwork may not be the best at the moment but it doesn't out a question mark on his ability. He is just one innings away from good form. Still, I would advise him to go out and enjoy his one-day cricket. He has put too many shackles on himself. Tendulkar appears too concerned with playing the proper shot and staying till the end rather than flow with the mood and spirit of limited overs cricket.
In a way, this is the time he should do it. There is no dearth of daredevils in the Indian team and the pressure is off him. He no longer needs to get weighed down by the burden of his team. Tendulkar can return to his roots that of breathless audacity. The bowlers would have nowhere to run; as should be the case with these hopeless critics!
Of all the great sights on the cricketing field, one of them is to see Tendulkar, enthusiastically running up to the batsmen with drinks, as though he's trying to impress some of the seniors for a place in the side. Show me one more man with more schoolboy-like enthusiasm for cricket! I've even heard of Sachin being 12th man and running into the field to substitute for a bowler in a tour game! For a man, nay, boy with that enthusiasm, he will certainly play for very long!
Good luck, Sachin, and yes, happy birthday!