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Monday, March 21, 2011

Sachin Tendulkar puts integrity above quest for 100th ton

Sachin Tendulkar did not get his 100th ton on Sunday but even his early dismissal was evidence of the integrity with which he has played the game for over two decades.

Against the West Indies on Sunday, Sachin decided to walk off despite being given not out by Australian umpire Steve Davies

A quarterfinal place had already been sealed, Virender Sehwag was ruled out of the game, yet the MS Chidambaram Stadium was jam-packed an hour before the game started. When India won the toss, the excitement reached its peak, "Will Sachin get his 100th hundred here?"

Kemar Roach was not there and the West Indian attack wore a pedestrian look. The stage was nicely set up for Tendulkar and the 39,000 present at the ground went wild with anticipation when they saw the Little Master walking out to bat. But a Ravi Rampaul delivery in the very first over beat the champion and as the West Indian fielders appealed vociferously, umpire Davies nodded his head in disagreement. There was a sigh of relief in the stands but Tendulkar had other ideas. He turned back and started walking back as a stunned silence descended on the ground.

There have been many Tendulkar hundreds and many dismissals, but this was something out of the ordinary. Not too many players have walked when the stakes have been this high, the last being the legendary Aussie wicketkeeper batsman Adam Gilchrist.

"That is the greatness of the man. But I don't think this is the first time Tendulkar has walked...I have seen him doing it before," former India player WV Raman told TOI. "Sachin has always been a gentleman cricketer and if he believes in something, he will do it," Raman said.

From the various replays that were shown, it was difficult to gauge whether Tendulkar had actually got the nick. With the Hotspot not being in use for the World Cup, it was a possibility that even if the decision was referred, it could have gone in Sachin's favour!

Did Tendulkar forget about that and thought that he would be given out if it was referred? Former international umpire VK Ramaswamy said, "I don't think so. I have seen Tendulkar walking before. He had walked because he was convinced in his mind that he was out. He is an honest cricketer and he always believes in maintaining the spirit of the game."

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