17 June, 2021

Marquee Man Extraordinaire

Awe, fear, respect...he inspires it all among us Australians

Illustration by Sorit
Marquee Man Extraordinaire

Until Sachin Tendulkar travelled to Australia, India’s touring sides were viewed by the locals more as a group of men from an exotic land than an outfit to be treated seriously. Of course, the generalisation was grossly unfair towards a proud nation with a diverse and inspiring history—as well as being a production line for artistic cricketers. But it is all the more reason to praise Tendulkar. Not only did he create wide-eyed spectators with on-field deeds, but he opened minds away from the ground.

Instead of Test series with India being viewed as part of the interval between Australia’s major battles against England, South Africa and the West Indies, the engagements were quickly upgraded to marquee status from the middle of Tendulkar’s career. In the 44 years before his first Test against Australia, in Brisbane in 1991, the sides had contested 11 Test series. The recently completed campaign was the 12th in which Tendulkar had appeared against opponents wearing the baggy green.

Those dramatic schedule changes weren’t solely the doing...

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