24th February 2010 is a historic day for millions of people in the world.  Sachin Tendulkar became the first ever cricketer in the world to score a double century in one day internationals when he blasted an unbeaten 200 against the South Africans in the second one day international match at Gwalior.

On that historic day of 24th February 2010, I had come early from office as I was to travel by train to my native place.  I was planning to leave at 6 in the evening to catch the train after a nap of about a couple of hours.  When I switched on the television set before leaving home I saw the score card showing Sachin Tendulkar on 191.  I could hardly believe what I was seeing as I just got up from sleep.  Once it was confirmed that SachinTendulkar was on batting on 191,  I waited at home till Sachin reached double century.  I got delayed since Sachin was kept off strike by M S Dhoni who was plundering runs at will.  At about 6:15 Sachin got on to his double century and I immediately switched of the television set without even waiting for the innings to be completed.  Fortunately for me inspite of starting late I reached Railway Station well on time. The moment Sachin Tendulkar scored double century I was eager to write about it on Boddunan and I was keen to come back to Bangalore as soon as possible, see the highlights to write a article on Sachin's unique achievement. 

It is a known fact that the moment Sachin Tendulkar made his debut he was destined for greatness and Sachin Tendulkar achieved greatness much earlier than was anticipated.  Sachin was already a superstar when he was just in his teens tearing apart the best of bowling attacks in the world.  In fact Sachin Tendulkar was widely tipped to score a double century in one dayers very early in his career. However destiny had something else in store as he took almost five years to score his first ever century in one dayers though he was plundering runs with amazing consistency in Test Matches. Once Sachin got his first century in one dayers there was no stopping him and in fact twice he came very close to scoring a double century in one dayers.  The first instance was on 8th November 2009 at Hyderabad against New Zealand that Sachin opening the innings belted an unbeaten 186 of just 150 deliveries.  Sachin was on a rampage in the penultimate over of the innings when he smashed 28 runs of an over from C J Drum and was heading towards a double century but then was denied strike in the final over by Ajay Jadeja who took most of the strike thereby depriving Sachin of a double century.  The second instance was in Christchurch against New Zealand in the third one day when Sachin retired on 163 with five overs left in the Indian innings.

If there was ever a thing called destiny then it is Sachin getting to a double century after 20 years of international cricket.  In the first place not many cricketers last 20 years in international cricket and even if some body lasts they are not good enough to score centuries leave alone double centuries. 

In the last 10 years or so not many people in the world including the greatest of Sachin's fans would have thought Sachin would ever get to a double century though it was expected that Sachin would score centuries at will and at regular intervals.  Sachin after his initial days when he used to tear apart bowling attacks had settled into the role of a percentage player mixing caution with aggression while playing the odd innings of brutal aggression once in a way to bring back the memories of Sachin in his early days.

There is something interesting about Sachin's double century.  On 21st May 1997 Saeed Anwar had plundered 194 runs in a mere 146 deliveries of an hapless Indian attack at Chennai in a league match in Independence.  Saeed Anwar was well on way to his double century as he was batting on 194 with four overs left in Pakistan's innings.  It was Sachin the bowler who dismissed Saeed Anwar by having him caught by Sourav Ganguly thus depriving Saeed Anwar the honour of getting the first ever double century innings.  Now 13 years later SachinTendulkar the more deserving of the two got to that honour.  

What was special about Sachin's double century was he got to it when he was least expected to there.  Batsmen like Sehwag and Gayle and Gilchrist prior to his retirement were the ones who were favoured to get there because their game is built on raw aggression and they were given the licence to hit out bowling attacks by their team management while Sachin was given the role of a mentor and grafter.

What was special about Sachin's double century was the pace at which he got it.  Sachin got his runs of a mere 147 deliveries which means he was scoring two boundaries every year or 8.16 runs per over to be precise.  Sachin belted 25 boundaries and 3 sixes which meant he got 118 runs in boundaries which in itself is yet another century.  Prior to the start of series lot of written about Steyn being the fastest bowler in the world and true Steyn bowled very fast but the faster Steyn bowled to Tendulkar in the match, the faster the ball disappeared to the boundary. Sachins innings brought back past memories when the faster South African speedster Allan Donald bowled, the faster the ball reached the boundary.  Other speedsters like Bret Lee and Akthar met with the same fate with Steyn being the latest addition to that list.  

Four years back Greg Chappel had remarked that one cannot expect Tendulkar the same performances he was accustomed to giving in his early days as Chapel's contention was that Tendulkar does not possess the same reflexes or eyesight he once had in his career. Pakistan's Moin Khan too had once commented that Tendulkar is afraid of fast bowlers like Akthar.  Tendulkar's assault on the South African fast bowlers has the shut the mouth of his criticism forever.

There is another speciality about Sachins 200 at Gwalior.  Usually a score of 200 of a mere 147 deliveries looks brutal to the eye, but in this case the exeuction was clinical and the output classical and one of visual brilliance. Millions who saw on television and the more fortunate ones who were present in the stadium can tell future generations that they had the privilege of seeing the first ever double century in one dayers scored by the greatest cricketer of all time.

Records are meant to be broken and somebody may break Sachin's record because once a barrier is broken then others believe that they too can reach there.   If somebody breaks Sachin's record then the real compliment should go to Sachin himself because he was the one who would have put that inspiration in others that a 200 can be achieved in 50 overs.  So many centuries have been scored in one dayers but D L Amiss's 103 on 24th August 1972 cannot be forgotten because he was the first to score a century in one dayers and similarly Sachins unbeaten 200 cannot be forgotten because he was the first to reach there.  Not until somebody scores a 300 in one dayers can one claim that Sachin's record is truly broken.

It took 39 years and 50 days and 2962 one dayers to score the first ever 200 in a one dayer and nobody deserved the honour than our very own Sachin Tendulkar, the pride of India and admired by millions all across the world. 


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