Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar has become the first Indian to feature on the cover of the ‘Bible of Cricket’, the Wisden Cricketers’ Almanack.
Tendulkar, 40, retired from international cricket last year after a storied career spanning a quarter century.
The image on the cover of the 151st edition of the Almanack shows Tendulkar walking out of Mumbai’s famous Wankhede stadium after scoring 74 against the West Indies in his final innings in Test cricket in November.
Often described as the “most complete” batsman of his time and the most prolific, Tendulkar played a staggering 200 Tests and nearly 500 One Day Internationals during his 24-year career, scoring almost 35,000 international runs.
“Sachin simply picks himself,” said Lawrence Booth, Editor of Wisden. “His status and influence on the game are beyond question.
“Wisden is delighted to add its own tribute to an exceptional career in this year’s Almanack.”
Above all however, Wisden said Tendulkar had had to play “in front of the most demanding fans in the world”, fans who granted the diminutive batsman God-like status.
But whilst celebrating India’s favourite cricketing son, Wisden also criticized the manner in which cricket was being “corrupted” by administrators in India – the “one country powerful enough to exploit” the beautiful game.
In his editorial, Booth condemned the Board of Control for Cricket in India – the richest and most powerful body in world cricket – and its ‘functionaries’, the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Cricket Australia – for exploiting its power to gain control of an “ever-larger” slice of international revenues.
Referring to a plan put together by India, England and Australia earlier this year, Booth said: “The boards of India, England and Australia had quietly crafted a document which claimed to safeguard the game’s future while more obviously safeguarding their own.
“In sum, the BCCI wanted an even larger slice of the ICC pie, and the ECB and Cricket Australia happily acquiesced, knowing their portion would grow too. The rest were assured they would be better off. And who could object to a world with more money for everyone?
“Here was a colonial style divide and rule. Here was the realpolitik of modern cricket. It was hard to read this any other way: the rich would be getting a whole lot richer.”
“At its heart lay the BCCI’s desire not merely to oust the ICC (International Cricket Council) as the game’s governing body but to wean themselves, eventually, off all but the most lucrative international fixtures, and to create more space for domestic Twenty20”, Booth adds.
The Wisden Cricketer’s Almanack is available on Thursday.