Sachin Tendulkar’s journey with Mumbai Indians is only one-fourth of his cricket career, and it came to an end on October 6, 2013. But those six years comprise 99 percent of Tendulkar’s T20 stats, after he chose to quit the India T20 jersey playing just one international.
The Sachin-MI association is also weighty in terms of the motivation he’s been to the team’s youngsters. A Tendulkar nod in the nets for an Aditya Tare or an Ambati Rayudu can have medicinal effect. Clearly, Tendulkar’s presence more than his batting matters to Mumbai.
Whatever happens to his future association with the franchise, for now the man has bid adieu. And on this momentous day, let’s take a look at the great man’s T20 journey.
International T20 career
The only T20 Tendulkar played for India was the one-off game against South Africa in Johannesburg on December 1, 2006. In his 18-ball knock, Tendulkar, opening the innings with Virender Sehwag, contributed 10 runs that included two back-to-back boundaries. But soon after that, he decided to quit the format, leaving it to the youngsters teeming with the adrenaline this format demands.
Career in the IPL and CLT20
2008: IPL came to life in 2008, and when Mumbai Indians was formed as one of the franchise – owned by the Reliance Group, none other than Tendulkar could be its icon player and captain in the league’s inaugural season. The Mukesh Ambani-owned franchise signed him for a sum of $1,121,250, which was 15 per cent more than the second-highest paid player in the team, Sanath Jayasuriya, at the time. However, injuries shortened Tendulkar’s 2008 season as he was just available for seven matches in which he scored 188 runs at an average of 31.33 with one half century.
2009: The 2009 season was played in South Africa as it coincided with the multi-phase 2009 General Elections in India. Tendulkar notched up two fifties and ended with 364 runs in 13 matches at an average of 33.09. His knock of 68 against Kolkata Knight Riders was one of the highlights of the season.
Tendulkar was at his brutal best in that innings smashing six boundaries and four massive sixes, turning the clock back to his hey-days. The Mumbaikar also won his first Man-of-the-Match award in T20 cricket this season after his unbeaten 59 led Mumbai to victory against the 2008 runners-up Chennai Super Kings.
2010: Tendulkar enjoyed his best IPL season in 2010 when he won the Orange Cap with 618 runs in 14 matches at an average of 47.53, taking MI to the final. His 618 runs not only won him the Player-of-the-Tournament award but also helped him break Shaun Marsh’s record of most runs in an IPL season. He also won the best batsman and best captain awards at the 2010 IPL Awards ceremony. But Mumbai failed to shine in the inaugural season of CLT20 that year as they were eliminated at the group stage with two wins and two defeats in four matches. Sachin scored 148 runs in four matches with one fifty at an average of 38.
2011: At 38, Tendulkar did something many people thought he couldn’t, i.e., score a T20 hundred. It was one of the most flawless innings one will ever see in the shortest format of the game. Against the now-defunct Kochi Tuskers Kerala, Tendulkar slowly and steadily got into the his groove and played an innings contrary to many people’s belief in front of his home crowd at the Wankhede Stadium. He scored 553 runs that year at an average of above 40 with two fifties along with the ton. Tendulkar’s birthday during the year coincided with the sad demise of his spiritual guru Sathya Sai Baba. But, like a true sportsman, he continued to lead Mumbai Indians. Tendulkar opted out of CLT20 in 2011 with a toe injury but travelled with the team as a mentor. Harbhajan Singh was asked to captain and eventually led Mumbai to their maiden title.
2012: The fifth season of IPL was not a good one for Tendulkar. With age catching up, his reflexes showed signs of slowing down and questions were being asked whether he can still play this format. Tendulkar scored 324 runs in 13 matches at an average of less than 30. Though he scored two fifties, the master was nowhere near his best. The CLT20 brought even bad news for Tendulkar. He managed to score just 47 runs in four matches as Mumbai were eliminated at the group stage itself.
2013: The tournament saw what none could imagine: Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting – modern-day cricket’s two batting greats – walking out together to open a T20 innings. It was a moment that captured everybody’s attention and made headlines. But Tendulkar couldn’t do much with the bat, scoring just 287 runs at an average of 22.07. However, the team still managed to reach the final and win it, though Tendulkar sat out of the final due to a hand injury he picked earlier in the tournament. Moments after he celebrated the win running around the ground with the trophy, Tendulkar announced his retirement from the tournament, adding that the CLT20 will be his last appearance for MI.
The CLT20 was a forgettable one for Tendulkar – fetching him a paltry 70 runs in five knocks of 15, 5, 0, 35 and 15.
QUICK STATS: The-40-year-old represented Mumbai Indians in 96 matches, scoring 2797 runs at an average of 33.11, including one century and 16 fifties.