Sachin Tendulkar played cricket for more than two decades. During his glorious reign, there were many brilliant years where he dominated bowling attacks and plundered plenty of runs. But if you had to condense all that into a year, 1998 is the best you can get. The year was a ruthless demonstration of the legend’s batting skills, his unhindered batting aggression and the will to get on the top of the opposition bowling unit. Here’s the summary of his wonderful year.
India’s first assignment in the year was the Silver Jubilee Independence Cup in Bangladesh. Tendulkar struck three consecutive half-centuries in the tri-series that also included Pakistan. The knocks from Master Blaster that stood out were 67 (44) and 41 (26) against Pakistan.
Decimating the Aussies
Tendulkar was intent on taking the Kangaroos down and it is what he accomplished in this memorable Test series. In a tour game, he smashed a quickfire double-century against Australia in Brabourne Stadium, Mumbai. His 155* in Chennai in the first Test haunted Shane Warne. He followed it up with 79 in Kolkata and 177 in Bengaluru. India won the Test series 2-1.
ODIs were in vogue in April as Tendulkar featured in as many as 10 ODIs that month. At home, he racked up a century against Australia in Kanpur but had lean scores on either side of it. However, he still contributed with the ball and claimed 5/32 in Kochi.
The caravan then moved to Dubai for the Coca-Cola Cup. It was here that Sachin Tendulkar dished out the Desert Storm innings. Chasing Australia’s 284/7, India needed to get closer to the target to confirm their spot in the final. The batting legend waged a lone battle as he played a spectacular knock of 143. India fell short by 26 runs but reached the final.
Chasing 273 in the final, Tendulkar reprised his heroics. His 134 ensured India completed the target with six wickets remaining. He was named the Player of the Series for his magnanimous batting performance.
More tri-series, more hundreds
As the tournaments kept rolling, Tendulkar produced many more masterpieces with the bat. His next few centuries were 100* against Kenya in Kolkata, 128 against Sri Lanka in Colombo, 127* against Zimbabwe in Bulawayo, 141 against Australia in Dhaka and two more centuries against Zimbabwe in Sharjah. The last of those was 124* which came off just 92 balls. India raced to 197/0 in just 30 overs as a result of that.
Finishing on a high
The year came to an end in New Zealand. And Tendulkar finished it appropriately with another hundred. Following his 47 in the first innings, India’s prolific batter racked up 113 in Wellington. This was his 12th century of the year – most made by any batter in a single calendar year.
In total, Tendulkar featured in 39 matches which included 42 innings. He piled up 2541 runs at an average of 68.67 with a strike rate hovering along 93. His 12 centuries in a year is a world record which was accompanied by 8 half-centuries. The dazzling year was Tendulkar’s second year with 2000+ runs after 1996. He continued his sterling runs as he crossed 1900 international runs for the next four years consistently. In terms of the volume of runs scored, 1998 remains the zenith of Sachin Tendulkar.