The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Why he is the Master

What makes a genius' Self-belief, the will to win, an aggressive defiance of all odds and an awe-inspiring presence in the minds of the rivals, and overall, an exceptional wealth of talent. These are the qualities that distinguish the extraordinary from the ordinary. When a genius goes on shouldering a nation’s dreams year after year, he becomes larger than life and finally, attains the status of a legend.

Well, Sachin Tendulkar is a living legend.

On Sunday he will be up against the McGraths and the Lees and it should not surprise one if an early onslaught from the Little Master could tilt the scales in India’s favour.But what sets him apart'

- The belief in himself, the will to win, the fear and respect of the rivals — he has it all.

- There is no singular thing to greatness. It is physical alertness, technique, wisdom, humility, patience, vision but more a confluence of these in one surging river of genius.

- He can see the ball so well that as soon as it leaves the bowler’s hand, he has decided — while lesser men are still deciding — where to go, back or forward. He is calm and never impeded by tension or indecision.

- Other men look rushed, he is unhurried and able to play any shot he desires. He has vision or what Ian Chappell calls “peripheral awareness”, a man who without looking already has a map of the field logged into his brain.

- It is not a question of pace but how to bowl it that is crucial when up against Sachin. Shoaib Akhtar learnt it the hard way and Lee could face the same humiliation on Sunday unless he has planned it out differently.

- His footwork and brute force are awesome to watch and his range of strokeplay makes him the most awkward of customers against whom to bowl, says Greg Chappell

- He has technique says Ravi Shastri, meeting the ball under the chin and the eyebrow where timing comes sweetest. “This is the best I have seen him since 1998 against Australia,” adds Shastri.

- Mentally strong, Sachin is at his best when confronted by a challenge. The Pakistanis experienced it in an adrenaline-surcharged atmosphere and it might be the Aussies’ turn to face the music. If Sachin can negate the potency of Lee, India have the batting talent to make an imposing total.

- The Aussies fear him the most because of his frequent and unparalleled success against them. He intimidates them and they know that his early departure will more or less ensure them the Cup for a record third time.

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