Cricket fans reveal their ignorance about baseball when they describe Sachin Tendulkar as the Babe Ruth of his sport. Tendulkar is, in fact, even bigger than the Babe: To match Tendulkar's stature as the greatest batsman of all time, you'd have to combine Ruth with Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays. On Feb. 24 the 36-year-old superstar burnished his legend by achieving the cricketing equivalent of a five-homer game, scoring 200 runs in a one-day match against South Africa in Gwalior, India.
For the 1.5 billion cricket followers worldwide, it was a barrier-breaking moment to match Roger Bannister's sub-four-minute mile. (The previous high was 194.)
Tendulkar's latest accomplishment was deemed all but unattainable. In a one-day game each 11-man side bats 50 six-ball "overs," and a batter stays at the wicket until he is dismissed. Tendulkar got his 200 in 147 balls. Few players have scored at a more rapid clip; none have had the combination of skill and concentration to score so fast and stay on the pitch long enough to get to the magic number.
Practically a god in India, the Mumbai native is also a pretty good bowler and a top-notch fielder. Only 5'5", he is often called the Little Master. But put a bat in his hand, and he's a giant among giants.