The thing about being an Indian cricket fan is that even when the odds are stacked in our favour, we’ve always feared the worst. Even when we can see the finish line in the horizon, we always expect to be denied at the final hurdle.

And you can’t blame us for that. We’ve been through far too many heartbreaks, far too many sufferings. Anyone who watched Indian cricket in the 90s has endured enough pain for one lifetime and knows better than to get ahead of themselves. 

Which is why I didn’t really believe it even when Tendulkar crossed the 150 mark at the Captain Roop Singh Stadium in Gwalior against South Africa that 200 was indeed on the cards.


It might sound stupid now considering many others have achieved the landmark but getting a double ton in an ODI wasn’t isn’t all that easy. 

For starters, each team gets 300 balls per innings so we can assume that the batsman in question will face half of those. Achieving 200 runs in 150 balls means you have to bat with a strike rate of 133. In other words, you have to take risks throughout the innings.

And at 36, you have to take into account factors like fatigue and cramps. The pitch, the size of the stadium and the opposition also play a huge part. 

Everything has to fall into place and luck has to be on your side. 


Long story short, while 200 in an ODI always seemed plausible, it didn’t seem entirely possible.

If I had to put my money on someone getting a 200, it would’ve been Sehwag. But if you were to ask me who I wanted to score a double ton, it would always be Sachin. But like I said, I was never going to get ahead of myself. 

There had been a 186 way back in 1999, but it was the 175 against Australia in 2009 that broke my heart. Sachin had looked all set for a double ton that day and India had looked all set for a win. But as was always the case, neither happened. 

Tendulkar had been run out cheaply in the series opener against South Africa so coming in to the second ODI at Gwalior, there was nothing that suggested something big was going to happen. 


But it was as though Tendulkar had handpicked the 24th of February, 2010. It was as though the universe had aligned itself for Tendulkar to rewrite history.

One of the best bowling attacks was given the treatment as Sachin dismantled the likes of Dale Steyn (who gave away 89 runs) and Wayne Parnell (95). He hit 23 boundaries and 3 sixes as he absolutely decimated the opposition. And when he crossed the then record score of 194 in the 46th over, it looked like he was going to cruise to a double ton.

But he had been cramping ever since he passed the 150-run mark and MS Dhoni was on a rampage of his own, facing the bulk of the deliveries in the death overs. The skipper’s 35-ball blitz of 68 looked like it was going to cost Sachin the landmark, and the Gwalior crowd was getting restless. 

I too was getting impatient in front of the television.

But at long last, in the final over of the match, Sachin was on a strike on 199. He took a single and that was that. 200 runs in a One Day International. History had been made.

And it was a flawless innings. No big risks, no dropped catches. In fact, Tendulkar’s first six of the match had arrived when he was on 111.

India would go on to post 401/3, winning the match by a landslide 153 runs and thereby the series.


In retrospect, I feel like a fool for doubting whether Sachin would indeed get there. For a man who made a habit of scoring centuries, scoring two in one match was never going to be all that tough. 

In almost 40 years of ODIs, no one had ever hit a double ton. Pakistan’s Saeed Anwar had scored 194 in 1997 and Zimbabwe’s Charles Coventry had equalled that score in 2009. But 200 had always seemed one step too far. 

They said no man would ever score a double century in ODIs, so on this day in 2010, the God of Cricket decided to show the rest of us mere mortals how it’s done.