Harsha Bhogle, one of the wittiest cricket commentators of all time, once remarked, “One of the problems you face being Tendulkar is that you are condemned to be compared with Tendulkar.” The master blaster is in the news again, and this time it’s not for the best of reasons. Sachin Tendulkar has played the highest number of matches in the history of the game. However, in the upper house of Parliament his attendance is abysmally low at 7%. These figures are out there for the world to see.
But Sachin Tendulkar has made another record which the world has failed to notice, and which has something to do with the stock markets. While Sachin Tendulkar and Sunil Gavaskar are the masters of the game, Harsha Bhogle is a master in the commentary box. An IIM-A alumnus, Bhogle has made a name for himself without actually padding up for a single delivery!
Gavaskar invested in bank FDs
While comparing the two greats of different eras, Harsha Bhogle once said, “As India’s economy changed, Tendulkar is a product of a new economy whereas Gavaskar was a product of a licensed, socialism driven economy. He (Gavaskar) batted like he had bank deposits whereas Tendulkar bats like he’s playing on the equity markets.” With these lines, Harsha Bhogle in one stroke managed to capture the performances of the two cricketing stalwarts, as well as the performance of the two varied asset classes: bank fixed deposits and equity.
Sunil Gavaskar, the first man on the planet to get 10,000 runs, had been more of a test match player, with a total of 10,122 runs in 125 Test Matches, with a strike rate of 66.04. The anomaly here being that his test match strike rate was greater than his strike rate in ODIs (one-day international). Sunil Gavaskar, in his 108 ODI matches has scored 3,092 runs at a strike rate of 62.26. On the other hand, commonly referred to as the ‘God of cricket’, Sachin Tendulkar amassed 18,426 runs in 463 ODI (one-day international) matches. What is even more jaw dropping is the strike rate of 86.24 in ODI’s.
Tendulkar’s batting beat Sensex betting
While Sachin Tendulkar may have the accomplishment of holding the most number of records, there’s one more which has gone unnoticed. The man, with a century of centuries, has actually outperformed the Indian equity benchmark BSE Sensex in his lifetime, without anybody taking note. Let’s explore the possibility.
The Sensex came into existence on Apr 1 1979, with a base value of 100. More than a decade later, the master blaster made his debut in ODI cricket on 18th December 1989. At that time the Sensex had crawled to 772.83. In just 36 sessions (matches), Tendulkar notched up his first 1,000 runs in a match against Zimbabwe on 7 March 1992. The Sensex was three-and-a-half times ahead at 3,547 points as on that date.
Continuing with his game, Sachin Tendulkar later reached the 4,000-run milestone on 17 April 1996, in his 115th ODI against South Africa. Only this time, Sensex was trailing him, closing at 3,590. Not only this, while Sachin Tendulkar’s meteoric rise continued, and he became the first ODI batsman to hit the 5-digit mark completing 10,000 runs, the proxy for performance of equity markets was still hovering at 3,600 levels. The chart above shows the position of Sensex at Sachin Tendulkar’s every 1,000-run haul.
A brief pause, and back to the game
Though, it’s important to note that while Sachin’s cumulative runs in ODI could only go upward, the equity benchmark index doesn’t have that luxury and moved in either direction. Having said that, the benchmark often throws up surprises of unprecedented gains! In fact, on 18 May 2009, the Sensex posted its biggest ever gain of over 2,100 points in just one-minute trade as investors went into frenzied buying after a decisive verdict in the general elections. Comparatively, the highest Sachin has made in a single match is 200*. Lest anybody argues that he could’ve made more, it’s imperative to take cognisance of the fact the he was the first to achieve the milestone.
The Sensex did outperform Sachin Tendulkar and surged in the later half of the first decade in the new millennium, reaching 18,663, even as the master blaster disturbed the record books to surpass 16,000 runs on 5 February 2008. But the master of his game soon overturned it. Sachin Tendulkar went past 18,000-run mark in ODIs during India’s World Cup quarter-final match against Australia on 24th March 2011, in his 451st ODI. At that time, Sensex had tumbled to 17,451.
The day when Sachin would pad up in national colours for the last time came on 18 March 2012. The master blaster finished his illustrious career with stellar runs totalling to 18,426 in 463 ODIs, with 49 centuries, imprinting each figure in the record books. The score at Sensex was 17,273.
What started out as a catch up game for Tendulkar, came around with Sachin at the top of it. At the end, Sachin came out victorious, but no surprises there. If only we had a Sachindex, mimicking the cumulative runs scored by the master, we would be better off!