Sachin’s international career began in 1989. To truly grasp how long he has been playing, let’s take a look at what’s happened in India since then.
The only TV channels we had in India were Doordarshan’s channels. Zee TV, the first satellite channel, was still a few years away from launch.
Indian Airlines was the only domestic airline: East West Airlines, Damania Airways, ModiLuft and NEPC, all of which are now defunct, launched 1992 onwards.
Pepsi launched in India a few months before Sachin’s debut, and there was no Coke available. Coke re-entered India in 1993. When Sachin first played for India, Thums Up, Campa Cola, Gold Spot, Limca and Citra were the biggest carbonated beverage brands in the country.
The only cars available in India, then, were Maruti, Ambassador, Premier Padmini and the Standard Rover.
Days after Sachin made his debut, Rajiv Gandhi resigned as prime minister of India and VP Singh took charge a few days later. The BJP was then the third largest party in India, behind the Congress and the Janata Dal.
Wisden’s cricketers of the year were Kim Barnett, Jeff Dujon, Phil Neale, Franklyn Stephenson and Steve Waugh.
The top grossing films of the year included Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, Dead Poets Society, Honey, I shrunk the kids and Ghostbusters II. Driving Miss Daisy won the best picture award at the Oscars.
In music, Madonna was rocking the world with Like a prayer, Phil Collins regaled us with Another day in paradise, and Roxette rocked with The Look. Bill Joel started the fire with We didn’t start the fire.
The DVD had not been invented yet. CDs were new and rare in India.
Maine Pyar Kiya was the biggest grossing Bollywood film of the year.
Alain Prost won the F1 championship in 1989, while Boris Becker won Wimbledon.
Ayatollah Khomeini places a $3 million bounty for the death of Salman Rushdie for writing The Satanic Verses. Shashi Tharoor wrote The Great Indian Novel.
Outlook magazine had not yet launched.
Only one phase of the Calcutta Metro was in operation; the Delhi Metro was still more than a decade away. The Konkan railway was but an idea. There were no expressways in the country. The second Hooghly bridge was still under construction and the Bandra Worli Sea Link was not yet thought of.
Prince William was seven years old and Prince Harry was five.
Margaret Thatcher was the prime minister of the UK, Ronald Reagan had just completed his presidency of the USA, and Geroge H W Bush had taken over. Benazir Bhutto was president of Pakistan (her first term).
Titan was a two-year old watch company, way behind leader HMT.
There were no multiplexes in India. No Mcdonald’s, No Pizza Hut, No Domino’s, not even a Café Coffee Day. Shoppers Stop had not yet launched, and Crossword had just a few stores in the country.
The official name of Kolkata was still Calcutta, and would remain so till 2001. It was still Bombay officially, till 1995. Madras was Madras, till 1996.
And, finally, to underline how much things have changed in Sachin’s career timespan, take a look at the prices of fuel in 1989. On 1 April 1989, petrol cost Rs 8.50 per litre, diesel Rs 3.50, kerosene Rs 2.25 and, hold your breath, an LPG cylinder just Rs. 57.60.
Things and times have changed, Sachin.