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One of the benefits of having a long, fruitful career is that beyond a certain point, virtually every match you play sees a new record being created. Watching Sachin Tendulkar pile up batting records at a dizzying rate, the questions arise: are there any landmarks he doesn't own? And are the ones he holds unassailable?

A closer look at the stats shows that there are, in fact, some major landmarks that Sachin may never attain. There are others which he can be safely expected to topple within a year. And there are plenty of records that he has held for some time already. Can they be overtaken in the near future? Well, when Sunil Gavaskar retired, many felt his remarkable records of 34 Test tons and 10,122 runs would survive for a very long time. Unfortunately, they didn't.

Given the steep rise in batting averages - thanks to superior equipment, increasingly bowler-unfriendly conditions and greater emphasis on scoring fast - as well as the volume of cricket played now, Sachin's records are unlikely to last for posterity. But the more he plays, the harder it will become for someone else to eventually overtake him. And whoever does will be a very, very tired man.

Sachin in Tests

Making predictions on anything to do with cricket is always hazardous. Still, it seems safe to bet that there will be at least two Test batting records Sachin will never own. The first is a landmark that is virtually cricket's Holy Grail: Sir Donald Bradman's stunning career average of 99.94, which no one has ever come close to breaching. Among currently active cricketers who have played at least 20 innings, Michael Hussey averages 79.85, but he's only played 16 Tests, and his average will almost certainly dip as he plays more. Ricky Ponting (59.29), Jacques Kallis (56.74), Rahul Dravid (56.70) and Mohammad Yousuf (55.74) all do better than Sachin (54.92). With just four double centuries, Sachin is also a long way away from the Don's record of 12 double tons.

The other landmark that Sachin will find very difficult to reach is that of the highest score in a single innings. Interestingly, the top four scores have all been notched up during Sachin's career. His great rival, Brian Lara, has both the highest and third highest scores: 400 not out and 375, respectively. Matthew Hayden has the second highest score, 380, and Mahela Jayawardene boasts a career-best score of 374. At 248 not out, Sachin's top score isn't even the best by an Indian. That's 309, by Virender Sehwag. Sachin could still come up with the best innings of his life. But with each passing day, it becomes more unlikely.

There's one other achievement Sachin hasn't managed so far - most runs in a calendar year. That record is held by Mohammad Yousuf (1,788 runs in 2006), who overtook Sir Vivian Richards (1,710 in 1976). Ricky Ponting has both the third and fourth best years (1,544 in 2005 and 1,503 in 2003). Sachin's best year ever (1,392 runs in 2002), puts him at No. 8 on this list. Could he still have a great year and upstage Yousuf? It's not impossible. But given his form of late, it's not wildly probable. The same applies to the prospects of his ever hitting six sixes in an over.

Touching Distance: Having played 140 Tests, Sachin should go on to break Steve Waugh's record of playing 168 Tests. The only other man to play more Tests than him is Allan Border, who played 156 Tests and scored 11,174 runs, just 24 more than Sachin's tally of 11,150. Sachin should overtake Border, cross Brian Lara's record of 11,953 runs, and become the first man to score 12,000 Test runs. After that? If - and that's a big if - he can sustain his present average and play about 40 Tests more, 15,000 runs is not out of the questions.

Could that be overtaken? Among his contemporaries, Rahul Dravid has 9,492 runs, Ricky Ponting has 9,368 and Jacques Kallis has 8,795. Dravid is going through a lean patch, but could bounce back. Both Ponting and Kallis have been in great form in the recent past. Ponting is only a year younger than Sachin, Kallis two years. But they've suffered less wear and tear than Sachin, who's played international cricket much longer. So, they're likely to play on well after Sachin retires. Could either of them eventually get to 15,000? It'll be fascinating to watch.

With 45 half-centuries, Sachin is a distant second behind Allan Border (63) for the record of having scored most 50s. However, if you add his centuries to calculate 50-plus scores, the gap narrows - Border has 90, Sachin 82. Interestingly, both Dravid (48) and Kallis (46) have more 50s than Sachin, but less 50-plus scores (72 each), which shows that Sachin has done better at converting half-centuries into centuries. The champion converter, though, is Ponting - 69 scores of 50-plus, of which he converted 33 into tons.

In The Bag: Sachin already has the most Test centuries - 37, ahead of Sunil Gavaskar and Brian Lara (joint second with 34). Unfortunately, Ponting isn't too far behind with 33, and the chances are he'll play for at least a couple of years after Sachin retires. Hayden has 27 and Kallis 26. Hayden is unlikely to play more than another couple of years, but Kallis, at 32, could have four-five years more.

One-Day Internationals

In ODIs too, Sachin hasn't got either the highest career average or highest score. Among players who've played more than 20 innings, the top three career averages belong to Hussey (58.90), Michael Bevan (53.58) and Kevin Pietersen (50.23). Sachin trails way behind at 44.22. He doesn't have the highest score either - a record held by Saeed Anwar (194), but at least he comes in at No. 5 (186 not out, also the highest by any Indian). It's unlikely Sachin's average will improve dramatically enough to take him into 50-plus territory, but it's dangerous to write off his chances of topping his ODI career-best score.

In The Bag: Sachin has several ODI records, and his lead over his rivals is staggering. He holds the record for scoring the most ODI runs in a calendar year (1,894 in 1998). With over 15,600 runs in ODIs, he has over 3,000 runs more than his closest active rival, Sanath Jayasuriya (12,181). Sourav Ganguly (11,188), Dravid (10,578), Ponting (10,449) and Kallis (9,144) are the other active players with over 9,000 runs. With 41 tons, Sachin is also way ahead of Jayasuriya (25 centuries, 402 ODIs), the only man to play more matches than him - a record Sachin should overtake.

With 84 half-centuries, Sachin is barely ahead of Dravid (81). But throw in his 41 tons and he gets a total of 125 scores of 50-plus - a different class altogether from the likes of Dravid (93), Ganguly (also 93), Jayasuriya (89) and Ponting (85). If Sachin plays ODIs for a couple of years more, he could set records that would be very hard to overtake. That should be enough motivation for him to keep playing ODIs despite the battering his body is undoubtedly taking.