Sachin Tendulkar is the 14th most popular athlete on social media. Tendulkar has 7.5 million fans/followers between his Twitter and Facebook accounts. Though quite a few other cricketers have a presence on social media networks, none of them made it to the list.

In fact, Tendulkar is also the only Indian on the list. A big score for India and a big score for cricket – a sport played by very few countries. The list is dominated by soccer, followed by basketball, wrestling and tennis. Snowboarding, boxing (Floyd Mayweather Jr), golf (Woods), swimming  (Phelps), cricket (Tendulkar), cycling (Armstrong), and athletics (Usain Bolt) are the sports which had one representation each.

Is Sachin the most popular Indian athlete ever?
We all know that Sachin is a bigger brand than Gandhi. Going by the social media popularity, it sure looks like Sachin is the most popular Indian athlete. Of course, not all athletes had access to social media during their times which makes it hard to judge. But Sachin has been one of the longest playing athletes I have known. Tendulkar has made his debut in 1989 against a lethal Pakistani bowling attack. Since then he is a common presence and a mainstay in the Indian team. I can’t remember a match India played without Sachin Tendulkar for a significant period.

You don’t drop Sachin Tendulkar from the team. Tendulkar has to drop himself out.

This is year 2012. That makes it 23 years of Cricket for Sachin Tendulkar. I don’t know of any sports person who has endured for 23 years and was still at the top of his game. Not just cricket, but in any sport. Yet there is no recommendation of Bharat Ratna for Sachin Tendulkar. Names like Abhinav Bhindra, Dhyan Chand and Vishwanathan Anand were being proposed.

Of course the award itself is politically motivated and there are many undeserving candidates on the list. Maybe Sachin doesn’t need to join the ranks of one shot wonders.

Another interesting tidbit from the infographic is, only 2 women athletes are in the listMaria Sharapova and Serena Williams. Both play tennis.

Here’s the infographic of the 50 most popular athletes on social media.


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