Wednesday, March 22, 2006

It is not about Sachin, it is about us

I was 14 when he made his debut at the age of 16 against Imran Khan, Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis in test cricket. It was in an exhibition match (a 20-20 match 20 years too early) that he showed us what he is capable of, hitting Abdul Qadir out of the attack with a 18 ball 53. More importantly, he showed us what is possible. Then came the final test where he was hit in the nose by a Waqar Younis lifter. He was bleeding, but refused to leave the ground and hit the next ball for a four. It gave us the satisfaction of punching the school bully.

From then on, we hitched ourselves to him. He became the icon of our generation. No, we used to call him God. He was out there batting for us, showing us what is possible with skill and attitude. His successes became ours. From his first test century at Headingley, to his first match as opener in an ODI (again he showed us what is possible, with a 48 ball 84), it was us out there. When Shane Warne said he had nightmares about Sachin, we felt as if we had beat our boss in his game (by now we were in the corporate world). Sachin's millions, his Ferrari - it was all ours.

The first hint of immortality came during his greatest knock, the 136 against Pakistan in Chennai. In the second innings, leading the team within 17 runs of an improbable victory. That was when we knew that even Gods fail. Still, we blindly kept adoring him. His upper cut of Shoaib Akhtar in 2003 worldcup assured us, the old man(blasphemy) is still the best. That we could still compete with youngsters and be counted. His form has been erratic over the last year, but still we don't want to believe that he might be past his prime. For if he is past his prime, so are we. You see, it was never about him, it was about us

22 comments:

smiley said...

growing old gracefully :)Have to realise that

ashok said...

hmmmmm..maybe

tilotamma said...

I have never heard this "past their prime" phrase used in context with men beofre but given that this is a sportsman we are talking about - it feels very effective.

Nice - I remembers moms being a little upset when he married a woman older than himself 11 years ago. Of course, she is a doctor and was a great choice even by their standards - still.

I said...

All said, Tendulkar has been over rated..at least as a Test batsman. Averages don't tell the real story. With the exception of the 119* at Old Trafford in 1990-91, he has not produced that gritty match-saving or match-winning knock in the final innings of a Test match.

Like Mike Atherton's 185* at J'burg, defying a fiery Donald for 10 hours. Or Ponting's 156 to save the Ashes Test at Old Trafford. Or Brian Lara's memorable 153* against the Aussies, playing predominantly with the tail, in the greatest Test match ever, at Barbados.

Tendulkar came close to an epic innings of such magnitude when he made 136 at Madras. But that was a losing effort. And a miss is as good as a mile. Playing on a 5th day wicket and winning/saving a test is the ultimate thing that differentiates a great player from a good one. And Tendulkar has not done that, ever.(save OT 90-91).

Ofcourse, I am not talking about his technique or talent. Not that I think its the best but its just another story.

Deepa said...

you are oh so right but still the realization doesn't come that easily

Anonymous said...

Someone who understands cricket will never say Tendulkar was overrated.

No doubt Lara, Ponting and Tendulkar are all great batsman. Tendulkar might not have played with Tail to win / save a match for India. He has definitely played many delightful match winning and savings Innings for India.

As Chenthil pointed it is we, especially Indian Cricket fans(!), who are at fault.

We expect this man to score century every match and we expect this match to win every match for India and we expect this man to win every match single handledly and we expect this man to play with tail to prove his grittiness..

Grow up chaps. Learn to appreciate the talent.

Anonymous said...

That was a neatly written one.very true indeed

b a l a j i said...

very true....but sachin is like superstar for us...

just like how we cannot accept "superstar" dying in a movie, the same way we cannot accept sachin falling to the depths he has....

certainly its in us

Rajaram S said...

"Sachin's millions, his Ferrari - it was all ours." - Would be interesting to hear sachin's comments on this :-)

Personally, i would prefer his cricketing skills to be mine !

Chenthil said...

Smiley, true. Atleast he is ageing gracefully, unlike us :-)

Ashok, hmmmmmm

Tilo, every single action of his is scrutinised. Sometimes I shudder at what goes on in his mind.

AAT, death to you :-).

Deepa, same case here.

Anon 1, this argument has no end.

Anon 2, thanks.

Balaji, I hate Superstar, so can't agree with you on that.

Rajaram - what I meant was we didn't feel jealous of him for his millions or Ferrari. We felt that he deserved it. And regarding cricketing skills, you are asking for too much :-)

I said...

u mean the Ferrari that he did not pay import duties on? Oh yes I remember, now.

Anon 1, how about supporting ur arguements with facts?

And I remember at Cape Town 96-97 he got out after making a run-a-ball century when the emphasis was on batting a little more than a day to save the match.

Nilu said...

AAT,
tell me why should I not be a fan of just an on-drive and just be a fan of the entire batsman? why should I care if wins games by himself or not?

I said...

Well, Nilu, u can. But from a neutral perpective he'd still be over-rated.

BNB said...

There is an interesting article on this by Peter Roebuck:
http://www.hindu.com/2006/03/24/stories/2006032404112300.htm

D.N.A. said...

"Sila per paatezhudi per eduppa, sila per kutham kandupuduche per edupa", apadinu naan solala, Mr. Dharumi solrar :)

The argument continues....

Gaurav said...

Superbly written!

Hawkeye said...

AAT,

you are incorrect. there was no such situation in capetown where he hit a run-a-ball century when he was required to save a match by batting the day out. his only century was in newlands (169) during that tour.

as far as tedchnique is concerned he is the best i have seen. and i do think rating a batsman based on his 4th innings contribution is overrated. AFAIK only 2% of 4th innings efforts end of influencing a games result which means rarely is 4th innings important.

Hawkeye said...

all said and done - sachin is in the worst form of his life.

if its really a shoulder injury then he shldnt play if he cant play to his best.

veda said...

I absolutely agree with hawkeye..consistency is the key.If it is not there, then one should not be in the business.

Just for the sake of people, emotions and future hope, if one is present in the team, then dont expect the team to excel. People should accept this fact and Icons should put the future of the team before the personal future.

The Talkative Man said...

The title of the post says it all. Hats off.
Nitpick: The Auckland 1994 bash was a 49-ball 82.

Arignar annavin thambi is correct about Tendulkar's fallibility in Innings 4. His 4th inn average is around 34. He's never been the marathon-innings kind of guy and that explains why he's likely to fall cheaply in the 4th knock or never really saved test matches.

Chenthil said...

Gaurav, thanks.

Hawkeye, this post was more on personal level than on cricketing terms. I was trying to figure out why we were so obsessed with him.

Veda, the same answer as to Hawkeye.

TTM, finally something which we both agree. Will make the correction

The Talkative Man said...

Chenthil, casting the net in troubled waters, Ram was SFI's president during his student days in MCC(1964-66). So it was never about the hindu, its all about you ;-)

More than the Auckland innings(which came chasing a paltry target), the real reckoner was the 61-ball 72 v Pak in the '94 Australiasia Cup. That's when he became the don of ODIs