Exploring the darker side of Sachin Tendulkar
Sachin Tendulkar, probably the greatest cricketer of all times. No doubt and no second thoughts on that. But, as many critics and fans consider him to be selfish at times.
Now, I know that we all love Tendulkar and we worship him. But, quite frankly, Tendulkar is the reason why Rahul Dravid never got the recognition he should have had. This again is not his fault. We fans are so involved with him and at times, he gets bigger than the game itself.
A simple example – Yesterday, India had to score around 100 runs to win the Test match against West Indies and Tendulkar had to score around 70 to reach his 100th hundred. Now, if you were given the option to make only one thing happen out of those two, what would you have chosen? Ask yourself.
Tendulkar displayed some acts of selfishness yesterday. When there was a single on the cards, he did not take it. It was not a tailender at the other end but it was VVS. Laxman, who has won more tests to India than Sachin. That according to me was a clear act of selfishness. You cannot argue otherwise on that.
So, I began digging more and I found out an interesting statistic. Tendulkar generally has a good strike rate (86.32 as off now). But, when he approaches the 80′s his strike rate drops and he starts scoring singles off hit-able balls. Almost 40% of the times, his strike rate between 80-100 is almost two times lower than his strike rate till 80.
With the events of last day in mind, I would like to explain how Tendulkar has displayed acts of selfishness at times.
The T20 hundred against Kochi Tuskers Kerala
Most of you should remember this. It took place only a year ago. Tendulkar defied the odds of age and scored his first ever T20 century. What you might not remember is that Mumbai Indians went on to lose that game.
Now, Davy Jacobs and Tendulkar opened the batting and Tendulkar was on a blitzkrieg. Jacobs on the other hand was struggling. Jacobs fell soon and Rayadu came to the crease. Both him and Tendulkar batted till the 15th over and the scoring rate was only around 8 per over despite batting in front of their home crowd in a batting paradise.
Tendulkar could have taken the risk to increase the scoring rate especially with proven hit makers like Symonds and Pollard to come. Still, he didn’t do that.
He was on 95 with two balls left. He scored a boundary off the first and the score was 181. Any set batsman would have tried to clear the rope off the last ball of the innings. Tendulkar padded it down, scored a single and got his century.
182 was clearly not enough and Kochi won the match. We do not care do we? After all, the Master scored a century. This was an act of complacency, selfishness and over-confidence.
There are more instances like these but let us not go so deep.
Why doesn’t he open the batting in Tests?
Gautam Gambhir and Virender Sehwag are two best test openers that India has ever had. No doubt on that but when one of them becomes unavailable, its either Rahul Dravid or VVS Laxman who are pushed up the order.
When Sachin Tendulkar always opens the batting in ODIs (pushing Gambhir to No3), why doesn’t he do that in Test matches?
Why does he hog on to the No.4 spot no matter what happens? Is it because he wants the other batsmen to take the shine off the new ball? Is it because he is too afraid to face the seam of the new ball?
I don’t see any other logical explanation to this case.
Quality or Quantity?
Now, the great Tendulkar has 99 International centuries and that might be a record which no one can ever break. But, did these help India win games?
As off March 2011, 13 off Tendulkar’s 48 ODI Centuries have led to the loss of the team and that is a wining percentage of around 68.75%
Now, let us take into account the centuries of other batsmen. Out of Ganguly’s 22 ODI, 18 have made India win. That is 81.8% winning rate. Out of Sehwag’s 14 ODI centuries, 13 have made India win. That again is an impressive winning rate of 91%
Now, you can say that Tendulkar has played more games but you will only be trying to win an argument.
The sad state continues in Test Cricket too. He has scored 51 centuries and India has won only 20 games. If you take out the 8 centuries against minnows, you get 43 centuries and only 14 off them have won India games. That is a poor percentile of 34.4.VVS Laxman and Rahul Dravid have better records than that. Heck, they have rescued India from awful positions. Tell me one instance when Tendulkar has done that other than that 330+ run chase against England in Chennai.
Records in big games
In how many finals has Tendulkar scored centuries and won us games? I remember the ODI series in Australia but other than that can you tell me a single instance?
I’m not saying that Tendulkar is not a great. I’m not understating the feats that he has achieved. It is just that he might not be as great and as giving as you might think. I don’t think Tendulkar deserves the demi-god status that we give him.