Sachin Tendulkar: 3 Most debated topics on the Little Master
“What’s in a name?”, is a famous quote of William Shakespeare. Well, if the name happens to be Sachin Tendulkar, then I guess there is indeed a lot. The mention of this name itself can start endless debates across cricketing fans worldwide, especially the ones from India. In this article, I have dwelled on the three most debated topics on Tendulkar in the last 18 months, and have given my take on the same.
First: Is Sachin the equivalent of a cricketing God? No.
Rather, I would say conferring the status of God would be doing injustice to the man. Of course he was blessed with talent, but more than that, Sachin loved cricket more than anyone else. And it was this love and enthusiasm for the game that drove him to strive for that little extra, both in terms of physical fitness and mental discipline, which in turn enabled him to be on top of his game for more than two decades.
We all know how thoroughly the master prepares himself for each series and against each bowler, and how he remembers each of his dismissals. Thus, while his achievements may seem surreal to us, the process applied to reach there is certainly not. So accepting him as a mere mortal, like each one of us, would be the perfect acknowledgement to the sheer hard work and dedication that he has put in all these years to achieve such phenomenal results over the years.
Also when we accept him as one of us, in a way we allow ourselves the opportunity of setting our goals much higher than perhaps we would have allowed ourselves otherwise. So please, let us not embrace escapism and attribute our hero’s success to sheer divine power.
Second: Should Sachin Receive Bharat Ratna? Yes he should.
Before dwelling in to the reasons, I would like to clarify that I do not endorse the view that Sachin is the only sportsperson who deserves the Bharat Ratna, nor am I suggesting that he should be the first sportsperson to receive the same.
Ability to entertain: Cricket as a game is extremely popular in our country because most of us are cricket literates. So unlike other sports, like say chess, we do not merely follow the result; we understand how the result was achieved. It is because of these reasons we Indians can connect to everything that a cricketer does on field, be it good or bad. And that is where Sachin, being the cricket super hero of this country, edges out his compatriots from other disciplines like Vishwanathan Anand or Pankaj Advani in terms of his sheer ability to bring joy and happiness to fellow Indians.
Cricket Legend on the field: Sachin Tendulkar has been a role model in the way he has conducted himself both on and off the field. His unparalleled cricketing exploits have been matched with equal grace, in the way he has conducted himself on field in the last twenty three years, the two only exceptions being the frivolous ball tampering allegation in South Africa, and the monkey gate scandal in Australia. It is because of this reason Tendulkar receives a standing ovation anywhere across the world whenever he comes in to bat. He is the greatest cricket role model across the world. The ‘Order of Australia’ being the most recent recognition of the same.
Sachin is equally revered by the players themselves. We have read and seen many interviews of different batsmen across the globe who have considered Sachin to be the ultimate benchmark of batting. Similarly, every time Sachin’s wicket is scalped, the spontaneous celebration that is evoked among bowlers of the highest pedigree gives a very honest insight into the stature of Sachin Tendulkar in their minds. In short, the genius of Sachin the cricketer has transcended national borders, and he is hailed as one of the greatest cricket icons of all times.
Role Model off the field: For a cricket crazy nation, its greatest star of the last two decades was a much grounded person. Of course, one can argue that had he not remained grounded, he wouldn’t have reached the highs that he eventually did. The master blaster is a real life representation of an ideal middle class (not in terms of finances but in terms of values imbibed) Indian; a successful professional who always gave due credit and importance to his entire family. Also, as a cricket star, right from his early twenties, he had never endorsed any tobacco or alcohol brand, because he was well aware of his fan following among young children and teenagers. Similarly, he had once requested a soft drink giant to modify their advertising campaign that he felt portrayed him as larger than the game itself.
Add to that his fight against his own body, as there are very few parts of Sachin’s body that have not gone under the scalp of a surgeon. Some of his injuries were deemed to be career threatening. But the little big man came up triumphant every single time, and nothing was able to stop him from pursuing his passion. The entire country saw how every obstacle can be overcome through sheer determination and hard work.
These actions and gestures shaped the millions of teens who grew up in the nineties in India. And it did augur well for them that they had a role model like Sachin to look up to.
So to sum it up, his ability to entertain millions, inspire people across geographical boundaries and reach hitherto unimaginable highs in his discipline makes him a worthy candidate for the highest civilian award in the country.
Third: Should Sachin Retire? Of course he should and he will, but only when he deems it fit.
There are critics who opine that Sachin is blocking the chance of a youngster in the Indian middle order in Tests. If that is indeed the reason, then the selectors are well within their rights to drop him and select a batsman who they feel will add more value to the Indian squad. Please don’t say that the selectors will be unable to do it because of the pressure from fans. The selectors are esteemed people who are, these days, also paid to do a job. Don’t expect someone else to do it for them.
But Sachin’s retirement should be strictly his personal decision, as he is the best judge of his body and mind.
Personally, I feel that the Indian batting is going through a transition phase with the No. 3 and No. 5 slot being recently vacated by two stalwarts. We are yet to zero in on our No. 6. At this juncture, a veteran pro like Sachin can add immense value to the team in two high profile series against England and Australia, both on the field as well as in the dressing room.
Anyways, Sachin has revealed in a recent television interview that he is taking it series by series. So the legend’s unparalleled story has perhaps reached its last chapter. Let us enjoy the show while it lasts, and let us hope that the conclusion befits the man who has given us so much to cheer in the last two decades.Published 18 Oct 2012, 11:01 IST