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Sight Screen

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Hear, hear...

There's going to be a surfeit of Greg Chappell (VVS Laxman says he is honored to play under him; brother Ian talks of what he was like way back when...)these next few weeks, till the team gets back on the park again and we can all go back to heatedly demanding the head of this, that or the other player.

In all this, what stands out are the few comments Chappell himself has made. From his 'made for sound-byte' comment excellence 24x7, to his stated belief that the team has what it takes to come good in World Cup 2007, to his vote of confidence in skipper Saurav Ganguly (one of his main backers for the post of coach), he's hit the right buttons thus far as far as the fans go.

And then there's this -- a flat out statement that India will never see the Sachin of say six, seven years back.

About time someone said this, frankly. During the recent Indo-Pak series at home, when I was doing live commentary, a majority of the emails I got were on the lines of 'what's wrong with Sachin?' and 'why's he in the side if he can no longer hit sixes and fours at will'?

Good grief! You are never going to see that Sachin again, save on DVD compilations of his former grandeur. Think about it -- does anyone who has been doing a high-pressure job for 16 years or more continue with the same verve, the same energy and the same flair he brought to his performance when he first started out?

Time has a tempering effect on your energy; it dims your skills; it impairs your sight and slows your hand-eye coordination. Injuries do their bit to help Time along. And Failure -- allied to the weight of expectation -- adds its bit to the process of degeneration.

It's Nature's way, folks -- time, surely, to accept it, to accept that the frizzy-haired moppet of our memories has grown older; has changed?

Which is why the interesting part of Greg's statement is not his assertion that Sachin will never be the same again, but the corollary -- 'I just need to sit down with him and work out where he's at and where he wants to go, what expectations and goals he has. Hopefully I can motivate him and present him with some new challenges.'

Precisely. Could be time to assess whether Sachin the ODI opener will ever be the devastating force he once was. And if the answer is 'No' -- which is what I think -- then see whether he, and the team, would be better served by providing a new role, that of middle-order accumulator and guide for the younger lads, the Kaifs, Yuvrajs and such.


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