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Sight Screen

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Much ado about Sachin

Sportstar's latest issue has a special section on Sachin Tendulkar, pegged on his record breaking 35th Test century. A statistical breakdown of his centuries; a subjective pick of the batsman's top ten Test innings; a round up of what some of his famous opponents had to say about him; a subjective Lara versus Tendulkar comparison; S Dinakar's take on Sachin and the man whose record he broke, Sunny Gavaskar; an interview with the man of the moment; Raju Bharatan's typical wordplay laced piece on Sachin; all of this topped off with Rohit Brijnath's take on Tendulkar.
There is nothing inevitable about a man staying disciplined for a lifetime, embracing sacrifice, honouring his nation, staying true to his talent. There is nothing inevitable to a 16-year-old boy becoming the highest century maker of his time. There is nothing inevitable to greatness, for it is both gift and burden, it is built painstakingly day after day. Every century is a test of character, an advertisement of desire, a proof of sacrifice. This man has done well.
Too much and too long we go on about Tendulkar's batting style these days, should he play demonically or austerely, a debate hurled back and forth with no finish line in sight, but it's not this minor matter that has changed that is relevant, but what has stayed mostly unchanged. Him.

Let us get this out of the way quickly. He was silly for asking for duty on his Ferrari to be waived. He was indicted for ball tampering but that was a joke, this man is no cheat. Perhaps, too, there is the odd other complaint. Of course, he is no perfect man, no saint in virginal white, but in 16 years are these the only blemishes we can find?

Tendulkar is as flawed as we are for he is a human being, but we have not had to live his world, not had to conduct our every waking minute outside our front doors in the gaze of a billion, cameras primed for a single mis-step. If he appears a bland character then it is almost because it was the cleverest solution for him, a defusing of the clamour that surrounded him. His allergy to controversy occasionally proved counter-productive for when he needed to speak out on cricketing matters, he stayed wrapped in silence. He had an acute awareness of the impact of his words, which once said could not be retrieved. Still it is amusing: with most other athletes we find it tiresome when they throw their weight around; with Tendulkar we wish he had done it more often!

Choice bits, those, but there's more -- and it's worth your time to read in full.

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