Saturday, January 06, 2007

Sachin Tendulkar - nothing is ever good enough

THEY SAY REALITY IS STRANGER than fiction. If ever there was a living example for this, it has to be India. When it comes to idolizing a celebrity, India takes the cake hands down. Where else would one find temples built for movie stars? No other country, in my experience, will ever love someone so hard that it starts to hurt. Letting go, is quite possibly, one of the hardest things for Indians. It happens only in India.

Sachin Tendulkar’s life is no secret. A humble beginning and the man became a legend thanks to his hard work and more importantly his natural affection to the game. A simple middle class boy who entered the International scene and stole it right in front of the cynical eyes of the so called legends. People who believed that playing in pretentious English county cricket was the only way someone could really prove their worth. Oh Sachin showed them alright. They didn’t know what hit them when our man blasted experienced bowlers as if they were playing street cricket with an empty gas cylinder for a wicket.

Yet, after tens of thousands of runs and after millions of applauses and crores of Rupees later, Sachin is right where he began. Even today he has to prove himself to millions of fans around the world. Even today they curse him for not making runs like a legend truly should. Even to this day they say ‘he can do better’ when the man has achieved things that go beyond human comprehension. Even today as he walks up to the batting pitch, I am sure his mind is filled with questions and doubts – not about himself but about his fans and how they’ll react were he to fall short of a century. The love, as it turns out, comes at a high price. A very high price.

And history repeats itself. Time and time again. With every match it has started to become more apparent that Sachin Tendulkar – the mean killing machine – is starting to show his human side. Is the legend slowly disappearing? Does this mean he forgot how to bat? How can he possibly not know how to react to spin and fast bowling? He has done that for ages! Yes. He has and he knows that too. But guess what! He is aging. Just like you are every passing second.

The body, with time, starts to behave and function differently. When Sachin started out, ascended and hit a peak his body was in a different mode. He had more agility and more swiftness. He was more aware and more conscious. Don’t get me wrong…he still is but when it comes to the mind, it wears one down long before the body does. With the increasing amount of pressure around him to perform consistently, the man’s mental structure has started to wear down. With no major support from the rest of the ‘men in blue’, one cannot blame poor Sachin to do all the dirty work again, as he has been doing for 15 years now.

Come on people. Give him a break. A long and much deserved one. No other human in the history of Indian cricket has brought us more fame and recognition at the International level than this master blaster. One always argues about people like Sunil Gavaskar and Kapil Dev. True. I grew up idolizing them as well, but the times and the kind of game they played was way different than what happens today on the field. That said Sachin has done more than we could ever ask for. If we cannot consistently appreciate the benchmark he has set for Indian cricket, then we don’t have the right to criticize him consistently either.

The sad part, however, is despite the accolades and endless string of broken records to his credit, Sachin will never be able to satisfy the insatiable Indian appetite for ‘the best’ since there is no such thing. One succeeds but moves on. Hopefully to better milestones or to a better life, like our dear Tendlya.

Here is wishing him the very best. I, for one, would love to see him age gracefully and as he should without having to put up with meaningless banter of frustration shelled out by people who don’t know any better.


2 reflections:

Anonymous said...

Another mumbaiker....

Dude i would rather have a person play just one year of international cricket and win a team a world cup

rather than a person playing 20 years but achieving nothing for his country but enough wealth for himself for a generation and respect from fools like yourself

shakri said...

My dear Mumbaikar,

Winning a world cup is not a one man effort. It takes a team to do it. And we all know that the last World Cup it was Sachin's efforts that helped India get back on ground and make it all the way to the finals. In the finals when the bowlers choked and didnt perform, why blame poor Sachin? He definitely did what he had to.

All said and done, I think it is unfair to expect consistency ALL THE TIME from only one man when there is a whole team falling in so many pieces. :)

And next time you call someone a fool please be a little more sensible than to put a meaningless comment under Anonymous. That itself tells me how smart you are, sir.