Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sachin: Great batsman, or Greatest batsman?

A few weeks ago, somebody took an exception to the constant usage of media’s pet phrase: “there are two Indias, one who XYZ and one who XYA” (fill in the blanks as appropriate). His point was that diversity in India can’t allow for such simple bisection. I replied:

There ARE just two Indias: One who think Sachin is a God, other who don’t.

Mind you, this was before the 175-run knock. But those who saw that piece of batting display would probably be wondering whether they were back watching Sharjah in ‘98, watching the same man demolish Australian (the same side) bowling, while the rest of the team (again) stands by thinking this is a one-man show. Not to mention, occasional wins aside, we are still being badly beaten by the same #1 side, Australia.

Well, if it is really 1998-‘99, it means I haven’t yet given my 12th std. exams, my engineering and grad school is in future, so is my first and second job. We have yet to see the greats like “Yaadein” (remember that one?) and “Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna”, while Ram Gopal Verma has just one “Daud” in a line-up of Shiva, Rangeela and Satya. Then again, while my colleagues would agree that having 4 more months in Hyderabad is fun, and I am pretty comfortable about undergrad and grad school, I am not so sure I will get anywhere near the marks I got in 12th std. again. Wow, that particular fantasy didn’t last long.

So, let’s get back to the point. Before and after that knock, there has been (once again) a plethora of articles about Sachin, his place in team, his greatest hits and misses and so on. Many of his critics accuse him of playing a selfish game, point out that his first 7 runs (the ones he needed to get to 17000 mark) were very slow. Personally, I think a player who is playing for himself, not the team won’t score 168 runs after he has achieved a personal milestone. He will probably check out of the game mentally and be far away from the crease by the next ball. And seriously, if a mentally checked out Sachin plays an innings like this, I wish he would do it more often and more batsmen should start playing selfish games like him.

The other criticism is that even when he scores big, he rarely stays there till the end of the game. Then again, what says about our team when a batting line up comprising of 5 of top-50 players in ICC batting ranks (including #1) cannot together equal a single player’s contribution? One player overshadowing the entire team happens in other sports and other teams too, though I don’t believe it happens with such regularity.

So, while the critics point out his batting lows, his low strike rate series, his propensity to make one huge knock to “silence the critics” once in a while, I will reiterate my original point:

Sachin Tendulkar is a God of the cricketing population in India.

Then again, let me put that statement in perspective: Sachin is an Indian, a Hindu. And our Hindu Gods are not exactly known for their infallibility, are they? I mean, except for some notable exceptions (Ganesh), our mythology is filled with gods making mistakes, falling prey to all too human emotions (Indra, anyone?). So, cut that guy some slack. Losing against a few asuras (due entirely to the boons you gave them earlier) is all right once in a while, if on other occasions you are essentially lifting entire mountains on your hand, or decimating entire asura armies single-handed.

- The Great Eagle Has Spoken

P.S. This post is just a space-filler till I get back to regular programming, whatever that means for this blog.

P.P.S. Re: The header, I am aware of the futility of having “Greatest ever” debate unless it really is end of the universe for once and all. But viewers of Colbert will know where that question came from.

1 Comment:

Divsthebooklover said...

Nice post with the exception of the last paragraph. I wish you would take Hinduism a little more seriously, especially, since reading your posts, you seem well aware of them.

I think Hinduism has enough criticism against it already, don't you? The least we can do is respect our culture and our religion and use them in the right sense and not in the way of mockery.

It is not that I do not have a sense of humor. I do. It would just be nicer to not disrespect our religion, which is used a little too casually in many cases, in my opinion.