Saturday, November 07, 2009

Sachin's Hyderabad heartbreak and about what ails his haters!

"I have seen god, he bats at no.4 for India" - Mathew Hayden

"Sachin is a genius. I'm a mere mortal"- Brian Charles Lara

India me aap PrimeMinister ko ek Baar Katghare me khada kar sakte hain..Par Sachin Tendulkar par Ungli nahi utha Sakte.. " - Navjot Singh Sidhu on TV

"Sachin cannot cheat. He is to cricket what (Mahatma) Gandhiji was to politics. It's clear discrimination. " - NKP Salve, former Union Minister when Sachin was accused of ball tampering

"The joy he brings to the millions of his countrymen, the grace with which he handles all the adulation and the expectations and his innate humility - all make for a one-in-a-billion individual" - Glen McGrath

"Nothing bad can happen to us if we're on a plane in India with Sachin Tendulkar on it." - Hashim Amla, the South African batsman, reassures himself as he boards a flight.

"To Sachin, the man we all want to be" - Andrew Symonds wrote on an Aussie t-shirt he autographed specially for Sachin.

“Beneath the helmet, under that unruly curly hair, inside the cranium, there is something we don't know, something beyond scientific measure. Something that allows him to soar, to roam a territory of sport that, forget us, even those who are gifted enough to play alongside him cannot even fathom. When he goes out to bat, people switch on their TV sets and switch off their lives." - BBC on Sachin

"We did not lose to a team called India...we lost to a man called Sachin." - Mark Taylor, during the test match in Chennai (1997)

"The more I see of him the more confused I'm getting to which is his best knock." - M. L.Jaisimha

"He can play that leg glance with a walking stick also" - Waqar Younis

"On a train from Shimla to Delhi, there was a halt in one of the stations. The train stopped by for few minutes as usual. Sachin was nearing century, batting on 98. The passengers, railway officials, everyone on the train waited for Sachin to complete the century. This Genius can stop time in India!! "- Peter Roebuck (Aussie sportswriter)

Sachin, the phenomenon is beyond expression or words for me. It has hence been difficult to blog about him and so I never did. After a real long time, I was engrossed in a cricket match yesterday. Did someone say 50 over cricket is dead? Would a 20-20 for all its hype ever produce this kind of epic? I wondered for few minutes if it is 2009 or 1999? 3 days after Ricky ponting said "We've kept Sachin in check so far. His scoring rate hasn't been too extravagant'', Sachin, the batman shrugged off the mentor-anchor role he has assumed lately and went on to be the marauder he was, clobbering 9 4s and 4 massive 6s. Sadly, India as a team too resembled that of the 90s. While Sachin mounted a great challenge, almost all else run away from the field. So, if Australia's batting line-up threw up scores of 112, 93, 45, 57, 31 with all scores above 100% strike-rate,Team India petered off with 175,59,38,23. If in Chennai in 1998-99, Sachin left the last three wickets 17 to get; yesterday he left them 19 off 17 when he fell for deceptive change of pace. Like it happened then, his weak-hearted teammates blew it up once again. One batsman doesn't know when to run, the other doesn't know how to run and of course the captain is boorish enough not to acknowledge Sachin's extraordinary innings in the awards ceremony.While Ponting marvelled Sachin "hit almost every ball in the middle of the bat" and that it is "one of the great one-day innings that I've seen", all our Dhoni said, as if suffering from constipation, was that the innings was "a pleasure" to watch. We are still in the 90s dude - the Azhar days, nothing really changed! Not even Sachin's critics who I rather dub as 'I hate Sachin' brigade. I knew they would come once India lost yesterday night. And true to it, I see the same brigade in the papers and Internet today. Despite worldwide recognition for undiluted talent, work ethic and sincerity (sample at the top of this post), this brigade persists. This post is an attempt to understand this brigade.

As we soak in all the front-foot pulls, straight drives, cover drives, late glances, paddle sweeps and the subsequent laurels from the Aussies, it amazes me on how after 20 long years, 435 one-dayers we still want Sachin the opener to run his ass off and finish the game for us in the 50th over while the other 10 will continue to 'learn' basics of running between wickets, holding on to straight catches and wicket-keeping playing international cricket. Some even whine that he 'chokes'!! Coming in to open, scoring the highest by any batsman against

Australia, (in fact his ninth ODI hundred against them, the most by any player against a single team) and getting dismissed only in 48th over with a meagre 19 runs to score is still 'choking' for the "I hate Sachin" brigade. I have seen many of this brigade over the years and while it puzzled me earlier in the golden 90s as to why someone would criticize Sachin, the sole performer, now it is more entertaining as I seem to get why this happens. All accusations of this brigade make for good laughs. More than Sachin or his game, these accusations reveal more about the guys who fling them. Some psychology here.

Somehow many from this brigade can not comprehend Sachin, his perfection, lack of controversies or weaknesses, a near perfect personal life. They simply hate his machine-like consistency and frustrate over the absence of chinks in his armour. He is too good to be so perfect so they suppose something must be sinister. Maybe they dare try comparing their own lives with his! So all they try doing is knitpick and in the process give us outrageous fun with their bizarre and preposterous takes on the little master. Here comes one. One of my friends once thundered Laxman was the better batsman than Sachin, I was all ears to know the technicality I missed. He reasoned that Sachin didn't have a 281 type innings! I was enlightened, not about anything but my friend. Some others argued for the piggyback rungetter Dravid. That was atrocious. Did Sachin ever show so much promise in wearing down his own teammates with some abysmal strike-rate or lack of initiative? Dravid is, of course, in a league of good test batsmen but never did he show the dynamism to attack and win irrespective of his statistics. That Sachin's contribution to Indian cricket's victories is unrivalled is a fact unfathomable to these. Some others creatively talk about how Sachin scores for himself and not for the team. I never quite understood this. Were not those countless 100s he scored considered in team scores? Yet another from the brigade charges, now this is the cherry on the ball, that Sachin fixes and makes money loosing. Now if they care to know how much he made by a 'winning' career over 2 decades, they would know money would no more be an incentive for him! So much for the ignorance of our 'seasoned' commentators from this brigade. Some others try to fudge the statistics to prove something about scores and averages. They conviniently overlook the invaluable initiative Sachin takes and the confidence and the fighting spirit he inspires in the ranks while playing. Even if it were a 20 or 30 runs sachin-style, look at the morale shift it produces for the team. That is precisely why Team India feels bogged down when they lose his wicket.

These harebrained criticisms are but natural offshoots from half-literate Indians who neither understand sporting spirit nor Cricket in its enterity. I doubt if most of them ever held a bat to a ball. How else could they be so mean towards someone who toils all through the match only to loose by an agonizing few inches. A real sports fan would understand his heartbreak, his pain in Hyderabad, the one of the many he faced in his career. I sincerely hope the folks in this brigade open their eyes, get real, not for Sachin's sake but for their own sake. Sachin is anyway a legend, and whether they like it or not, their kids and grand kids will read it that way in their school texts a few years from now. Instead these 'critics' should open their eyes for all beauty and earnestness around instead of wallowing in endless cynicism about everything and everyone seemingly perfect. They should accept their own frailties and appreciate Sachin's character, courage and conviction. Let them be reassured that it is perfectly okay to be imperfect. That is how they can start enjoying their own lives and spare us from their bizarre fun. Amen.

Photograph: Dibyangshu Sarkar/AFP/Getty Images


Amar said...

another very good article amar! i only have to disagree with the dravid part (you attributed some not-so-flattering terms to him which i feel were unfair). why denigrate one great player while praising another?
coming back to sachin, i guess it is a lesson for us that it is impossible to keep everyone happy and get everyone's approval. the hate brigade will always exist, primarily because of what you mentioned: it is unfathomable for most people to see someone so perfect in all respects.
the joy that sachin has given to billions of indians over 2 decades now will only be truly appreciated after he retires (man i can't and don't want to imagine that day)
as a fan i can just be thankful to be born in the same era as sachin's career

Yugandhar said...

well said Amar, the so mentioned brigade in this blog are not able to enjoy the little master's cricket, this brigade would definetly realize this some years later, might be the time when their kids start learning about him. I love this liner in you blog, i laughed heavily on this "He reasoned that Sachin didn't have a 281 type innings! I was enlightened, not about anything but my friend." . Amar, if not this brigade atleast we are lucky enough to be in the same era as this little master is. I LUV WATCHING HIM PLAYING.

Anonymous said...

I dont know what else would inspire our Team INDIA other than such an extra ordinary innings of a 36 yrs young Sachin.Hatsoff to this born legend for his attitude to the game even after playing for 20yrs.

Amar said...

Hi Amar,

All though I pretty much believe what I said, I have edited that part of Dravid to let the focus remain on the topic here and not digress. Thanks for pointing it out.
We are blessed to live in Sachin's era and yes, I think we still have years before the maestro hangs up his gloves. So I prefer no to think about it :)

sachin said...

Well said Amar.

I spent a sleepless night on that day when India lost despite of our little masters terrific batting.

I get pissed off when someone tries to compare this little genius with someone who are no where near his talent. I understand these commentators ex players wants to be in limelight so they utter non-sense against little master.

I agree Laxman's inning of 281 was treat to watch but as Lara once said "Everybody gets 15 minutes of fame. But if there's one person I've admired over a 15-year period, it's definitely Sachin." Now I believe its over 20 years. We just hear about Don Bradman but we never saw him playing and he says Sachin is replica of his playing style; "I saw him playing on television and was struck by his technique, so I asked my wife to come look at him. Now I never saw myself play, but I feel that this player is playing much the same as I used to play, and she looked at him on Television and said yes, there is a similarity between the two... his compactness, technique, stroke production... it all seemed to gel: Sir Donald Bradman".

As Wasim Akram (My favorite bowler) said ""Cricketers like Sachin come once in a lifetime and I am privileged he played in my time," said Pakistan legend Wasim Akram.". we all are privileged to born in the same era and I believe am little more fortunate to share the same name SACHIN.

Sachin fan of Sachin.

Mayank Kapil said...

Nice article. Good work.

aneesh said...

It's a very good article....though it's very hard to understand why you bought up dravid.He is not definitely in the class sachin but he is another selfless player who toiled for India(at least in test)for a please avoid to use such comments in future.

Vishal said...

Nice article...I am too a loyal fan of Sachin...But having played cricket myself, I can certainly say, Sachin should have avoided that shot when we just needed singles to wrap up the game..A person of his calibre could have easily stayed for few more minutes and sailed us through...He played a shot similar to that of Misbah which cost Pakistan a world cup...

hariesh said...

A rationale take on Sachin's critics, Some realy complex psychology behind it, Well dissected ra Amar! I hope it will put to rest anything unwarranted about Sachin's commitment and contribution to Indian cricket.

Sachin is the epitome of art of cricket batting. I'd rather see him bat than watch our team play cricket. His cricket is pure bliss, an experience beyond words; the one only felt when he is on song.

Balu said...

Nice article Amar. I never really bother whether we as a team loose or win. I simply enjoy watching Sachin game. Whenever he hits that beautiful leg glace I jump out of chair get a stick (some times with empty hands) try to emitate that, but i never could get that balance. Let's not compare him with anybody, he is absolute and beyond comparision. Jayahoooooo....

Amar said...

Same pinch Sachin, Yug, Narender, Hariesh, Balu :) Sachin, I shud say u are soooo soooo blessed for being eponymous :)

Amar said...

Thanks Vishal, Aneesh, Mayank.

Look at the context. I was referring to some fans and commentators who hype abt Dravid just to knitpick Sachin. So I point to how Sachin, unlike Dravid, ups the morale while batting.

Thanks for stumbling. Does playing or not playing a shot reflect someone's calibre? Bradman's duck in his last game doesn't reflect his calibre for sure. So why are we discussing whether Sachin shud play a shot or not when he played the very same shot zillions of times? Lets look at it for what it is - a slow delivery. Sachin misjudged it. A few dot balls, we would have been under pressure to score boundaries so whats wrong if he tried for one 4 to speed up? The discussion now gets hypothetical when we discuss whether or not he shud have tried. So its better we talk abt what he did and how rather than what he didnt. Having played cricket, u must b knowing its just a game and we shud take it sportingly. The better team on the day wins and the Aussies won. More than the result,its abt how the game is played and Sachin excelled with an extraordinary knock. So that shud be what we shud discuss if we are real sportive. I hope I made my point.

Vishal said...

Again I would like to disagree...I was always taught by my coach to learn to finish off the game....It was absolutely necessary for Sachin to show the match temperament..There was no need to speed up as u mentioned at that point of the game....U r mentioning about Don bardman...There is a difference between getting out on a good ball and throwing your wicket..Even Gavaskar compared that shot with Misbah's which cost Pakistan a world cup...HAd he done 175 and then played that shot...I would have still digested it..But Sachin..I am sorry..The biggest regret in his career is a world cup win..which he himself agrees...And this will continue to haunt him if he doesnt accept this...I dont expect him to be there for all 50 overs...But the last 17 balls left and u play a loose shot when there is no relaible batsman left down the line...My coach would not have spoken to me for months for that mistake......Nor could i have got over that pain as a batsman that i could not finish it off.....That too for a not so great ball....Its not about the sporting spirit..Its about accepting that I failed....

Sandeep Naredla said...

Hi Vishal,

The shot that sachin played is one of his favorite ones, clearing that fielder when he is inside the circle. 9 out of 10 times it would have clicked but unfortunately didnt on that day as it was a deceptive slower delivery that went high on his bat.
And even before he got out, we require run a ball. And considering the aussies fielding and never die attitude, it could have been tight, had there been some dot balls. That too, at the other end we have a batsman who is struggling to judge a run all through the series. Sachin wanted to put the match completely outside of aussies.It didnt worked out thats it. May be Gods envy him because if that was a boundary, today everyone would have praised sachin. Gods have a point :)
you are doubting the match temperament of a guy who at age of 36, fielded for 50 overs, batted for almost 46 overs while losing wickets regularly, in a chase of 354 against an Australian side. Cant argue much on this. I hope you better think more about the temperament of the other 10 in the side. He is not playing tennis, its cricket a team game.
I think it will be difficult for your coach( infact any coach ) to teach you how to play and pace that innings infront of 40,000 people who breathe and live every shot you make and crores of people all over the world.

Vishal said...

All the comments just shows how much we love Sachin...We may continue loving his knocks but I will still hope that he is part of the World cup win and continue to keep this expectation from him that he finishes the game and not succumb in the final stage of the game..This has happened earlier in the chennai test match against Pakistan where we lost the match after we lost his wicket and we needed 16 runs then...Everybody knows he cried in the dressing room...I will continue having this expectation...After all I am a big Sachin fan too...But I dont want to follow my idol blindly...

Sandeep Naredla said...

Hi Vishal,

You are just talking about two situations which happened like that. what about those 59 Man of the Match awards and 14 Man of the series. Are these awards not given for match winners. Do you think one is considered a match winner only if he makes the last winning run. No right? I know its not our fault. The man has so much influenced our lives on game that we expect him to deliver every other game.
You are talking about world cup win, he cannot win for us single handedly right?
Its a team game. I hope you know very well the way he batted in World cup 2003/1996. He was the highest run getter (2003) and he scored in many crucial games and fielded superbly also in that tournament.What else can he do? But like you and many others i am also hoping his last world cup will be a winning one.. atleast for sachin's dream.

Vishal said...

Hey Sandeep,

You are unnecessarilly dragging me into those bunch of stupid people who think that Sachin is not a match winner...I will never say this..

You are completely losing my point..

I have told earlier I dont expect him to be there for all 50 overs...

I am just making a point about the final stage of the game...

If he scores a century and loses his wicket half way..I am not talking about this situation at all...If India loses at this stage, I know there are bunch of idiots who say that he is not a match winner...I am definitely not one of those idiots...

I am talking about the final stage...Even if you have 10 more Sachin's lined up after our Sachin loses his wicket...Remember they are going to be fresh in the game and can take time to settle..But a settled batsman can view a cricket ball like a football...This I am telling you from my own experience..

Again you can be very happy when Sachin hits a double century in 2010 world cup final but loses his wicket in the final stage and we lose by 3 runs...

And then you can say this only the third time this has happened...

My dear friend- I think Sachin wont let this happen..

Amar said...


I agree with you that almost everyone forgets that this is a team game and starts talking how Sachin cudnt get the world cups etc..some of this is inspired by Sachin's extraordinary feats from time to time where he almost singlehandedly takes the team to the threshold of victory. If he succeeds, everyone takes it as naturally as they take a sunrise. Otherwise they forget that its just a game where just 1 delivery gets u dismissed. Its funny they dont speak abt the 140 odd deliveries he thrashed around or the 48 overs he toiled for..after all, we are watching cricket and we are supposed to enjoy the shots!

This clearly reflects in what Vishal says..-
"I have told earlier I dont expect him to be there for all 50 overs..."
"If he scores a century and loses his wicket half way..I am not talking about this situation at all..."

Both the statements only show that Sachin did more than what he is supposed to do in a team game. If he were gone midway, funnily we wouldnt have this discussion abt his failure or match temperament! Maybe then everyone wud have applauded his fine century and those beautiful cover drives and leg glances. The problem is that Sachin tried. If he wouldnt have tried, his 'critics' would have rested in peace :)

Murali said...

Amar i rate this as one of ur best.
now u would rate me as critic for this.
Whenever Sachin bats he brings smile onto billion people in flash of second. Its inspirational/motivating for everyone and he's such a genius. I wish am wrong here in saying he also brings the best out of opposition and it is such a big hype/attention/milestone/cash pot to get his pricely wicket and bowlers, fielders from all over the world give their best to get sachin out.
All this extra force is barely bearable by our 9 other mortal indian cricketers perhaps not always but its quite visible in so many extraordinary stunts from sachin. He stands tall n rest of the team falls..

rsmurthy said...

Thanks Amar. Thanks a lot for this wonderful article. You have put all our feelings in writing.

But I too disagree with the Dravid part.

Amar said...

I agree with u ra. He has been such an inspiration for millions. Yeah, we remember how the Shoaibs and Malingas celebrated when they got him :)

Murthy uncle,

Fantastic to see u here. Hope to see more of u in the blog :) Regarding the Dravid part, thats how it is for me. He is an excellent team player, especially in tests. He is invaluable. But especially in ODIs, except for a series in NZ, i never saw him initiate. So he may have fantastic averages but those statistics dont say everything. Anyway, i made this point in response to a friend's argument that Dravid is on par, if not better than Sachin. Silly to even respond to, but i anyway made the point that morale a innings inspires is important and Sachin is all abt that, not statistics. And ofcourse, not many in the team, apart from Saurav (when he was in form) did that anyway.

I hope i made my point abt the context here :)

Saurish-Chit said...

The ppl who criticize him,are ppl leaving in constant denial. When an Elephant passes by,you will surely see dogs barking..

Here is my tribute:

Sid said...

Nice post Amar.
Sachin is the pride of every Indian.