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Life as I'm learning it

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Location: Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania, United States

"It little profits that an idle king, By this still hearth, among these barren crags, Match'd with an ag├Ęd wife, I mete and dole Unequal laws unto a savage race, That hoard, and sleep, and feed, and know not me."

Friday, November 25, 2005

If winter comes...

4, 2, 6, 123, 1, 9, 93, 67, 2, 11, 19, 39, 2, 2 and 2. That gives you the runs scored by Sachin Tendulkar, my favourite player and inarguably the world's best living cricketer, in his last 15 ODI innings. Hardly anything that displays consistency or lives up to the aura and halo we associate with name.

Yet, an entire nation backs him each time he goes out to bat, while they will invent new reasons to deride Sourav Ganguly. Now let me inform you that I don't carry any brief for Sourav, and I am not an ardent supporter. What he has - or rather, has not - done definitely doesn't win my vote for his inclusion into the squad. But how far behind is Sachin?

Double standards

We have brought things to such a pass that the halo that we have created around the man has made it impossible for us to even think of a game without him. True, the little master from Mumbai stands the tallest when it comes to smashing existing records and creating new ones. Yesterday I heard someone say that even bookies never placed bets until Sachin got out - which shows the calibre of this living legend.

But the moment someone talks ill about his batting or form, that someone is slammed from all sides. They call him God, venerate him, drink Pepsi, ride Victor and wear Adidas. And he, er.. "He" fails repeatdely.

When Yuvraj Singh played a face-saving innings against the Lankans, the whole of India deflected praise by saying, "Ah, he knew he would be dropped! That's why." But the string of poor scores above doesn't follow that logic. They scoff at suggestions that Sachin does, at times, play for records. Haven't you seen him drop anchor when he reaches 90? The next 10 runs takes a good 20 deliveries. "Arrey, why should he be rash now?" Well, India needs 20 from 10 balls, and yet he needn't be rash?

If Sourav doesn't bat, then he is useless, arrogant and "a typical Bengali". But Sachin is "just going through a lean patch. Didn't he score that brilliant 90 the other day?" No two-minute noodles stories this time around.

When Sourav was dropped, people said that it was time to move away from ranting about past glory. In Tendulkar's case, I concede that any talk of past glory is hasty. But the fact that we don't even come to think of it exposes the pedestal on which we have placed him. "What more has he to prove?", they ask. Well, if there was nothing more for him to prove, shouldn't he be sitting at home?

Our veneration blinds us from the obvious. Our fear of being bashed stops us from being forthright. And our inability to be forthright screws up our national passion. That sums up our cricketing sense. We simply don't have the guts to drop Sachin.

... can spring be far behind?


Blogger Gokulakrishnan S said...

Its not always about performance VK; its also about the influence of Ganguly after the Chappell issue on the team; its an issue of team dynamics. We cannot afford to have split camps within the team. Ganguly may be flamboyant, arrogant and possessing all the qualities a batsman should have. But the larger question is whether he can be a leader or even a team player in the current situation.

11/25/2005 12:03:00 PM  
Anonymous Vijay Krishna said...

But those were not the grounds on which Ganguly was dropped. The reason was performance. Sachin's run is not any better. Why use different yardsticks?

11/25/2005 08:03:00 PM  
Blogger Caleb said...

I agree Sachin hasnt performed well recently but I feel he deserves few more innings before even thinking of dropping him.

else it will be double standards!! Ganguly was given lots of time. His last century was in world cup 2003. (yes i agree we didnt play kenya after that but thats no excuse is it?)

He was given enough chance! He didnt perform. To top that, he gave 6-10 runs with his fielding every match. And wasnt willing to bowl like he is now.

11/25/2005 11:07:00 PM  
Blogger rookie_journo said...

Look at Lara... and his records vis-a-vis Tendlya!

11/26/2005 02:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Lara = WIndies - Zimbabwe.
Sachin used to be = India - Zimbabwe

Not any more... with more promising players.

And what was the basis of seating VVS or DMongia or HBadani on the bench, when you give so many chances to a rock-solid performer currently out of form)?

11/27/2005 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Gokulakrishnan S said...

Come on VK, I dont think the selectors were so naive to pick or drop players purely on basis of performance... Any swashbuckling player who speaks against his own coach and plays politics within the team might as well sit outside.

11/27/2005 11:06:00 PM  
Blogger Soumyadip said...

Dropping Sachin? This is blasphemous!!! ;-)

And Wankhede will be the next Eden.

11/28/2005 12:34:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

An excellent article.....
people who citicise Ganguly...
really have to step out and see the world from outside.....

and this is what is lacking in us...

i agree totally

12/01/2005 12:19:00 PM  

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