Warne said he faced his nightmares. Lara said he wants his son to bat like him. Dravid, whose dismissal was perhaps cheered only because it brought India’s famous number 4 to the crease shared he was in awe of him. None other than the Don admitted he saw a bit of himself in this guy. And, the only thing that can make Gavaskar smile instantly is he.
With so much of respect pouring from different parts of the globe, the only thing that hasn’t been done in Tendulkar’s honour is to have a planet named after him. An asteroid off course won’t count for much; even Tom Hanks has one named after him. And surely Tendulkar’s contribution to the world is greater than Lincoln, Mandela of Gandhi’s. You could be the greatest human rights champion alive, a massively successful advocate of women’s rights or a crime fighting supremo, but you’re nowhere as important as India’s Sachin Tendulkar; the ‘God’.
Let’s just submit humbly- it’s Sachin’s universe where you just happen to prevail.
How else would you justify a mortal; a man of mere flesh and blood, standing perhaps not even taller to your breakfast table being hailed as a god? In a country that has more gods and goddesses than anywhere else in the world and where deities measure in the millions, having Sachin literally worshipped as one doesn’t help. It nearly marginalises the existences of several mythological powers who can’t exactly be blamed for not knowing how to put bat to ball.
Rather, it confuses the respect we’ve attributed to a cricketer as an indication of our own insecurities in life. That not only lag reason, rather are shaped by a bias so profound in size that it could put Mount Atlas to shame. The question concerning Sachin isn’t why he is hailed as a god, rather what on earth did pompous tags such as the master blaster or little master fail to convey that we had to place Sachin amongst the gods?
Truth is, any incredibly talented cricketer may well have ended up on the summit of statistical gathering that the Mumbaikar finished with. Those often squared with Sachin are nearly as good as him and in some cases, even better.
On what statistical ground would you rate a Lara, Sanga or Kallis below Sachin?
Sachin had the privilege to play 200 Tests. Kallis with 166 and Sanga with 134 Tests finished with a greater Test average. Let’s not forget, while Sanga kept wickets almost throughout his career and retired with a higher strike rate than Sachin’s, Kallis bowled in almost every game that he competed with whilst snapping a humongous tally of wickets, in front of which Tendulkar’s spinners don’t quite cut a mighty figure.
Can the average Indian fan for whom cricket is only about Team India accept this reality?
Lara, who scored the game’s only quadruple hundred only belittles Sachin, who failed to score a triple despite having more Tests under his kitty than what Bangladesh may have played in their lifetime. True Sachin never sledged. He is by far, one of the nicest of blokes to have played the game. But wouldn’t you rather vacate a seat for Dravid first when both he and Tendulkar enter a room at the same time?
For a great batsman to be dubbed the ‘greatest’, success should fundamentally be measured beyond the runs accumulated. And perhaps, should be measured through the strength of character and that thing called selflessness. We’ve heard how Ponting branded Lara selfish when he allowed himself to go past Hayden’s record. But, what makes us think that Sachin was the perfect team player? Had he been that, then why did he not open against England during India’s ill-fated 2011 tour to England where runs were as dry from the top order as water in India’s fledgling Ganges?
Why did it take a makeshift opener in Rahul Dravid to literally open the series in absence of Gautam Gambhir and Sehwag when Tendulkar, an experienced opener, would’ve done so easily? Which selfless legend is allowed a farewell game at the expense of literally cutting short a cricket tour. Sachin’s final game cannot be dubbed a grand farewell. To many, it seemed the BCCI demonstrated its power on home turf. There’s been no farewell game for Lara or Sanga, Chanderpaul, Andy Flower or Younis on their home ground.
For a player who apparently put his team ahead of him, what would you label the stance of scoring a 100 hundreds? If Sachin didn’t play for his records, then who did?