”ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL, BUT SOME ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS”.-Animal Farm (1945) published by George Orwell
What’s the discussion about? Is Sachin greater than Bradman? Was Bradman ruthless in his times? Was Richards the fiercest of all in his times? And where does Kohli land? Or precisely, where have the boardroom commentators and illiterates wearing the mask of educated landed Kohli just because he scored plenty on one of the tracks at ADELAIDE OVAL (the other track on the slower side), BELLERIVE OVAL (always better for batsmen), and Indian pitches? Okay, what’s the standard of bowling and how many greats have bowled at his stumps and how many have devised plans using computer graphics? (There’s a legend that Hansie Cronje and Co. used animation to outsmart Sachin). Here comes a piece that breaks spine of ridiculously ignorant and unintentionally absurd think tanks.
Where does the answer lie to the second question? Because the first question itself is dependent on the second one.
If you say that Sachin is not eligible to become the first ever Indian sportsman to receive BHARAT RATNA, does it mean that Sachin should be awarded BHARAT RATNA after Kapil Dev, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Dilip Vengsarkar, Sania Mirza, PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Sanjay Manjrekar, Sourav Ganguly, Virender Sehwag, Anil Kumble, Virat Kohli, Shikhar Dhawan, Harsha Bhogle are awarded? Or that Sachin should NOT be awarded at all? What’s myth surrounding Sachin’s century and a necessitated defeat? Is the gain of Sachin meant to provide loss to his team?
And, what crime did he commit? HE DID NOT PLAY AS PER YOUR EXPECTATIONS.
Right? So, how did he play?
Where did he play? When did he play?
Now, take a look at scenarios, just when he was in the eighth year of playing for his team, and analyse. Steve Waugh, Dhoni, Ponting, all won the world cups before they reached 10 years of playing.
Scenario 1: 1996 Wills World Cup, India v West Indies, Roop Singh Stadium, Gwalior, February 21, Wednesday.
- India had shown exemplary discipline in containing Caribbean batsmen to shut them down to 173. Chanderpaul and Richie Richardson had tried to build innings who received no support. Srinath had Brian Lara, although the replays showed error of judgement by the on-field umpire. Anil Kumble had struck for India at vital points.
- India started their innings with Jadeja and Tendulkar but the bowling attack was not an ordinary unit with the likes of Walsh and Ambrose early on with Ian Bishop supporting these lanky pacers in from the other end. Jadeja and Navjyot Sidhu had to go back. Sachin and Azhar built the ship.
- Sachin had maintained restraint all through his demonstrative knock of 70 off 90 balls and when everything was set for a neat finish Kambli ran him out at around 130. Manoj Prabhakar too left the scene in a manner only he could justify. Of course, India had sailed home.
Scenario 2: 1996 Wills World Cup, India v Australia, Wankhade, Bombay, February 27, Tuesday.
Mark Taylor had won the toss and chosen to bat first in the first ever day-night ODI at The Wankhede.
- Taylor and Mark Waugh had put on 100 runs for the first wicket.
- India contained other batsmen with spin and some good fielding. Australia ended at 258.
- Indians were required to pace their innings brilliantly against the quality bowling that had best swing bowler of times Damien Fleming and emerging bowling sensation Glenn McGrath.
- India had tough time dealing with the problem of opening pair. They entrusted this task to Jadeja and Tendulkar.
- Jadeja and Kambli got out in quick succession. Score was below 10 for the loss of two wickets at a time when all they needed was crucial partnerships.
- Out of 150 runs scored by India, his score of 90 was the highlight where he had dented the confidence of emerging Glenn McGrath and Fleming.
- Nayan Mongia had shown the promise but he was never confident of going for big shots. The reason: Manoj Prabhakar’s dramatic run out. This was vital. India were 150 at that stage.
- In the end, India lost by 16 runs. Fleming was the Man of the Match.
Scenario 3: 1996 Wills World Cup, India v Sri Lanka, Ferozshah Kotla Grounds, Delhi, March 2, Saturday.
Ranatunga asked India to bat first in the misty conditions in Delhi. Chaminda Vaas had bowled brilliantly with 3 maiden overs.
- The pace of Indian innings was too slow and it was evident from the fact that the score was only 99 at 24th over.
- Sachin and Azhar built the innings; Azhard scored 70 plus and Sachin scored 137 and got out in the 50th over.
- Srilankan openers Kaluwitharane and Jayasuriya started off the innings and scored 42 runs in the first three overs.
- Sachin and Anil Kumble brought us back into the game with their bowling, but then there was always the shortage of a potential bowler who could set up a game for us. He, along with Kumble at the other end, tightened Lankan batsmen. Finally, Srilanka defeated India chasing 271!
If you verify the above cases, India banked on Sachin mostly and he delivered when it mattered.
a. It would be harsh on our part to ask him to bat through full fifty overs in the game against AUSTRALIA when all he needed to do was to attack McGrath and torment Warne and Fleming. He DID THAT.
b. In the game against WEST INDIES, he was out because of a poor call from Vinod Kambli. Here too, he had delivered when it MATTERED.
c. In the game against SRILANKA too he had stayed there till those 49.2 overs.
d. India had won the game against WEST INDIES when he made 70.
e. India lost to AUSTRALIA and SRILANKA when he made 90 and 137 respectively.
f. The fact was that India had depended on Sachin most of the time with few silver linings from the other players.
g. What is more, is that he helped India with his leg break and off break bowling!
ARE THE ABOVE EXAMPLES ENOUGH OR DO WE WANT MORE TO SATISFY OUR FRAUDULENT EGO?
This is what TIME magazine had to say about Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar on the eve of his retirement:
“When Sachin Tendulkar travelled to Pakistan to face one of the finest bowling attacks ever assembled in cricket, Michael Schumacher was yet to race an F1 car, Lance Armstrong had never been to the Tour de France, Diego Maradona was still the captain of a world champion Argentina team, (and) Pete Sampras had never won a Grand Slam. When Tendulkar embarked on a glorious career taming Imran and company, Roger Federer was a name unheard of; Lionel Messi was in his nappies, Usain Bolt was an unknown kid in the Jamaican backwaters. The Berlin Wall was still intact; USSR was one big, big country.”
“It seems while Time was having his toll on every individual on the face of this planet, he excused one man. Time stands frozen in front of Sachin Tendulkar. We have had champions, we have had legends, but we have never had another Sachin Tendulkar and we never will.”
So, do you think Sachin had paid Time magazine a bribe for a fair return of write-up on his career? Had TIME eulogized Sachin a bit more in Tendulkar’s country? Was it Sachin’s fault to receive BHARAT RATNA award when government conferred upon him? Okay, for the sake of argument, we are free to say whatever we are compelled to think in a manner only we could (deeply stabilized by instability and freedom to embrace ignorance).