I am always a little bit at risk when writing about Tendulkar. So before I am lynched, let me hastily mention that one thing I admire about the chappie is longevity. Quite a testament to fitness and desire.
Whether the results are on par, is a different thing.
Tendulkar halts traffic like nothing else in India, barring political rallies or cows on Delhi roads. About nine out of 10 people think he is the God of cricket (if not God himself), an accolade which evaporates every time he doesn’t perform. Then he is compared to mortals (“X also didn’t score, why you pointing at Tendulkar” etc.).
But there is no denying that many generations have been brought up on Brand Sachin and/or the Sachin brand of cricket. He is definitely ‘there’, when you discuss cricket. At the same time, even the most hardcore of realists will not publicly state that he is way past his sell-by date. A truth that doesn’t escape even his most hardcore fan.
Anyway, today we won’t go into the birthday boy’s merits or demerits. He has played cricket, with some distinction. Not as much as he should have, but enough to make him a very good player.
But off late, things haven’t been good, far less ‘great’.
The much-abused adage of ‘you must quit when people say why, not why not’ I guess doesn’t work of a majority of people in India, more so the stars and superstars. Tendulkar has reached a stage where people (admittedly just a few) have begun asking why he wasn’t hanging up his boots and letting someone younger get his chance.
Now, being a sore loser (which, I may again hasten to add, isn’t always a bad thing), the man has made it a point to strive for the heights that he had held for so long and then sign out, with a flourish. Sadly, the truth about those highs is that once you come down, you hardly ever manage to get back there. Age, slowing reflexes and your own cussed want to get back there hold you back. And it gets just worst.
At the same time, for all professions to the contrary, our man LOVES records. So the next one, 200 Tests, is a minimum that you’ll have the pleasure of his company. Things may change after that.
Or they may not….