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?
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