Thursday, February 01, 2007

Sachin on Song

There is little that matches the unrivalled joy of watching a Sachin Tendulkar straight drive. It was during Operation Desert Storm in Sharjah once upon a time that Tendulkar straight drove Steve Waugh right over his head for six and held that pose just long enough for it to be imprinted in the minds of millions for eternity. If one keeps following all the bad press that Tendulkar gets for his (human) failings in some of the innings he plays, one would be conned into thinking that all that was in a different lifetime. In this life, Tendulkar is just another mortal who can never score when it matters, nor can he ever 'win a match for India' or so they want us to beleive.

Right after his drop to the middle order in the recently concluded series against WI, Tendulkar missed out on the run fest during his 30 in the first innings. He played like he has being doing in the recent past, more of an accumulator than an aggressor. Out came the hounds baying for his blood. There came the questions - Is Tendulkar past his prime? Should he quit while on top? Should he try and prolong his test career by moving away from the one day field. The fact that he played beautifully for his 30 and scored these runs at a run a ball mattered little to these pundits. His 60 in the third match did not matter too as he fell 'when it mattered'. In an interview before the final match, he said something to the effect that he knows what role he has been asked to play and that he is doing it to perfection. Then came the explosion in the final match. Tendlia was back to his old self, impeccable shots flowing from the meat of the bat, delicate angles finding gaps that others would be hard pressed to find and domination of the bowlers at will, all these qualities that made him the Little Maestro were back in full force and it was a sight to watch.

The purpose of this post is to tell the blood hounds that they can shove it for a while. Is it Tendulkar's fault that his last four centuries for India came in losing causes. If it really were the case that a Tendulkar century would lead to an Indian defeat, it will be Tendulkar himself who would step down. For the boyish enthusiasm he has and the infectious smile that creases his face when India wins cannot be fake, cannot be the work of someone who is selfishly prodding along for individual glory. Let him be...he is irreplaceable in this Indian Team and the day when he retires....aaaaahhhhh, lets cross that bridge when we come to it, it is too painful a thought as of now...

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