Sachin Tendulkar - The Unseen Face

The disappointment and pain that accompanies the collapse of a beautiful image is more often than not, excruciating. And when the image is one that has endured longer than most, inasmuch as to be considered infallible, the fall is harder to digest. And when the image is worshipped by millions, the mere suggestion of fallibility is sacrilegious.

In India, the image of Sachin Tendulkar is nothing short of Godly, and yet I am at pains to point out a few chinks in that apparently blemishless image for the sake of the great game that is cricket, and for the sake of its fervent supporters.

These days, the newspapers and the electronic media are full of Sachin's achievements and his "greatness", some going even to the extent of raising him to the level of the greatest personalities that India as a country has seen through the ages. Yet, many have seen and felt, albeit without expressing their feelings for fear of blaspheming the painstakingly created, larger-than-life persona that Sachin Tendulkar is, that Sachin is no superhuman. He is equally vulnerable to all the vices of humanity as we all are. He is equally obsessed with fame and popularity as every celebrity is. He would be committing an act of mendacity if he claimed to be unconcerned about his batting average or his tally of centuries. All these are perfectly human and perfectly acceptable qualities, except when these ambitions and aspirations rise higher than the collective goal of the team and the country, in which case the very character of these attributes becomes obnoxious.

I have seen Sachin to be very possessive about landmarks, so much so that he can bat ten times longer for one run when he is close to one than when away from it. I have seen him comment unfavorably about one captain's decision to declare the innings when he was on the verge of another landmark. This time I have seen him protecting his wicket at the expense of the team's prestige and morale. The fact wouldn't have deserved any mention had it not been so visibly invidious and selfish. Even Graeme Smith, the opposing captain was surprised by Sachin's deliberate attempts to get away from the strike when the team needed him to be at the crease as much as possible so as to avoid at least an innings defeat, if not delay proceedings as much as possible until weather intervened. The way in which he stole singles and allowed the number eleven batsman to face the major part of every over bowled by the South African pacers reeked of suspicious intent, to say the least, to save his wicket and, in the process, sacrifice the interests of the team and the country at the altar of his ambitions.

What pains most is the fact that Sachin has had the chance to be the perfect role model for the generations to come. He has the perfect balance of skill and temperament to ensure a place in the sun without resorting to any tactics that may mar his image irreparably. Yet, his actions on the field are transparent enough to belie any of his statements of modesty off the field, and has lowered his stature in the eyes of many more fans like me.

Role models are expected to be perfect, and perfection is but a non-existent attribute in today's world. And, now we know, though many would be loth to admit, that Sachin Tendulkar cannot expected to be an exception to the fact.


Ravi Gandh said... [Reply]

I completely agree. He has the best batting abilities one might ever have! He perhaps is better all-round batsman than Don Bradman. He must be one the most hardworking batsman. But he is not the greatest team player that we all expect from a such talents. Indian media and public in general have strange fascinations! Perhaps because of such psyche its more of an aberration when India shows a real fighting spirit than a norm.

satya said... [Reply]

Sachin no doubt is the best technical batsman for the last 20 years but when comes for playing for country he is the worst batsman i have ever seen.he is the biggest loser when it comes for the country.such a selfish batsman who can die for century.Even if at this age whensituation demands he never hesitate to take 50 balls to score 10 runs for a oneday century.

Mohini said... [Reply]

I totally agree with you and the comments by Ravi and Satya. He was my fav. player. But I see he is very worried abt his image always. And very selfish for his records. Thanks for such a true and honest post. Many ppl are crazy for him. They can't listen a single word of reality. So is this the love for Cricket or for a person? BTW template and content of your blog very nice...beautiful!

Blogxter said... [Reply]

Thank you all for the nice words of encouragement. Hope to see you return again.

Amy and Arpit Mathew said... [Reply]

These are bold and honest thoughts on India's biggest idol. It is true that though Sachin has 51 centuries, not that many are in a winning cause. But give the man his due - at least he makes all the right noises - for the most part! Look forward to more interesting posts like this one!

Blogxter said... [Reply]

Thanks a lot Amy and Arpit. Hope to see you back again


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