Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Sachin's Privilege

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Preference of formats to extend one’s playing career seems fair.

With so much cricket played; although 90% of it these days seems mundane; choosing to specialize in, or concentrate on, 1-2 formats is logical. In fact I believe over time, if Test cricket is allowed to flourish; cricket will probably evolve into something like Track and Field or Swimming where excelling in one format will logically mean sacrificing others for an individual cricketer

A Marathoner also actively participating in sprints is unheard of; only because training and preparing to excel in both involves vastly different, sometimes contrasting techniques; I assume.

The route that Sachin Tendulkar has taken to extend his career is queer and might I say a privilege that only he has an entitlement towards.

Technically he has not retired from any format.

He simply decides based on his own personal priorities which tour he will play and which he will skip. That he factors in what’s best for India and not just himself can only be assumed.

Having played for 22 years for his country, scored billions of runs and helped his team win prestigious matches, series’ and tournaments including the world cup, he is clearly a legend and will have privileges not accessible to even other greats.

Mahendra Singh Dhoni, too has asked for rest from cricket and has skipped an important tour to Sri Lanka only recently. However with Sachin, having not retired from One Day Internationals and not in possession of the excuse of having played ‘too much cricket’, he has decided to skip the Sri Lankan ODI / T20 tour.

One can only then assume that the tour is in direct conflict with his personal priorities.

What exactly must a cricketer achieve to earn this privilege? The privilege, that is, to choose his assignments to extend his own interests from the game.

Is 75 international centuries good enough? Or 20 years of non-stop service to the game?

In an interview over at cricinfo, he cites the fact that the Sri Lankan tour clashes with the school holidays as a reason. Its not too much cricket, its not the format that he does not wish to play; rather it is something as simple as ‘he would rather be at home with his children’ than represent his country.

Last year, it was the IPL and a date with Roger Federer over a tour to the West Indies.

Can Virendra Sehwag get the same privilege? Did Rahul Dravid get that?

Then comes this exchange in the interview

Cricinfo: You have pretty much ticked all the boxes - part of a World Cup-winning squad, India winning series abroad... A phase for you to now go out and just enjoy yourself and nothing else

Sachin: Yes. Even while doing that - playing cricket in various countries - I had fun, but when you win it gets even sweeter.

You take a lot of pride in playing for your nation. I have that terrific feeling and privilege of playing for India for the last 23 years and it's been a fantastic journey. I have no complaints at all. There have been ups and downs, and it makes you a better and strong person, it teaches you so many things in life around cricket, just as a person.

Admittedly, Sachin has never allowed himself to truly let himself ‘go’ in interviews and while I cannot accuse him of being dishonest his responses in interviews are too dumbed down, generic, cliché rich and apolitical and rudimentary. But surely never having won a Test series in Sri Lanka, South Africa, West Indies and Australia which is nearly half of the entire Test cricket playing world is a huge void in his legacy.

There are far lesser cricketers who have been part of teams that have achieved more. Ricky Ponting, Jacque Kallis come to mind but surely there are more. Vivian Richards, Steve Waugh…

Individual records, yes, but when it comes to what India has achieved with Sachin in the team, its got to disappoint even him.

True, he has mostly been part of a less than formidable teams over the 20 odd years. However to say that there were no disappointments or agree that he has achieved ‘everything’ and will play as long as he enjoys the game is flaunting his humility so blatantly on his sleeve that he is beginning to sound arrogant and irrelevant.


Mayank Jhaveri said...


You have often written on how Sachin's decision to pick and choose is incorrect and I agree.

It is disappointing to see this right being given to him, since it only messes up the team balance.

I liked Dileep Premchandran's article on the same, which clearly said that this wasn't helping India.

Having said all that, I have made peace with this treatment given to Tendulkar. He always is and will be treated as more among equals. So, I don't quite care about all this anymore.

And yes, he should have gone to WI and SL considering he is yet to win any test series at either location.

Vidooshak said...

If Sachin is playing because he enjoys the game and not because his presence lends an extra hand to the Indian team and improves it's chances of victory, then I'm not exactly sure what selfish is. The selectors have lacked gonads for generations. BCCI is a score settling org that simply cannot take the high road (like extening Kapil the benefits)..Indian cricket is going down the tubes and fast....

Golandaaz said...

Hi Mayank, thanks for your comment.

It seems all of us have adjusted to the new Sachin in our own ways. I 'officially' retired as a Sachin supporter on the eve of India's series against the West Indies in India :-)

And only then began questioning his decisions.

Even now, I believe the people who are advising him on his career and media appearences are dumb.

I would have much preferred he recognized the fact that India is now a middle of the road team and there is no reason for him to mouth bollywood style dialogues from the 80s and 90s.

If ever there was a time to show how truly humble he is it was now; instead he talks as if he has achieved everything and resting on his personal achievements

Golandaaz said...

Vidoo, India's selecton meetings must be all stars calling in to let the selectors know of their preferences...

Vidooshak said...

It would be fun to read some of those minutes...maybe we need to ask Chanakya to make something up...:-)

Ganesh said...

Sachin was a part of the Indian test series win in Sri Lanka.(1993)

Golandaaz said...

S Ganesh Kumar, you are right...

Mahek said...

Clashes with the holidays? I thought the summer holidays were over by the end of June. Maybe his kids are in a special school.

Swaminath said...

Was just about to point out that Sachin was part of the '93 tour to SL that we won. Even got a hundred in the first innings if I remember right.

I can relate to your statement that you retired as Sachin supporter. I did that about 4 years ago, when Manjrekar termed him the elephant in the room. Before that, as you said, I never questioned his decisions or his way of playing.