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Sachin Tendulkar

By: Rex Inego | May 06, 2009 12:04 PM

Tendulkar is David Beckham (without the petulance), Robbie Williams (without sex and drugs), Ewan McGregor (without taking his kit off) and Tony Blair (with humility)Ӕ - London Times

Donald Bradman, the Australian cricketing legend had expressed his idea of an ideal all time world XI in his biography that was launched just prior to his demise. The batting phenomenon had himself placed at No.3 after the openers Barry Richards of South Africa and Arthur Morris who was the opener of his 'invincible' Australian side. Garry Sobers of West Indies was his No.5 and apart from Sobers, Barry and the English medium fast bowler Alec Bedser, only one more cricketer from a non-Australian team appeared in the leaugue of extra-ordinary cricketers. The covetous No.4 spot, deep in the heart of Bradman was reserved for a little man who had his first cricketing lessons in the narrow gullies of Mumbai Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar.

Truly a legend in his own right, Sachin Tendulkar was in 2002 rated by Wisden as the second greatest test batsman in the history of cricket, only second to Donald Bradman, and the second greatest one day batsman next to Sir Vivian Richards of West Indies. Tendulkar is the batsman who holds the record for the most number of test and one day international runs, as well as centuries. He is also often referred to as the friend of records for his frequent breaking them in some standard or other in the cricketing sector. He had surpassed Brian Lara's record for the most number of test runs in 2008 October, and cruised to the status of the world's only batsman to score 12,000 test runs.

Sachin Tendulkar was named after Indian musician Sachin Dev Burman, the idol of his late father and Marathi novelist Ramesh Tendulkar. It was his brother Ajit Tendulkar's encouragement that led him to the cricketing field of Sharadashram Vidyamandir High School, where he was guided by his coach and mentor Ramakant Achrekar. He had also enjoyed the luxury of being trained at the MRF Pace Foundation supervised by the great Australian quick bowler Dennis Lillee, but as a fast bowler. However, Dennis Lillee unimpressed by his bowling skills advised him to concentrate on his batting. Tendulkar's success can be directly linked to the dedicated practice sessions undertaken by him in his young age, propelled by Achrekar.

Even though he had the taste of being talked about frequently by the cricket loving public of Mumbai from a very young age and had his roots in a lower middle class household, his outstanding composure and demeanor played a great role in keeping the Tendulkar Juggernaut rolling. This particular statement is used here to compare his handling of the celebrity status with some others' handling of the same. Football all time great Diego Maradona and American pop king Elvis Aron Presley are ideal subjects to be compared with the little great man of world cricket, in the context. As a matter of fact, shrewd cricketing think tanks of several international sides have constantly resorted to meddling into his composure with common tools such as on and off field sledging to deeper ones like flattering him with references to his immaculate batting technique.

However, Tendulkar too had his share of depressions, light ones to pretty serious ones. It is evident from the history that he did not face much trouble from sheer bowling talents. If the likes of Glenn McGraths, Wasim Akrams, Shaun Pollocks, Allan Donalds and Brett Lees might have had the upper hand on him at times, he too more often than not dominated these bowlers on his days. In his early twenties he was seen well constricted by Hansie Cronje's South Africans with a fielder at point, Jonty Rhodes as their chief weapon. Cronje asked his chief hitmen Donald, Pollock and Fanny De Villiers to maintain a nagging line just outside the offstump and made the great Indian toil to get runs with his predominant square cuts and drives checked by the fielding machine called Rhodes.

He also had problems until recently on playing the phenomenal reverse swing implemented and advocated mainly by Pakistani speedsters. In fact this was the significant episode in his career that gave his high profile ICC detractors a chance to strip him off the title of the world's best batsman. It was a mystery then why the master batsman of the team could not score runs after the openers and Rahul Dravid, the No.3 batter scored heavily. Even the tail enders scored considerably after his dismissal during this period. An important fact to be noted here is that most of the times he had succumbed to LBW verdicts that too, off inswinging old balls. At the time, no one came up with a solution that either he had to learn to cope up with old balls inswinging or to bat at No.3 pipping Dravid.

Besides, he also faced another problem around this time, which was more of psychological in nature. A Tendulkar specialist could term it Sehwag Syndrome, when the maestro desperately tried to match stroke by stroke with his clone ending up in the losing side often (Saurav Ganguly even asked him to step down the order in the limited over batting line up to tackle this problem much to the scorn of the great man that was apparent in his subsequent body language) Nevertheless, he overcame the problems with his cutting edge batting technique and heeding to advises from pundits such as Greg Chappel and Sunil Gavaskar. The advise of the wise ones was ֖ play second fiddle to Sehwag.

Currently, he bats more like him...the vintage Sachin Tendulkar they call it. The same man who had surprised Shane Warne with his paddle scoops after his return from a back surgery with a fatal advice from the surgeon that was all about forgetting his lofted bowler's back drive. If Ian Botham had introduced the 'reverse sweep' it definitely was this man who brought forth the paddle scoop, which gave more nightmares to Warne. The same man with the big smile when gifted with a Ferrari by a not so ordinary name, Michael Schumacher. The same boy who had made Geoff Boycott exclaim, I would pay to go to any corner of the world to watch the boy bat.Ӕ Today it seems atleast he is given the rights to determine his ideal point to retire by even his most bitter critics.

Pros: Immaculate batting technique Tremendous composure A good family man

cons: Lacks sang-froid Sore looser

conclusion: Definitely in the same class as Donald Bradman and Vivian Richards.

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