Mar 122011
 

The big man of the cricket, also called as the Master Blaster, Sachin Tendulkar is in the heat of the action all throughout the world cup until now. He is either busy getting 100’s and 50’s(these are just another numbers for him, but for us they are achievements) or sliding and diving around the field saving runs, doing both the things for the team. But there have been speculations all the time before the world cup, that he might quit after the tournament.

No matter what the results for India, he is sure to be asked the question after this tournament. Is he quitting from the international cricket? Does he thinks that he has had enough of cricket for life and may want to settle with his family?

Sachin-Tendulkar1

 

I think I know what his answer will be. “Where did you get that idea? Why do you think I should retire? Am I not doing it right for India?”

It is an impression amongst the self proclaimed gurus of the game, or of any other game for that matter, that a sportsperson should retire at the peak of his career. That way, he goes graciously and is remembered for a long time.

But, why can’t a player who is performing well and is confident about his fitness, stay on with the game for a longer time? Why should age factor come in the way? If he performs well, can he not put himself well above in the achievements’ charts in that particular sport?

Michael Schumacher did not retire at the peak of his career. But does that wipe off his 7 championships? Is he not remembered for that? Tiger Woods continue to play, and may underperform at times, but does he not perform miracles in the dying stage of any tournament? If health and age should have been considered as retirement factor, Lance Armstrong should have given up on cancer, shouldn’t he? Age is just a condition against which these players fought and continue to fight.

So now should Sachin Tendulkar quit? Give one reason. Not the age one…..Not the fitness one. Because those become invalid arguments.

Or better still. Give one player to the Indian team who has Tendulkar’s commitment, fitness, desire to better his game and his sporting spirit. Give one player who attends all the practice sessions, sober, and ready to bat(left and right handed), bowl and field. Give one player who, even after having all the above qualities, have not been distracted by the endorsement industry. If you find one, Sachin might consider making the room.

Else, quit suggesting him to quit!!

Feb 222011
 

With two numbers performed live by Bryan Adams, and a very low quality theme song, the world cup was inaugurated at Dhaka on 18th Feb. 2011. The very first match between the co-hosts, India and Bangladesh, gave a very fair idea of how the world cup will turn out to be. Far away from the lush green outfields, and the grassy pitches of Australia, England or South Africa, the dust bowls of the Indian subcontinent(including India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) are the venues for all the matched of this edition. It will be a little surprise that the matched will be high scoring ones, with very little for the bowler. Sehwag and Kohli, affirmed this belief on saturday.

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It is said that the there were huge revenue losses in the previous edition of the world cup due to the early exit of India. Now, India is considered as one of the major revenue generating country for the cricketing world, and the disqualification of their home team(due to their poor performance) would be enough reason for loss of revenue. The organisers wanted to be double sure that this doesn’t happen again. India has to stay in the game till the very end, so what do we do? Make sure that the pitches are batsman friendly, given that India has one of the strongest batting line up, and conversely, one of the weakest bowling lineup. The pitches will be one of the most favorable thing for the India team in the Indian subcontinent, and captains will be heard complaining that the bowlers were not up to the mark, after each match.

The only thing against India might be the Duckworth Lewis system, which has never ever favored India.

Except for one game, all the games up till now have been high scoring ones. Even the Netherlands managed to score a very respectable 292, and were choking the mighty England. Eventually, England managed to beat them, but with very few overs to spare, and though they lost, Netherland showed us that they could do it. Either that, or they got lost of help from the pitch. Because, England is poor player on such field.

In olden times, cricket used to be a test of mental and physical abilities for both batsman and the bowler. It used to be a one on one encounter. Batsman like Sunil Gavaskar, Arvinda D’silva, Sir Donald Bradman, Sachin Tendulkar, Viv Richards, Salim Malik, Garry Kirsten, Steve Waugh, the Flower Brothers(Andy and Grant) and many more legends of our times would be pitched against the legendary bowlers like Dennis Lilee, Courtney Walsh, Ambrose, Malcolm Marshall, Kapil Dev, Imran Khan, Wasim Akram, Glen Mcgrath, Sharne Warne etc. They were friends in the dressing room and enemies on the field. They would share their beer, but not give away anything during the game. Each wicket was earned, and each run was ran for. There were no hand outs. But times have changed. The game has become batting centered. Maybe that’s because people love runs being made, big scores being posted. A six, hit out of the stands, is more exciting for them then the batsman being bowled out by a precisely placed Yorker. This attitude towards the game has lead to the batsman centered game.

Sachin Tendulkar, or the Master Blaster, has innocently and unknowingly, shaped the way cricket is seen nowadays. Not that he is to be blamed for that. He has played his part. But the major cause of worry is that it is only he who is considered as the true success of the game, and is adored, and worshipped and followed. To an extent that everyone aspires to be him. No one wants to be the Kapils or the Lilees of the game. They all want to be the Tendulkars of the game. And that’s leading to formation of weak teams, which can compete nowhere else, other than their home ground, which are custom made to suit their style.

How bat-centric a game, cricket has become in recent times, can be judged by the world cup anthem this year. De Ghumaake, meaning “Swing it” were the words used heavily in the entire lyrics. Not that it was any great song. Infact, there was nothing much in it except 3 idiots dancing around on the stage, singing the same four lined lyrics, again and again, till everyone was tired of it. How it went past the organising committee, I have no idea. Anyway, the point was that, it has no mention about what the bowler has to do during the matched. It only instructs the batsman to “De Ghumaake”, i.e.. swing it. In other words, slog.

I just hope that in he near future, some youngsters aspire to become the Kapil Devs and Imran Khans of the game, so that the an equal balance is maintained.

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