Sachin: A faith you shouldn’t doubt
Dec 03 2012
become the best that you are capable of becoming.”
— John Wooden
Sachin’s debut story is now legendary. The gutsy 16-year-old boy, bleeding from being hit on the nose by a bouncer refused medical attention and said, “main kheloonga”. (I will play.) Put very simply, this is the essence of Sachin the cricketer. He sees, hears, breathes and feels nothing but cricket. For 20 years, he has held centrestage at every game. He has been the opposing team’s biggest nightmare and Indian cricket’s biggest asset. He has not just won games, but respect and the minds and hearts of cricket lovers across the world. To quote Brian Lara, “Everybody gets 15 minutes of fame. But if there’s one person I’ve admired over a 15-year period, it’s definitely Sachin.” One of his fans had once put up a banner saying, “Commit all your crimes when Sachin is batting. They will go unnoticed because even the Lord will be gone to watch him!” While said in jest, this speaks of what his fans think of him.
For Indians, Sachin has personified hope. His excellence catapulted Indian cricket to great heights. Every time he walks out to bat, the entire nation’s aspirations of greatness come alive. He has never been complacent with his victories. No matter how many milestones he may have achieved, he continues to work hard and practise. This is the story of a true champion — and his greatness comes from talent, hard work and the sheer determination to win. His focus is clear and he loves the game. Combine that with impeccable character as Sachin the man stays true to his values. He keeps to himself and is unblemished by controversies. He is the epitome of humility with his feet firmly planted on the ground. It’s a pleasure to listen to him and to hear stories of the lives he has touched. Sachin Tendulkar should be put on pedestal and admired for everything that he is. Our country lacks leaders and icons, yet we forget to protect and preserve what we possess. Let us stand up and salute him, not deride him.
Can anyone even understand the kind of responsibility Sachin carries? Let us not compare him with anyone else, no one else has played 192 Tests, made 34,000 runs, or scored 100 centuries. Expectations from him are always high. The moment he achieves one landmark, people expect the next one from him. All this along with maintaining impeccable character. It cannot be easy for him. Cricket is our national passion, so is debating about it. But it is not debates that built Sachin. His foundation is rock solid and no amount of derision from the media can destroy what he has built.
We have all loved Sachin when he was at his peak; he needs support and encouragement now. Most importantly, he needs to be given the respect he deserves — which is best done by giving him space. For years, he has dazzled us with his batting; he has shown maturity of character in all his other actions. Why is it that we want to decide what he should do? If he decides to continue to play — he will bounce back with a vengeance. If he decides to quit — it would be for a good reason and he would bow out as he came into the game with grace and dignity. Either way, the decision must be his and we simply have to let him choose his time. I personally feel that the world has yet to see the best of Sachin Tendulkar and he will astound us with some more great batting.
Ricky Ponting’s decision to retire has provided more fuel to the debate about Sachin’s retirement. But why should Ponting’s decision affect what Sachin should do? Ponting is a legendary cricketer in his own rights, yet for all the reasons cited above, Sachin cannot be compared to anyone. Let us not be quick to pass judgements. I remember many years ago, when Mohinder Amaranth was playing very well and Sunil Gavaskar was going through a lean phase, people started comparing the two. Yet history is witness to what a great player Gavaskar was. He bade farewell to an active playing life when he was ready to do so. When we compare Sachin to anyone else —we dilute the meaning of the word champion. For years, Sachin has set standards in the game for others to follow. He has beaten world records and set new ones. Let us not forget that he is the leader in this game. He will not follow another but will create his own signposts. No one needs to define his boundaries.
Our generation is fortunate to witness history in the making. Sachin is a phenomenon that the world of cricket may not see again for decades to come. History will judge him on achievements. Today, the nation needs to stand behind a man who has given us the taste of unparalleled achievements and filled our hearts with hope and faith. Let us throw away our doubts and look forward to his stunning return to form of the god of cricket. I hope his detractors will find a place to hide.
“I have been wounded but not yet slain. I shall lie here and bleed awhile. Then I shall rise and fight again. The title of champion may from time to time fall to others more than ourselves. But the heart, the spirit, and the soul of
— Vince Lombardi
(The writer is CEO of KPMG India)