August 25, 2007

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan on India in England, 2007

The elusive century no.42

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan
Sachin Tendulkar looks back after getting a lifter from Flintoff, which led to his dismissal, England v India, 2nd ODI, Bristol, August 24, 2007
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Sachin Tendulkar smiled. Now that's not a codeword for a nuclear explosion but it was how Tendulkar reacted to an umpiring decision when he was one short of his 42nd one-day hundred. What an injustice, cried millions of fans across the world. How can such a great batsman fall in the 90s in three out of five one-day innings? And how does one explain two 99s in two months?

Hang on. According to The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, 42 is the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything. Surely two months isn't long enough for solving such a mighty problem. It shows that the step from 0 to 41 is surely demanding but the one from 41 to 42 is gigantic. It's a leap that our Sachin needs to take. Douglas Adams obviously saw it coming several decades earlier but when it does arrive, it deserves one heck of a celebration.

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Rahul Dravid has made a few faux pas on this tour and continued his fine form in yesterday’s press conference as well. He's confused Anil Kumble for Harbhajan Singh and Tendulkar for Sourav Ganguly earlier but last evening he mixed up Southampton with Portsmouth. Portsmouth! Now where did that come from? It left the scribes a bit confused but one English journalist, from Portsmouth, forgave him instantly: "Dravid just doesn't stop rising in my estimation."

Siddhartha Vaidyanathan is a former assistant editor at Cricinfo

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