September 17, 2009

Indian cricket

Elephants and idol talk

George Binoy
Sachin Tendulkar reaches his 44th ODI hundred, Sri Lanka v India, Compaq Cup, final, Colombo, September 14, 2009
 © AFP
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Sachin Tendulkar doesn’t get criticised much, and almost never in India. So when Sanjay Manjrekar called him “the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about” in February 2008, after a string of poor performances in ODIs, people took notice - and not a few hurled back brickbats on their idol's behalf. Manjrekar, though, remained unfazed and on Thursday he reiterated - not once, but twice - that he stood by that opinion in that context. Asked first at a press meet whether he would revise that opinion, Manjrekar didn't budge. "I stand by the comment I made at that phase. He is a great player but he is also a human being. I have seen him from close since he was 14 and I could see he was afraid of failure and getting out." He added, though, that that seemed to have disappeared and he was playing with more freedom." For good measure, he repeated the sentiment in a TV interview the same evening - before presumably being smuggled out the back door to avoid irate Tendulkar fans.

George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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