March 22, 2011

ICC World Cup 2011

What if Sachin Tendulkar fancies 99?

George Binoy

There is more to life than a century of centuries, writes Suresh Menon in DNA.

What if Tendulkar, having broken every record there is (well, almost), has decided to play a trick on all of the above? Perhaps he fancies the number 99. After all, that is Don Bradman’s Test average. What if he decides to pull down the shutters and remain on 99 international centuries? He already has 31 more centuries than anyone else, and these things can become tiresome. After all there are so many other gaps to fill as statisticians will tell you. The most 50s on a Wednesday without a national holiday, the most runs by a batsman with a runner, the most number of singles to square leg to get off the mark ...

Meanwhile, writing in the Daily Telegraph, Steve James reminds us that Sachin Tendulkar is not a “confirmed walker” and the waters of cricket ethics are murky at best.

Tendulkar walked, Ponting didn’t. Tendulkar is the paragon of virtue, Ponting isn’t. Well, that seems the simplest inference anyway … But cricket’s ethics are complicated … By standing [their ground], batsmen think they are merely asking umpires to do the job they are paid to do. But what confuses me is the distinction between that, which is not considered cheating by many, and, say, claiming a catch on the half-volley, which is definitely considered cheating by all.

Andy Bull, writing in the Guardian, agrees that the issue of a batsman walking is a grey area in cricket.

I suspect that the decision to walk is going to be seen as further evidence of his [Sachin Tendulkar's] saintliness, though this should be resisted. In a way that innings of just two is going to be as fondly remembered a part of his lore as any of the other 438 ODI innings he has played ... No one is ever going to call Ponting a sporting saint. His view is still a legitimate one, and the majority of cricketers would be on his side. Ponting plays to win, and a lot of people would argue that has more to do with the spirit of the cricket than walking does.

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George Binoy is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

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