Indian cricket July 15, 2012

Needless publicity and 'Sachin'

MV Swaroop
A friend gets agitated every time someone refers to Tendulkar as Sachin. "It's always Ponting, Lara, Dravid, Kallis … and Sachin," he cribs. He then rants about how this clouds the world's assessment of a man is who, at best, "above average"
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A friend gets agitated every time someone refers to Tendulkar as Sachin. "It's always Ponting, Lara, Dravid, Kallis … and Sachin," he cribs. He then rants about how this clouds the world's assessment of a man is who, at best, "above average". He makes detailed tabular columns and excel sheets with statistics, painstakingly compiled from ESPNcricinfo's Statsguru, and forwards it to all of us who refer to the man as Sachin. And he insists, "Stop calling him Sachin, and you'll see him more clearly."

I started watching cricket seriously in 1990. I don't remember cricket before Sachin. In other words, for me, Sachin is as much a part of the game as bats, balls, bails, wickets, pads and gloves. I'm more familiar with his batting than I am with my own. When I watch him these days, I can almost predict his response to the bowling.

So, I explained to my friend that this familiarity meant that I couldn't call Sachin anything but Sachin - I know him that well. He scoffed and told me off for being a romantic fool. The hundredth international 100 tamasha then began. My friend first prayed that it shouldn't happen at Lords' - he didn't want a 'Hundredth 100 at the Mecca of Cricket' celebration. Sachin obliged, and continued to oblige at every potentially historic occasion. Finally, he scored it in a losing cause in an ODI against Bangladesh. Again, my friend was quick to point out that this perhaps led to India's exit from the Asia Cup.

Anyway, the century came. The world celebrated the man even more than it did when he reached far more significant milestones. He was criticised (on this very website) for his media blitz since that century. But this needless publicity hasn't stopped even now.

He was made a Member of Parliament, in what was possibly an unconstitutional appointment. (Article 80[3] of India's Constitution allows the President to nominate 12 persons who have knowledge or experience in literature, arts, science or social service. I am tempted to say his batting is an art, but the Constitution will disagree with me.) This has only put him more in the public eye than he ever was. More pointless interviews, more empty sound bites.

A case in point is the recent interview, which happened in Germany, at the Adidas walk of fame. Through ten questions and answers, one of the interviewers asks nothing new, and Sachin says nothing new. We still ask him what keeps him going, what the ODI format means to him, if he will bat like the Sachin of old. And he still gives us the same answers - he's been a cricketer all his life, he still enjoys the game, cricket is a team game.

The media must remember. For many, he isn't Tendulkar; he's Sachin. We know all these things about him. We could answer that interview as well as him, and we would largely be right. Whatever there is to be said about Sachin, has been said. Evocatively. Eloquently. Many times over. Maybe it's time they just moved on.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Ravi on September 16, 2012, 18:42 GMT

    @ Naikan: Avg of 38 in first 20 tests could mean not only loss of place but goodbye to their careers, however, SRT could carry on and can carry on as long as he pleases without any significant performance. Yardsticks are anyways different for different players; take the case of Yuvraj or Harbhajan. Without proving in a domestic game they have made it to the team! Indian politics in sports well demonstrated.

  • Shishir on August 9, 2012, 3:48 GMT

    An interesting read and very articulately expressed. Loved the writing as much as the truth about it.

  • Naikan on July 30, 2012, 4:05 GMT

    I believe it has to do with the fans he generated as a 16 year old. A majority of the fans took to that young boy and one normally refers to a boy of school going age by name rather than by the sirname/family name, especially if it is so easy to quote as "Sachin". Now a majority of the fan following remained from that time and thus the calling card seems to have remained. In truth I was then amazed by the support he got from the establishment at that time, as in his first 20 tests, he averaged less than 38, which would generally mean loss of place for most batsmen. However because of his extreme youth a lot positive feelings flowed for him and of course he was from the Mumbai establishment. I feel he came into his own thereafter and especially when he started opening in the one dayers. While he has scored tons of runs in all formats - I feel the place he is truly special is in the one dayers.

  • lakmal raja on July 29, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    With 100 tons and almost all other batting records to his name,I honestly think Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar has nothing more to achieve ! God bless him!!!

  • Raj on July 19, 2012, 21:07 GMT

    @Vimalan

    My language skills? How bizarre. One could say you might be showing off your envy, and an inferiority complex and overly prickly and defensive attitude in your uncritical adulation of SRT. Except that of course it wouldnt be showing off, rather more reflecting an overwhelming lack of insight. There are millions of people who think speak and write in a similar vein. They could be said to have had an education. Guess to be educated in your eyes means they must all be showing off

  • girish on July 19, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    anything spoken against god is a sin. and srt is god. so be careful and just let him rule cricket till he wants. respect ...........

  • Syed Ammar Saeed on July 19, 2012, 5:44 GMT

    I wonder why on earth has not noticed (pardon me if i am wrong) that despite all accolades won by Tendulkar, a tripple century has not been on his cricketing resume. His highest score 248 and that too against Bangladesh is a point his critics must be happy to mention in arguments. So at least there is much STILL to achieve. So this question may also be asked and a tripple ton may be demanded / expected as Kallis despite all his greatness had to endure comments about lack of a double century in his illustrious career which he finally achieved. So folks be prepraed to witness CONTINUED episode of Tendulkar saga if this missed milestone comes into notice of both Mr. Tendulkar or his fans.

  • Saad on July 19, 2012, 5:07 GMT

    Only well written. Nothing else in material

  • Abdul Siddiqui on July 18, 2012, 18:49 GMT

    A well-written piece. I would agree that the media frenzy is a bit annoying, but I think that is perhaps the culture of today. This has less to do with cricket and more to do with the age of Kim Kardashian, William/Catherine's wedding and Shahrukh Khan. Perhaps, as fans of the gentleman's game, we wished for immunity from the new age of yellow journalism but, let's face it, even cricket can't be safe from this drivel.

  • Dashamlau Singh on July 18, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    Now, Now, Swaroop, Each of us are given only a certain amount of words to write and have published. Why don't you use it wisely?

  • Ravi on September 16, 2012, 18:42 GMT

    @ Naikan: Avg of 38 in first 20 tests could mean not only loss of place but goodbye to their careers, however, SRT could carry on and can carry on as long as he pleases without any significant performance. Yardsticks are anyways different for different players; take the case of Yuvraj or Harbhajan. Without proving in a domestic game they have made it to the team! Indian politics in sports well demonstrated.

  • Shishir on August 9, 2012, 3:48 GMT

    An interesting read and very articulately expressed. Loved the writing as much as the truth about it.

  • Naikan on July 30, 2012, 4:05 GMT

    I believe it has to do with the fans he generated as a 16 year old. A majority of the fans took to that young boy and one normally refers to a boy of school going age by name rather than by the sirname/family name, especially if it is so easy to quote as "Sachin". Now a majority of the fan following remained from that time and thus the calling card seems to have remained. In truth I was then amazed by the support he got from the establishment at that time, as in his first 20 tests, he averaged less than 38, which would generally mean loss of place for most batsmen. However because of his extreme youth a lot positive feelings flowed for him and of course he was from the Mumbai establishment. I feel he came into his own thereafter and especially when he started opening in the one dayers. While he has scored tons of runs in all formats - I feel the place he is truly special is in the one dayers.

  • lakmal raja on July 29, 2012, 15:21 GMT

    With 100 tons and almost all other batting records to his name,I honestly think Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar has nothing more to achieve ! God bless him!!!

  • Raj on July 19, 2012, 21:07 GMT

    @Vimalan

    My language skills? How bizarre. One could say you might be showing off your envy, and an inferiority complex and overly prickly and defensive attitude in your uncritical adulation of SRT. Except that of course it wouldnt be showing off, rather more reflecting an overwhelming lack of insight. There are millions of people who think speak and write in a similar vein. They could be said to have had an education. Guess to be educated in your eyes means they must all be showing off

  • girish on July 19, 2012, 9:36 GMT

    anything spoken against god is a sin. and srt is god. so be careful and just let him rule cricket till he wants. respect ...........

  • Syed Ammar Saeed on July 19, 2012, 5:44 GMT

    I wonder why on earth has not noticed (pardon me if i am wrong) that despite all accolades won by Tendulkar, a tripple century has not been on his cricketing resume. His highest score 248 and that too against Bangladesh is a point his critics must be happy to mention in arguments. So at least there is much STILL to achieve. So this question may also be asked and a tripple ton may be demanded / expected as Kallis despite all his greatness had to endure comments about lack of a double century in his illustrious career which he finally achieved. So folks be prepraed to witness CONTINUED episode of Tendulkar saga if this missed milestone comes into notice of both Mr. Tendulkar or his fans.

  • Saad on July 19, 2012, 5:07 GMT

    Only well written. Nothing else in material

  • Abdul Siddiqui on July 18, 2012, 18:49 GMT

    A well-written piece. I would agree that the media frenzy is a bit annoying, but I think that is perhaps the culture of today. This has less to do with cricket and more to do with the age of Kim Kardashian, William/Catherine's wedding and Shahrukh Khan. Perhaps, as fans of the gentleman's game, we wished for immunity from the new age of yellow journalism but, let's face it, even cricket can't be safe from this drivel.

  • Dashamlau Singh on July 18, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    Now, Now, Swaroop, Each of us are given only a certain amount of words to write and have published. Why don't you use it wisely?

  • Vimalan on July 18, 2012, 14:38 GMT

    @Raj, one thing is for sure. You try hard to show off your language skills rather than trying to substantiate what you are trying to say. He may have lost his form recently but never his imagination. Just go back to the Aus series and see how he handled the best bowlers of Aus in the first 2 tests before he gradually lost form. Since then he hasn't played anything except the Asia cup, then how can you claim that he is lagging imagination.

  • Jay on July 18, 2012, 13:31 GMT

    Hero worship not withstanding, Sachin and Laxman should retire

  • kiran on July 18, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    agree about onething his interviews are most predictable and boring but not his stature and impact on indian cricket only people who have played this game at any level will agree,and not any armchair critic,remember we are a nation of sports watchers and not participants

  • Raj on July 18, 2012, 11:08 GMT

    I have come to the conclusion, sadly, that there is really not much to know about SRT. To paraphrase CLR James, 'what does one know if one only knows cricket'. And eventually if one only knows cricket, he truly doesnt even know cricket, as it is more than just bat against ball, it is a social phenomena. The lustre is rapidly dissipating from his game, he has become more and more of a shill, mouthing banalities because seemingly there is nothing more substantial to him than the banal. His game lacks imagination because he has come to lack imagination. He won us by capturing our imagination, and now he he is losing us by his pandering to cynical contrived ambition.

  • Sam Smith on July 18, 2012, 9:59 GMT

    There is fertile ground for journalists to open with SRT - his attitude to DRS and the reasons why he takes the position. Some say he is the reason why the BCCI rejects DRS but that is pure speculation. As a great of the game the public is genuinely interested in his perspectives on DRS which will carry great weight in the ongoing debate.

  • John Smith on July 18, 2012, 9:48 GMT

    Why wil nobody ask him is position on DRS? As one of the greats his position on this controversial issue is of interest to many cricket fans. Some say it is his rejection of DRS that stops the BCCI from accepting it - but we do not know that for sure. The next time a journalist has the opportunity here is the potential for some new information about SRT that may have relevance to the game worldwide.

  • Ajay Vishwanath on July 18, 2012, 8:06 GMT

    Well written Swaroop! It has precisely described the value of his 'more' significant records. Sachin is admired truly, more by a cricket romantic than by some media coverage person or statistician. You have just confirmed that. Kudos to you!

  • AK on July 18, 2012, 7:37 GMT

    And the point of this article is....?

  • Rishi on July 18, 2012, 7:15 GMT

    I am curious about the detailed spreadsheets that your friend has - any way to have a post with that analysis?

  • Anonymous on July 18, 2012, 7:02 GMT

    Has Swaroop done anything to reduce the blitz ?. No, he has if anything added to that.To Swaroop and his friend who mentioned that this Tendulkar is just above average, if that is the case, just ignore him. These days, Tendulkar bashing is done to attract eyeballs, Tendulkar appreciation is indulged in to attract eyeballs.

    Blame the media and the people who follow him. We all have an option of ignoring certain things, pleased do so

  • Kishore on July 18, 2012, 5:01 GMT

    Well said. I hope the media tries to focus on other 'relevant' issues happening around.

  • Kunal Talgeri on July 18, 2012, 3:48 GMT

    Really nice and heart-felt writing! You're right in spirit that the media must move on. But advertisers don't leave Sachin Tendulkar (who hasn't shown any inkling of reducing advertiser commitments for obvious reasons--the money), and the media (and the BCCI) feeds on advertisers. So, it is not possible for anybody -- the public included -- to move on. Tendulkar makes money from advertisers even when he is vacationing, and that means he will always be on TV and newspapers. He is not a cricketer anymore, just the biggest star.

  • siddharth on July 18, 2012, 1:57 GMT

    Come to think of it, your post says nothing new either. It is the same stuff that has been going around ever since the 'tamasha', as you call it, began.

  • thepurist on July 18, 2012, 0:29 GMT

    Great article! Reflects my own views on Sachin.

  • Pranesh on July 17, 2012, 20:43 GMT

    Ponting is Punter to Aussies, Richards was King Viv to the west Indians. Agree with the rest of the article though

  • Anurag on July 17, 2012, 17:59 GMT

    Great Article Mate .. Cant agree more

  • Chetan Asher on July 17, 2012, 16:18 GMT

    Swaroop, good closure - Maybe it's time they just moved on....provided Sachin with his purchased media time allows the cricket world to. Sachin is not guilty of anything that results in his side winning a game in over 6 months. He however has the option of playing / resting to suit his convenience ! Given his consistent inability to score at the required pace in Limited Overs Cricket, I wonder what he gives to Srikanth & Srinivasan to deserve that right.

  • Abhijeet on July 17, 2012, 15:49 GMT

    you know what Swaroop, We people may move on but somebody should speak to Sachin and ask him what are his priorities....and what India should do to remain competitive in the future and somebody should tell him please not to ruin careers of Sharma's and Raina's. for god's sake just move on....

    and to be honest, the name Tendulkar is more famous than 'sachin' if you ask any non-Indian cricket fan about Sachin he would think twice before answering but with Tendulkar, he will smile and strike a good conversation on cricket........

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  • Abhijeet on July 17, 2012, 15:49 GMT

    you know what Swaroop, We people may move on but somebody should speak to Sachin and ask him what are his priorities....and what India should do to remain competitive in the future and somebody should tell him please not to ruin careers of Sharma's and Raina's. for god's sake just move on....

    and to be honest, the name Tendulkar is more famous than 'sachin' if you ask any non-Indian cricket fan about Sachin he would think twice before answering but with Tendulkar, he will smile and strike a good conversation on cricket........

  • Chetan Asher on July 17, 2012, 16:18 GMT

    Swaroop, good closure - Maybe it's time they just moved on....provided Sachin with his purchased media time allows the cricket world to. Sachin is not guilty of anything that results in his side winning a game in over 6 months. He however has the option of playing / resting to suit his convenience ! Given his consistent inability to score at the required pace in Limited Overs Cricket, I wonder what he gives to Srikanth & Srinivasan to deserve that right.

  • Anurag on July 17, 2012, 17:59 GMT

    Great Article Mate .. Cant agree more

  • Pranesh on July 17, 2012, 20:43 GMT

    Ponting is Punter to Aussies, Richards was King Viv to the west Indians. Agree with the rest of the article though

  • thepurist on July 18, 2012, 0:29 GMT

    Great article! Reflects my own views on Sachin.

  • siddharth on July 18, 2012, 1:57 GMT

    Come to think of it, your post says nothing new either. It is the same stuff that has been going around ever since the 'tamasha', as you call it, began.

  • Kunal Talgeri on July 18, 2012, 3:48 GMT

    Really nice and heart-felt writing! You're right in spirit that the media must move on. But advertisers don't leave Sachin Tendulkar (who hasn't shown any inkling of reducing advertiser commitments for obvious reasons--the money), and the media (and the BCCI) feeds on advertisers. So, it is not possible for anybody -- the public included -- to move on. Tendulkar makes money from advertisers even when he is vacationing, and that means he will always be on TV and newspapers. He is not a cricketer anymore, just the biggest star.

  • Kishore on July 18, 2012, 5:01 GMT

    Well said. I hope the media tries to focus on other 'relevant' issues happening around.

  • Anonymous on July 18, 2012, 7:02 GMT

    Has Swaroop done anything to reduce the blitz ?. No, he has if anything added to that.To Swaroop and his friend who mentioned that this Tendulkar is just above average, if that is the case, just ignore him. These days, Tendulkar bashing is done to attract eyeballs, Tendulkar appreciation is indulged in to attract eyeballs.

    Blame the media and the people who follow him. We all have an option of ignoring certain things, pleased do so

  • Rishi on July 18, 2012, 7:15 GMT

    I am curious about the detailed spreadsheets that your friend has - any way to have a post with that analysis?