Indian cricket December 3, 2012

A story about Sachin

Freddie Wilde
It will be one of sports great tragedies if it gets to the stage where Tendulkar's attempted preservation of what he has left, is only acting as detriment to his legacy
24

No one knows Sachin Tendulkar better than Sachin Tendulkar. If he thinks he can score international fifties and hundreds again, then he probably can, and right now among what must be a mind-ridden with doubt, there will be some semblance of confidence that he can come good again. If there wasn't he would've retired already. Now, I'm not for a minute going to tell Sachin Tendulkar what to do. He is arguably the greatest cricketer of the modern age and I'm an 18-year-old gap-year student.

But what I am going to do is tell you a story, a life story, and a story that relates to Tendulkar and what must be one of the most talked about retirements in the history of sport. When I was seven years old, my Dad returned from England's tour of India in 2001 with a BAS cricket bat. He'd got the bat from a factory where some of Tendulkar's bats are made, he'd even asked for Tendulkar's trademark red, blue and white grip to be applied to the little size four bat, and on the back, in a black ball point pen was Tendulkar's autograph.

For any cricket fan to possess such an item, it would mean the world to them, and to me, even at the age of seven, it did too. About three weeks after being given the bat, I sheepishly asked my Dad if he would be offended if I never used the bat in matches or at practice, as I didn't want the autograph to ever fade or for the bat to ever get damaged. In not using that bat I was looking to preserve the life of that autograph, my little piece of 'Sachin'.

Fans can actually do the same to players' careers. Arguably Tendulkar's last two years have been driven by a reluctance to let his millions of fans down. But this reluctance to not let down, and desire to satisfy the masses, can only last so long. The preservation of something that is dying often only serves to tarnish or ruin - I learnt this bitter lesson a year after receiving my autographed bat... I was now eight and the bat was a year old. Only a year.

But one day I discovered the autograph to be fading - even despite my disinclination to use it. In my naive, clumsy, eight-year-old kind of way, I took the radical decision of pulling my black gel pen out of my pencil case and re-drawing over the signature on the back of the bat. To my horror my Dad told me later that day that the autograph was now worthless - completely ruined.

I'd tried to preserve my little bit of Sachin by not using the bat, and that had worked. But such things only work for so long, and in seeking to revitalise my precious possession, by taking my own pen to the bat, I'd ruined it. Again, I won't claim to know more about Tendulkar than Tendulkar himself, and if he thinks he's got runs left in him, he's probably got runs left in him. But it will be one of sports great tragedies if it gets to the stage where Tendulkar's attempted preservation of what he has left, is only acting as detriment to his legacy and impact on the game.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sunny on January 3, 2013, 17:04 GMT

    Make a India Super Oneday Team of all the retired players like Tendulkar,Dravid,Ganguly,Laxman,Kumble and see the result,since they still have fire in their belly to win matches, they will punch hard like never before.

  • Prabakar.K on December 28, 2012, 16:51 GMT

    If anyone said Sachin blocks youngsters chances, it is absolutely not true. You can find more players in indian team who can be replaced. No one can match to his dedication to the game and his spirit of the game even at the end of his career. Let me tell in a simple way. If someone is ready to replace him and give a guarantee to give a same entertainment he gave us, definitely can come forward. Otherwise we cannot ask sachin to retire for the sake of his age and to give a chance to one more youngster. Dont forget that he is the one who made india proud so often.

  • vijay on December 18, 2012, 15:36 GMT

    dear, freddy, i totally agree wid u. And let me congratulate u for this brilliant piecese of litrature. Just like millions of fans, it ll be hard for me to come to terms with srt's retirement. Last night i had a dream that sachin had retired on current low note and i after tht i cudnt sleep anymore.. I just want see his final magic once nd dis is part of my daily prayer..

  • Hardy on December 18, 2012, 0:32 GMT

    So I thought of an interesting question the other day, how long has SRT been the most experienced man in cricket? I looked it up and here I've got the results, the player in brackets is the last player of that country to retire having made his Test debut before SRT: Sachin Tendulkar has been more experienced than any active Pakistani player since 2002 (Wasim Akram), any New Zealander since 1997 (Danny Morrison), any West Indian since 2002 (Carl Hooper), any Zimbabwean, Bangladeshi & South African from his debut, any Sri Lankan since 2002 (Aravinda De Silva), any Englishman since 2001 (Mike Atherton), any Australian since 2004 (Steve Waugh, who himself had an extraordinarily lengthy career) and any other Indian since 2000 (Mohammad Azharuddin). SRT is India's 187th Test player whereas Jadeja's recent debut made him the 275th. A whole third of India's Test players have come after him. Sadly it's time to draw the curtain on this extraordinary career.

  • ashok on December 16, 2012, 3:27 GMT

    i feel sad at what's happening. sachin was my idol, my hero. its so difficult to see him bat like this. he should have retired just after the world cup on a high. its a pain to watch him bat. his shot selection is bad, his confidence is gone, the body language looks terrible..it must be the commercial compulsions that is making him play i think..

  • CricPissu on December 14, 2012, 20:36 GMT

    Nah!!!! SRT will not retire under these circumstances. Its sheer arrogance and "who cares?" kind of attitude. The board/selectors know this and too scared to show him the door. I had enormous respect for this player, but now..... I don't know. He is playing to achieve records and blissfully ignoring that so many young talented players are lining up to join the national team. Hope common sense prevails and he decides to hang his gloves soon after this series.

  • Anonymous on December 11, 2012, 15:27 GMT

    He is still a good batsman and may still be good enough to make the Indian test side on merit but like Ponting there is no question he is on the wane. If he decides to hang around he will probably still make some useful contributions but the glory days are clearly over.

  • Saket on December 11, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    I totally think SRT should stay...But he should seriously consider not playing IPL..which probably will not happen...there are other batting spots waiting to be filled, like Yuvraj's and Gambhhir's. I liked this article!!

  • Engr. Ahmad on December 9, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    Tendulkar still has the highest test avg by any Indian in the history..............1 bad year doesn't make him a bad player if he can score at an outstanding avg of 70 & 80 in 37th & 38th years of life after disastrous 34th &35th years then no wonder he can repeat that feat at 40 &41 as well................His fitness is good. Just that he was a bit out of practice in 2012. Additionally he is still no 1 Indian test batsman on current ICC Rankings.

  • Muralita on December 8, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    All men are subject to hubris; even great ones. Or should I say especially great ones? Churchill was a great wartime leader but come peace and he was found wanting. de Gaulle too was great at rallying the defeated French, but his post-war record was disastrous. Douglas McArthur, a great soldier, took on the Japanese and later the Chinese in Korea. But had to be sacked by President Truman because he was out of touch with the new realities. They all overstayed their usefulness and could not see or were loathe to admit their inability to cope with the changed circumstances. Sachin Tendulkar is now treading this well-worn path. Rcky Ponting saw that, made a critical self-appraisal and, realizing he is no longer effective or even useful, walked. Alas Schin has decided to cover himself with ignominy and humiliation by hanging around well past his sell-by date. It is becoming difficult not to believe that he has considerations other than cricket. Sach-in? It should be Sach-out.

  • Sunny on January 3, 2013, 17:04 GMT

    Make a India Super Oneday Team of all the retired players like Tendulkar,Dravid,Ganguly,Laxman,Kumble and see the result,since they still have fire in their belly to win matches, they will punch hard like never before.

  • Prabakar.K on December 28, 2012, 16:51 GMT

    If anyone said Sachin blocks youngsters chances, it is absolutely not true. You can find more players in indian team who can be replaced. No one can match to his dedication to the game and his spirit of the game even at the end of his career. Let me tell in a simple way. If someone is ready to replace him and give a guarantee to give a same entertainment he gave us, definitely can come forward. Otherwise we cannot ask sachin to retire for the sake of his age and to give a chance to one more youngster. Dont forget that he is the one who made india proud so often.

  • vijay on December 18, 2012, 15:36 GMT

    dear, freddy, i totally agree wid u. And let me congratulate u for this brilliant piecese of litrature. Just like millions of fans, it ll be hard for me to come to terms with srt's retirement. Last night i had a dream that sachin had retired on current low note and i after tht i cudnt sleep anymore.. I just want see his final magic once nd dis is part of my daily prayer..

  • Hardy on December 18, 2012, 0:32 GMT

    So I thought of an interesting question the other day, how long has SRT been the most experienced man in cricket? I looked it up and here I've got the results, the player in brackets is the last player of that country to retire having made his Test debut before SRT: Sachin Tendulkar has been more experienced than any active Pakistani player since 2002 (Wasim Akram), any New Zealander since 1997 (Danny Morrison), any West Indian since 2002 (Carl Hooper), any Zimbabwean, Bangladeshi & South African from his debut, any Sri Lankan since 2002 (Aravinda De Silva), any Englishman since 2001 (Mike Atherton), any Australian since 2004 (Steve Waugh, who himself had an extraordinarily lengthy career) and any other Indian since 2000 (Mohammad Azharuddin). SRT is India's 187th Test player whereas Jadeja's recent debut made him the 275th. A whole third of India's Test players have come after him. Sadly it's time to draw the curtain on this extraordinary career.

  • ashok on December 16, 2012, 3:27 GMT

    i feel sad at what's happening. sachin was my idol, my hero. its so difficult to see him bat like this. he should have retired just after the world cup on a high. its a pain to watch him bat. his shot selection is bad, his confidence is gone, the body language looks terrible..it must be the commercial compulsions that is making him play i think..

  • CricPissu on December 14, 2012, 20:36 GMT

    Nah!!!! SRT will not retire under these circumstances. Its sheer arrogance and "who cares?" kind of attitude. The board/selectors know this and too scared to show him the door. I had enormous respect for this player, but now..... I don't know. He is playing to achieve records and blissfully ignoring that so many young talented players are lining up to join the national team. Hope common sense prevails and he decides to hang his gloves soon after this series.

  • Anonymous on December 11, 2012, 15:27 GMT

    He is still a good batsman and may still be good enough to make the Indian test side on merit but like Ponting there is no question he is on the wane. If he decides to hang around he will probably still make some useful contributions but the glory days are clearly over.

  • Saket on December 11, 2012, 15:06 GMT

    I totally think SRT should stay...But he should seriously consider not playing IPL..which probably will not happen...there are other batting spots waiting to be filled, like Yuvraj's and Gambhhir's. I liked this article!!

  • Engr. Ahmad on December 9, 2012, 8:16 GMT

    Tendulkar still has the highest test avg by any Indian in the history..............1 bad year doesn't make him a bad player if he can score at an outstanding avg of 70 & 80 in 37th & 38th years of life after disastrous 34th &35th years then no wonder he can repeat that feat at 40 &41 as well................His fitness is good. Just that he was a bit out of practice in 2012. Additionally he is still no 1 Indian test batsman on current ICC Rankings.

  • Muralita on December 8, 2012, 7:25 GMT

    All men are subject to hubris; even great ones. Or should I say especially great ones? Churchill was a great wartime leader but come peace and he was found wanting. de Gaulle too was great at rallying the defeated French, but his post-war record was disastrous. Douglas McArthur, a great soldier, took on the Japanese and later the Chinese in Korea. But had to be sacked by President Truman because he was out of touch with the new realities. They all overstayed their usefulness and could not see or were loathe to admit their inability to cope with the changed circumstances. Sachin Tendulkar is now treading this well-worn path. Rcky Ponting saw that, made a critical self-appraisal and, realizing he is no longer effective or even useful, walked. Alas Schin has decided to cover himself with ignominy and humiliation by hanging around well past his sell-by date. It is becoming difficult not to believe that he has considerations other than cricket. Sach-in? It should be Sach-out.

  • avijit mitra on December 7, 2012, 11:39 GMT

    What the game of Cricket is to me is lying within a few cricketers and Sachin is in the top of that small list in India. its a game of pure scientific techniques with aesthetic implementations and styles which creating a future road map for the budding cricketer. its not a reality TV shows like 20-20. If cricket has to live in this world then players like Sachin must stay in this game. otherwise Cricket will become a baseball game soon and those who like reality shows in the TV will have the last word to say. Those who thinking about the maestro's retirement, i will advice them kindly spare this game, there's lot in the world to be entertained apart from his retirement.

  • Kamal Ghosh on December 6, 2012, 11:36 GMT

    Very well written, Freddie- and keep it up.At this age, you have an amazing ability to hold the reader in attention, and therefore you should take creative writing seriously. And yes,- Sachin. A great cricketer, hopelessly trapped in the eternal desire of 'one more..' God bless him.

  • Phaedrus on December 6, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    Dear Freddie, the difference between you at 8 and Sachin of today is that you were 8 and he is what he is. so no comparisons in the two mental states, right? Even if he ends up tarnishing all his image and legay and aura due to his love of playing, then so be it. The former is for others while the latter is what he feels. But the important thing is not to confuse his desire to play with his right to play. A player's right to play is governed by people paid to select players. Its upon them to drop him if he does not deserve to be in the team. But it is grossly unfair to heckle him to retire because 'we' feel he is not good enough anymore. Dear Aditya, don't know which game you were watching. Sachin got out to Jimmy yesterday and not to Monty.

  • sriharish on December 6, 2012, 4:02 GMT

    its one thing to have a view and a whole other to have a vision.This kid seems to have had an epiphany at the age of seven. awesome writing.straight from the heart.Keep it real champ.

  • Engr. Ahmad on December 5, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    Tendulkar still is no1 Indian batsman acc to current ICC Ranking then Y should he go??

  • Riddhiman Bhattacharyya on December 5, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    SRT is back...it was just a run shade phase for the little big man on his journey to becoming a myth in world cricket. Now shade is over...lights are peeping....no doubt, dazzlling master strokes are just matter of time.

  • Riddhiman Bhattacharyya on December 5, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    SRT is back...it was just a run shade phase for the little big man on his journey to becoming a myth in world cricket. Now shade is over...lights are peeping....no doubt, dazzlling master strokes are just matter of time.

  • Sandy on December 5, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    U shud stay sachin...I knw this year is bad for u bT no badest. I rembr d year when even murali made more runs than u. If u cud recover from that thn u can nullify this also. Just take it as a new task & go for this. This is an opportunity for u not a threat. I knw everyone is waiting ur reply on this issue. Bt I m expecting a century from u..not an emotional press conference.i think cricket has given u plenty & now it's time to return that with some blessing scores.ur record is remarkable. Don't think about these shits.u r d last reason to watch Indian cricket matches after dravid.so plz entertain us for little more time.

  • Aditya Mookerjee on December 5, 2012, 11:41 GMT

    Do I feel he will retire? I don't know. I was really happy that he scored 73 today against England at the Eden Gardens. The sad part was, he got out to Monty Panesar. I just hope Monty feels obliged when he comes out as night watchman, to feel really grateful, when he faces his first delivery. I mean, he just feels really grateful, and his bat is not in front of the stumps. It seems, Sachin can get out to Monty, but, for the English team, playing Monty in India can pay off. I can understand Monty playing against Pakistan, and Saqlain Mushtaq playing against India, and Tendulkar getting out on 98 against the Pakistan bowler because of a tennis elbow. I don't want, after today, either Panesar or Tendulkar to be retired hurt in any match.

  • a k s on December 5, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    we must understand that most of the players who've played >100 tests /// >300 ODIs know their strengths.

    but ,a time comes when you need to hang your boots.

    recently retired players like dravid and gaguly were no less .

    they can now(if recalled) score a fifty /hundred if given 10 chances.

    question is .....is it for a winning cause ? sachins last 3/4 yrs big scores /milestones' have never helped india win a match. even his 100th ton against b'desh was so slow that india lost the match.

    further why are we giving him such a long rope.

    he is certainly not undian cricket's future.

    he has been blocking many potential players' chances for last so many years.

    see pujara. given a chance , he proved his mettle. there are many waiting to show their capability.

    lets move away from emotion and be practical.

    and give chance to future , NOT be a priosoner of the past

  • ASHOK KUMAR SAHU on December 5, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    In liew of my personal opinion Sachin is still capable of playing excelent cricket that has not yet come.The problem is not his age but lacking of support from the legandaries of gone the days are.And the mostimportant problem he is facing is, unnecessary discussion about his retirement from media. Once he will be free from media discussion we must find Sachin the teen aged again.Some people are envey upon Sachin which make them to criticise Sachin to spoil his carrier. So that cricket lover will praise them instade of Sachin but they should think that it is a dream of daylight. END Finally sachin is sachin..........

  • Tguy on December 3, 2012, 23:27 GMT

    Interesting take and thanks for sharing your story.For me, Sachin's recent slump is not worrying at all.I have watched and played enough cricket to know that Sachin was not out of form when he was playing in Australia.His form has dipped in home series and that too after scoring heavily in 2009 and 2010.2011 was not the best year by his standards.What worries me though are these illogical rants that he is playing for stats,he is a leech ,his time is over,he should make way for younger players.Who are these younger players that Sachin is blocking? India has not found a suitable replacement for Ganguly yet.With Lax and Dravid retiring and Indian openers not performing outside India, I don't think Sachin should be allowed to retire even if he wants to! He has played enough cricket to know if his reflexes have slowed down or if he is just out of form. If you want to criticize,by all means do.Bring your stats and figures instead of random slander.Great Man has earned that respect.

  • kumar on December 3, 2012, 17:07 GMT

    Well written. You should write more often.

  • moBlue on December 3, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    nah! tendulkar is tendulkar!!! ain't no one else like him! he is only on a 6-match low-scoring streak in tests - just 6!!! guess what he averaged in the 6 tests before the last half-a-dozen? you guessed it! 50-plus with 5 fifties (including one 90 and one 80)in 12 innings!!! so... if he thinks he'll make it back into form, he *will* make it back into form! ...or else he'll retire soon himself! he's always had great judgment - in the way that he has shaped crucial first innings!!! i ain't worried.

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  • moBlue on December 3, 2012, 15:48 GMT

    nah! tendulkar is tendulkar!!! ain't no one else like him! he is only on a 6-match low-scoring streak in tests - just 6!!! guess what he averaged in the 6 tests before the last half-a-dozen? you guessed it! 50-plus with 5 fifties (including one 90 and one 80)in 12 innings!!! so... if he thinks he'll make it back into form, he *will* make it back into form! ...or else he'll retire soon himself! he's always had great judgment - in the way that he has shaped crucial first innings!!! i ain't worried.

  • kumar on December 3, 2012, 17:07 GMT

    Well written. You should write more often.

  • Tguy on December 3, 2012, 23:27 GMT

    Interesting take and thanks for sharing your story.For me, Sachin's recent slump is not worrying at all.I have watched and played enough cricket to know that Sachin was not out of form when he was playing in Australia.His form has dipped in home series and that too after scoring heavily in 2009 and 2010.2011 was not the best year by his standards.What worries me though are these illogical rants that he is playing for stats,he is a leech ,his time is over,he should make way for younger players.Who are these younger players that Sachin is blocking? India has not found a suitable replacement for Ganguly yet.With Lax and Dravid retiring and Indian openers not performing outside India, I don't think Sachin should be allowed to retire even if he wants to! He has played enough cricket to know if his reflexes have slowed down or if he is just out of form. If you want to criticize,by all means do.Bring your stats and figures instead of random slander.Great Man has earned that respect.

  • ASHOK KUMAR SAHU on December 5, 2012, 10:35 GMT

    In liew of my personal opinion Sachin is still capable of playing excelent cricket that has not yet come.The problem is not his age but lacking of support from the legandaries of gone the days are.And the mostimportant problem he is facing is, unnecessary discussion about his retirement from media. Once he will be free from media discussion we must find Sachin the teen aged again.Some people are envey upon Sachin which make them to criticise Sachin to spoil his carrier. So that cricket lover will praise them instade of Sachin but they should think that it is a dream of daylight. END Finally sachin is sachin..........

  • a k s on December 5, 2012, 11:27 GMT

    we must understand that most of the players who've played >100 tests /// >300 ODIs know their strengths.

    but ,a time comes when you need to hang your boots.

    recently retired players like dravid and gaguly were no less .

    they can now(if recalled) score a fifty /hundred if given 10 chances.

    question is .....is it for a winning cause ? sachins last 3/4 yrs big scores /milestones' have never helped india win a match. even his 100th ton against b'desh was so slow that india lost the match.

    further why are we giving him such a long rope.

    he is certainly not undian cricket's future.

    he has been blocking many potential players' chances for last so many years.

    see pujara. given a chance , he proved his mettle. there are many waiting to show their capability.

    lets move away from emotion and be practical.

    and give chance to future , NOT be a priosoner of the past

  • Aditya Mookerjee on December 5, 2012, 11:41 GMT

    Do I feel he will retire? I don't know. I was really happy that he scored 73 today against England at the Eden Gardens. The sad part was, he got out to Monty Panesar. I just hope Monty feels obliged when he comes out as night watchman, to feel really grateful, when he faces his first delivery. I mean, he just feels really grateful, and his bat is not in front of the stumps. It seems, Sachin can get out to Monty, but, for the English team, playing Monty in India can pay off. I can understand Monty playing against Pakistan, and Saqlain Mushtaq playing against India, and Tendulkar getting out on 98 against the Pakistan bowler because of a tennis elbow. I don't want, after today, either Panesar or Tendulkar to be retired hurt in any match.

  • Sandy on December 5, 2012, 12:00 GMT

    U shud stay sachin...I knw this year is bad for u bT no badest. I rembr d year when even murali made more runs than u. If u cud recover from that thn u can nullify this also. Just take it as a new task & go for this. This is an opportunity for u not a threat. I knw everyone is waiting ur reply on this issue. Bt I m expecting a century from u..not an emotional press conference.i think cricket has given u plenty & now it's time to return that with some blessing scores.ur record is remarkable. Don't think about these shits.u r d last reason to watch Indian cricket matches after dravid.so plz entertain us for little more time.

  • Riddhiman Bhattacharyya on December 5, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    SRT is back...it was just a run shade phase for the little big man on his journey to becoming a myth in world cricket. Now shade is over...lights are peeping....no doubt, dazzlling master strokes are just matter of time.

  • Riddhiman Bhattacharyya on December 5, 2012, 12:46 GMT

    SRT is back...it was just a run shade phase for the little big man on his journey to becoming a myth in world cricket. Now shade is over...lights are peeping....no doubt, dazzlling master strokes are just matter of time.

  • Engr. Ahmad on December 5, 2012, 13:19 GMT

    Tendulkar still is no1 Indian batsman acc to current ICC Ranking then Y should he go??