Indian cricket January 3, 2013

Tendulkar: I hate him like I love him

Suman Kumar
For a generation that believed success in life was directly linked to an engineering-college berth (or a medical-school berth), Tendulkar was an antithesis

"Yaaru pethha puallayo? Punyam panna vairu (Which fortunate mother gave birth to this boy? Her womb must be blessed)," my late granny remarked upon hearing about Tendulkar's debut and subsequent exploits. She looked at her sons (my uncles) and said: "Yenakkum vandhu porandhudhu paaru! (And look at the one I landed up giving birth to)" She was paying a glowing tribute to Sachin Tendulkar's mother and lamenting over her sons and their inability to get a job in the 'Gulf'.

For a generation that believed success in life was directly linked to an engineering-college berth (or a medical-school berth), Tendulkar was an antithesis. And by following his exploits, a generation of us continued to live our dreams by proxy. I hated Tendulkar for it.

One foggy February morning in 1992, in Chittoor (a small South Indian city), my friend Arun came running to my house and threw the Hindu newspaper at me. "Read the sports page," he said. The headline, if my memory serves me right, read 'Tendulkar's Brilliance Illuminates Perth'. India lost that match by a massive margin of 300 runs. But that innings, one of the greatest that I have ever seen, was some sort of a magical preamble.

In 1998, when he destroyed Australia in Sharjah, singlehandedly, we realised that he was not just a great batsman. We had had quite a few of them by then, including Sunil Gavaskar. But until then I had never seen an Indian batsman treat the Australians the way Australians treated everyone else. It was almost like Tendulkar was telling them: "Those days are over."

However, it is not his achievements and successes that I want to stress upon. It is how he was reborn after each one of his failures. In Sydney, 2004, he didn't drive on the offside. How can a man be so maniacally focused? I hated him for that.

I could never achieve 2% of that focus. Every time I became lazy, tempted to choose an easy way out, or just plain give up, it is people like Tendulkar that scream at you - from those special corners in your head, through memories etched for life - to not give up. I hated Tendulkar for that; for making me work harder that I wanted to.

A few afternoons ago, my three-year-old little girl paused while pedalling her tricycle, glanced at the TV and said: "Sachin!" I was shocked. I probably had mentioned him when I was pleading with her to switch to cricket from the cartoon show Chhota Bheem. From my granny to my daughter, four generations love him. How can a man redefine longevity like that? I hate him for that!

I'd watched him in the recent past. I'd suffered as he failed with the bat. "Maybe he should go now," I screamed. "Why can't he see? He is diluting his own greatness by suffering this!" I wept. I knew I could be wrong. I was being emotional and stupid. And then, he quit ODIs. The format that he made his very own. How could he? It will be, forever, poorer without him. I hate him for that.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • testli5504537 on January 30, 2013, 13:27 GMT

    We can't deny that Tendulkar is a master blaster but most of the time when he had performed for his country,India lost the matches. I love to hate him.....!!

  • testli5504537 on January 7, 2013, 5:08 GMT

    contd....I remember each of his shot on that day and he was still a kid and perth was monster of a pitch thought kingston Jamica had lost its pace. And 3 ordinary bowlers ??!! McDermott had been their GOOD LEAD bowler in those times. He was not at all in the ordinary league if not in the brackets of the greats certainly. he had fantastic penetration and on that day he was extracting dangerous movement off the pitch and while other Indian batsmen had any clue, this little guy stoood up to play some spectacular shots. And Merv Hughes too, though ordinary in your belief, on that day withthe help of the pitch was deadly off the pitch. LET US PLS STOP ABOUT TALKING STATISTICS. Let us try to understand the prodigy of this guy. Yes, you were

  • testli5504537 on January 7, 2013, 4:58 GMT

    contd.....And, India is manical about cricket and sachin was instrumental in india's transition in their approach of the shorter format. it sounds odd when you say that whateversaid and written is hyped and emotional. by saying this, you ratify that you would'nt have been in the thick of 90's cricket action and followed tendulkar.

    The deadly injuries he suffered and the way he managed to come out and understood his body's rthym and adjusted his game to reinvent his batting in another form. and, importantly i dont think any great cricketer had ever managed to run his machine(body) the way he want. That is sachin.

    He is a part-time bowler and he bowled so much prowess that best of best of batsmen feared in those times.

    To Answer Beverly, you were right about that 100 at perth and all that stuff.....we were not talking about tendulkar is bradman after that 100 in perth....we were just igniting our memory of that 100...and have you seen that hundred when he played ?? I remmber each a

  • testli5504537 on January 7, 2013, 4:37 GMT

    suman, why have you discarded two of my other comments ? I badly wanted that to be published......and one thig, i apologize for the errors in typing as my keyboard is behaving like a rock....

    Mr. hassan, you can whatever u want and feel, but we ( the writer and me especially and among others) worshipped him and for that matter the whole of India. India stranted when he was batting or got out. whats wrong to recollect our hero with our best memmories and emotions. in fact every country would have one or the sportsmen who's worshipped this way. And, India is manical

  • testli5504537 on January 5, 2013, 15:09 GMT

    Cont'd: Mr Kumar, the point I wanted to make earlier is that it is not true that Australian fast bowlers could not be ill treated at Perth. The West Indies batsmen were always humiliating them there. You should have seen what one of our opening batsmen, Roy Fredericks did with Lilee and Thompson there in 1975. Those are the innings that really excite - not batting against three paltry medium pacers. But since that innings by Tendulkar in 1992, he played in 8 more innings against more reputable bowlers, in both test matches and ODIs; and, do you know what is his average in those "8 Innings" against REAL GOOD BOWLING at Perth, since that 100? You may check it for yourself - it is just a dismal "19.5". His career average at Perth is "30". So if you picked Perth to prove to the world something about Tendulkar's genius, you may have picked the wrong cricket ground. Ther are many many great batsmen with much more impressive career averages compiled in a few innings on this ground.

  • testli5504537 on January 5, 2013, 14:39 GMT

    Mr Kumar, Sachin Tendulkar was a very much more distinguished batsman than one whom it seems that people in India thought could not score a 100 at Perth. Perth is just another test ground; so why was there all that excitement when the news broke that the great gentlemen scored a 100 at Perth? Nearly every batsman (great and good) who played a few innings at Perth scored had scored a 100(s) before; and against some of the greatest bowlers ever to play the game. But what is noticeable about the Australian bowlers who played that game, is that you would not see the name of one of them in in even a "10th 11 Best Bowlers of All Time". The bowlers were: Murf hughes - hard trying medium pacer; as was Mc Dermoth; and Paul Reiffel who always looked like an umpire than a bowler. Hence, a 100 against a bowling attack like that was not anything to shout so much about. And what is further wrong about the excitement reported here, Tendulkar had already scored a better 100 (his first) in England.cont

  • testli5504537 on January 5, 2013, 6:51 GMT

    This article is as Indian as it gets. It resembles a Shahrukh Khan Bollywood flick more than a cricket writing. Full of hyper sentiments and unnecessary emotions. You dont have to shout, growl, cry, weep, beat yourself up in order to recognize greatness, you just need to respect it. But thats not the sub-continental way of doing things i guess. We need the spices to charge our day. No normal ingredients would do..:)

  • testli5504537 on January 5, 2013, 3:02 GMT

    another instance, remember suman ?, when aquid javed took hatrik and some mindless umpire ruled him outwhen he was hit on his left leg away from the leg stump......i think we were watching the matchin anji's house....i came out cring and with bat in hand practised for almost 2 house to satisfy my ego that india and tendulkar indeed didnot feel....

    actually, many were talking about the birth of tendulkar on March 27 1994 in acukland....sorry i dont think so....right from his day of entry he was ruthless in whatever position he batted....i saw him massacre sri lankan labroy, even wasim in sharjaj, and many many sl bowlers who toured india at that time....

    coming to his retirement, yes...even i wanted that badly in all formats....this manis too too great to get out uncermoniously....he strode indian cricket and each of indian cricket fan's like a true monarach...he deserves anything lesser attention than that of 'braveheart' and the send off....sadly that intensity was absent....

  • testli5504537 on January 4, 2013, 20:54 GMT

    superb artical. I live in Canada and watch cricket on tv or internet. I have noticed that Mr. TENDULKAR is most humbled superstar in any sport.

  • testli5504537 on January 4, 2013, 19:26 GMT

    This is my mirror image of my mind...Thanks Suman

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