October 12, 2013

India cricket

Tendulkar and India's political revolution

Shekhar Gupta of the Indian Express met Sachin Tendulkar for the first time in 1989 in Pakistan, though it was only a chance meeting as he was there on a political reporting assignment. Gupta was invited to a fancy dress party at the Indian team hotel in Lahore, where he spotted the 16-year-old Tendulkar, wearing a moustache and pink lipstick. He recalls their interactions over the years and compares Tendulkar's rise with that of the Indian economy, which experienced liberalisation for the first time in the early 90s.

His debut year, 1989, marked the end of Congress dominance and the rise of many "third" forces and democratic mutinies, Mandir, Mandal, then the mortgaging of gold, and finally, the economic reform. If you had any doubts that cricket is a reflection of the mood and health of our society and economy, look at how our record changed 1989 onwards. You can then ascribe it to the arrival of Sachin, or economic reform, or both. Because Sachin, by himself, was a phenomenon. But there had been others before him: Sunil Gavaskar, Kapil Dev. But they were more or less lone warriors in a team that did not particularly believe it could win consistently, like the country whose flag it played under. Reinvention of Indian cricket kept pace with the resurgence of Indian economy and society.

Mid-Day digs through its archives and publishes its first ever article on Sachin Tendulkar in 1986, when he was 13 and taking school cricket by storm.

In the few free hours that he gets, he listens to western music. Why western music, when his father is a poet? Most of his friends are from Bombay Scottish, as he lives in Shivaji Park, and they all love western songs. He thrives on Michael Jackson's songs. Sachin is also a good singer.

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