October 28, 2013

Are we doing enough to honour Tendulkar? Alas, no

We must immortalise him in ways that ensure he remains etched in the minds of all those who never got to see him play
26

As a 34-year-old man speedily approaching the inevitable twilight of my frolicsome youth, many things scare me.

Will I develop male pattern baldness? Or will my head of hair remain luxurious and fabulous along with my toned calves? Will our savings last me and the missus through our forties and fifties and into our retirement? No? What if my wife mysteriously disappears after getting her bonus next year? Very good. Will nuclear war ever break out between Iran and the US? Will Murakami finally win the Nobel?

But most of all, especially as a cricket fan, I dread having to explain the greatest player to have ever played this game to the children of tomorrow.

Why the dread?

You fools, do you not have eyes to hear and ears to see?

How can I ever explain the great Sachin Tendulkar to my grandchildren when no attempt is being made whatsoever to capture his legacy in spectacular ways? Where are the statues? Where are the stadiums? Where are the commemorative stamps or coins? Where are the currency notes with his two faces? Where are the highways, bus terminuses, the hospitals, the express trains and artisanal beers?

I can see it now.

Me sitting in a comfy armchair, surrounded by a bevy of beautiful grandchildren, thanks to my numerous marriages to the female cast of Battlestar Galactica. I run my fingers through my luscious hair as one cherub-faced doll-child asks: "Who is Sachin Tendulkar, appapan? Was he a great man?"

I explode in anger: "Bloody you little !@#$ how dare you !@#$$$# ask me about one of the greatest !@#$$$ Indians of all time in this insolent @!@#$$ tone?"

(In our family it is traditional for elders to zone out during storytelling sessions with the kids and use grave abuse.)

"But we have never seen any statue of him! Have you ever met him? Was he a great cricketer? Why is he so forgotten, appapan?"

"Of course I have met him, my dumplings. One day, a long, long time ago, I met him in Sharjah during a dust storm… and told him how to play the Australians…"

(In my traditional Indian family we do not expect our elders to maintain factual accuracy whilst telling true stories to children.)

But this will be the case with all of us if we don't immediately do something to enshrine the memory of the great man. Within a couple of generations his memory will fade away, even as others such as Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly are remembered in the form of Anil Kumble Circle, Rahul Dravid Institute for Handsomeness and International Likeability, and Paschim Sourav (The state formerly known as West Bengal).

There is no point in looking to the BCCI. Instead we must bear the yoke of memorialising Sachin ourselves. To kickstart this process I have some ideas:

1. Sachin Tendulkar should be named as the Eternal Number Four for India. Once he stops playing, this spot on the team will be left vacant in perpetuity. Scoreboards and scorecards will merely have the words "In Memoriam". India will always play with ten players after this retirement. For all team photographs a cardboard cutout of Sachin will be used.

2. Any time the number 200 is reached during a cricket match that takes place in India, everyone will stand and clap 16,400 times. This is once for each run he has scored in Test cricket. (We are assuming Tendulkar will score 563 runs in his remaining Test matches before retirement.)

3. In order to encourage young players, propagate the sport and perpetuate the legacy, any player with the first name Sachin playing for a state that has never won a Ranji Trophy will automatically be picked for the Indian team and be given at least 200 caps.

4. Once a year a Sachin Tendulkar Lottery will be held by the Department of Customs and Excise in Mumbai. A winner will be picked from a pot containing all customs duty violators in the preceding year. He/she will have all their fines and penalties waived.

5. In order to celebrate the achievements of individuals in a team sport, the government of India will establish a new civilian honour: the "Sachin Tendulkar Antarrashtriya Puraskar for Second-Best Cricketer of All Time". The first two recipients will be Brian Lara and Donald Bradman. This will also help build bonds across cricketing nations.

6. And finally Tendulkar's enduring bonds with the city of Mumbai must never be forgotten. A Museum of Sachin Tendulkar will be built on the current site of Shivaji Park. It will feature large exhibition halls, each dedicated to his childhood, development, personal achievements and cricketing records. And in order to complete the picture, visitors will be presented with a free, full colour four-page A6 booklet: "Tendulkar and great Indian team victories".

These are some small ideas to get the ball rolling. I sincerely hope cricketing fans will mull over this and make their own contributions. A talent like Tendulkar only comes and lingers once in a lifetime. Let us not commit him to the dustbin of forgotten greatness.

Sidin Vadukut is a columnist and editor with Mint, and the author of the Dork trilogy

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • SylvanMan on October 30, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    How about the following? 1. Knighthood for Sachin Tendulkar 2. Honorary test century at Lord's - because he never made one! 3. Honorary triple century in tests - again because he never got on!!

  • xylo on October 30, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    The Customs and Excise day idea is indeed exciting.

  • McGorium on October 30, 2013, 0:47 GMT

    The problem with suggestion #4 is that Sachin might end up picking a customs violation on his own Ferrari import not that long ago. Or perhaps that was the jab :) How about a ritualistic burning of Mike Denness in effigy every year on Sachin's birthday? Or automatically reserve a spot for Arjun Tendulkar (#4, perhaps) when he turns 16?

  • knockknock on October 29, 2013, 21:59 GMT

    I don't understand what the fuss is all about? Sachin is no better than many indian great batsmen. His record is not there. In my opinion he holds the record for longevity only not batting greatness. There is no difference between him and others. Sehwag is far better batsman because his average of around 50 is like that of Sachin and has thrilled the crowds far more. He bats with a flair scoring his runs like a dream whereas Sachin has to toil for his runs. Gavaskar, Dravid, Laxman and Azharuddin were better batsman than Sachin except they did not play 200 tests. If you play more you score more.LONGEVITY RECORD and NOT BATTING GREATNESS. Forgot about Sehwag's almost triple in a day. Bradman obviously was in adifferent league altogether with triple century in a day and two centuries before lunch coming in at number 3. The list is endless, that is great batting. 50 centuries in 300 plus innings is not at all impressive. What is impressive is playing 300 plus innings. That is LONGEVITY.

  • ToTellUTheTruth on October 29, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    Hahahahaha!!!!! I was waiting for this. After all these sad and often mind numbing recounts about SRT over the past month, I was really looking forward to a Vadukut doosra!!! Awesome man. I love option 1. That should about do it. Instead of retiring the jersey, retire the position. Hahahahahahah!!!!!! You made my day.

  • alarky on October 29, 2013, 19:01 GMT

    Mr Vadukut, You forgot the main request; that is: "The Indian Parliament must impose a law saying, that Tendulkar is allowed now, to count his age backwards, so that he can continue playing for India"! Because they have done so much for him, and you are still disatisfied, I don't see any reason why this cannot be done! Maybe this last bit would satisfy you! People can really be stupid!

  • AnanthX on October 29, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    Nikhil Desai: Tendulkar wasn't the leading run scorer in '99. Dravid was. He wasn't even close to the top in '07, which is unsurprising, given that India crashed out in the first round and therefore didn't play more than three matches.

  • on October 29, 2013, 4:36 GMT

    What? Nothing about Bharat Ratna? In fact, since there are many Bharat Ratnas including MGR, M S Subbulakshmi, Abdul Kalam and others before him, there must be a new award called "Bharat Maharatna" (the greatest jewel of India) and he should be the only recipient of that award. After the award is given to Sachin, to enable no one else to get that award, it should be stopped.

  • cricconnossieur on October 29, 2013, 3:43 GMT

    Name the National Cricket Academy after him ! Or build a stadium in the meory of the Fab Four-VVS, DRavid, Sourav and Sachin.

  • on October 29, 2013, 0:58 GMT

    @Blaster PK, which world cups did he let us down in, He was leading scorer in 99, 03, 2nd in 07, 4th in 11, check your facts before saying Sachin let us down in WC

  • SylvanMan on October 30, 2013, 3:19 GMT

    How about the following? 1. Knighthood for Sachin Tendulkar 2. Honorary test century at Lord's - because he never made one! 3. Honorary triple century in tests - again because he never got on!!

  • xylo on October 30, 2013, 1:56 GMT

    The Customs and Excise day idea is indeed exciting.

  • McGorium on October 30, 2013, 0:47 GMT

    The problem with suggestion #4 is that Sachin might end up picking a customs violation on his own Ferrari import not that long ago. Or perhaps that was the jab :) How about a ritualistic burning of Mike Denness in effigy every year on Sachin's birthday? Or automatically reserve a spot for Arjun Tendulkar (#4, perhaps) when he turns 16?

  • knockknock on October 29, 2013, 21:59 GMT

    I don't understand what the fuss is all about? Sachin is no better than many indian great batsmen. His record is not there. In my opinion he holds the record for longevity only not batting greatness. There is no difference between him and others. Sehwag is far better batsman because his average of around 50 is like that of Sachin and has thrilled the crowds far more. He bats with a flair scoring his runs like a dream whereas Sachin has to toil for his runs. Gavaskar, Dravid, Laxman and Azharuddin were better batsman than Sachin except they did not play 200 tests. If you play more you score more.LONGEVITY RECORD and NOT BATTING GREATNESS. Forgot about Sehwag's almost triple in a day. Bradman obviously was in adifferent league altogether with triple century in a day and two centuries before lunch coming in at number 3. The list is endless, that is great batting. 50 centuries in 300 plus innings is not at all impressive. What is impressive is playing 300 plus innings. That is LONGEVITY.

  • ToTellUTheTruth on October 29, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    Hahahahaha!!!!! I was waiting for this. After all these sad and often mind numbing recounts about SRT over the past month, I was really looking forward to a Vadukut doosra!!! Awesome man. I love option 1. That should about do it. Instead of retiring the jersey, retire the position. Hahahahahahah!!!!!! You made my day.

  • alarky on October 29, 2013, 19:01 GMT

    Mr Vadukut, You forgot the main request; that is: "The Indian Parliament must impose a law saying, that Tendulkar is allowed now, to count his age backwards, so that he can continue playing for India"! Because they have done so much for him, and you are still disatisfied, I don't see any reason why this cannot be done! Maybe this last bit would satisfy you! People can really be stupid!

  • AnanthX on October 29, 2013, 18:17 GMT

    Nikhil Desai: Tendulkar wasn't the leading run scorer in '99. Dravid was. He wasn't even close to the top in '07, which is unsurprising, given that India crashed out in the first round and therefore didn't play more than three matches.

  • on October 29, 2013, 4:36 GMT

    What? Nothing about Bharat Ratna? In fact, since there are many Bharat Ratnas including MGR, M S Subbulakshmi, Abdul Kalam and others before him, there must be a new award called "Bharat Maharatna" (the greatest jewel of India) and he should be the only recipient of that award. After the award is given to Sachin, to enable no one else to get that award, it should be stopped.

  • cricconnossieur on October 29, 2013, 3:43 GMT

    Name the National Cricket Academy after him ! Or build a stadium in the meory of the Fab Four-VVS, DRavid, Sourav and Sachin.

  • on October 29, 2013, 0:58 GMT

    @Blaster PK, which world cups did he let us down in, He was leading scorer in 99, 03, 2nd in 07, 4th in 11, check your facts before saying Sachin let us down in WC

  • Digimont on October 29, 2013, 0:25 GMT

    I think almost everyone has missed the fact that this piece is poking fun at Indian fans and their propensity to seek god like individuals in a sport where the team should always come first.

    Should work more towards a team statue when you win a test match series away from home. On second thoughts, if that ever happened (unlikely) they would only be remembered until the next IPL ball is delivered.

    PS: If Sachin wanted to make money, he could become a professional wedding guest. You could replace the obligatory bouncy castle with a cricket net and guests could bowl at him. He could bless the couple or be the DL/MC.

  • on October 28, 2013, 20:33 GMT

    Leave Sachin alone all I can say. Its the commentators, media and people who created a Sachin as SACHIN. As a Cricket enthusiast I am proud that we got Sachin.

    But as an Indian I believe considering he is god of cricket should have won more matches and lead the Indian team when it was in dire straits.

  • saaacheeen on October 28, 2013, 19:35 GMT

    @ramli - are you crazy.. if India loses the Mumbai test no will care.. if sachin fails to score, BCCI will restart the Test match again and again till Sachin scores at least 563 runs

  • Longmemory on October 28, 2013, 18:11 GMT

    Great stuff - very funny. A much needed antidote to the sheer madness that is already ongoing - and only likely to intensify over the next few weeks. It says a lot about our national culture - this deification of someone who had a preternatural ability to hit a leather ball with a wooden bat.

  • royals1986 on October 28, 2013, 17:23 GMT

    Looking at his current form Sachin isnt fit to play in a Ranji match. WE are not against his so called records. ppl have many expectation from him coz those were the times when indian cricket was in tatters and sachin used to be our man friday with once in a ages performance. And most importantly its not about an individual its about the country and when you play for the country you dont play for records you play for the honour of the country . When you represent your country you have to be at your best. If for more that 2 yrs you are not playing well then you have to step down not coz you are playing for ur self, but you r playing for your country. then we would have respect for him.

  • on October 28, 2013, 15:42 GMT

    I understand the frustration of a common man over the importance being given to one particular person. But I would like to say this regarding the situation...Sachin may have been good for only 15 or 16 years among the all 24 which he is being given (implied by a lot of people criticizing him)...I challenge anyone among you all criticizing lot, try to calculate your best productive worthwhile professional years...they will not go beyond 10. And then to think the amount of love Sachin has gathered by his down to earth attitude towards life. He is not comparable to you Mr.

  • on October 28, 2013, 15:14 GMT

    I am not surprised that this article has created so much outrage, even in India! But I have no queries with Mr Vadukut. I don't think even he believes in his own recommendations. I am wondering the extent to which he's mocking the Indian authorities for past trends! Is he telling them that based on some of the nonsense they did for Sachin in the past, he sees nothing wrong in continuing to over-hype and over-value Tendulkar's personal returns for Indian cricket. In other wordS, if the cricket authorities used to allow Tendulkar to play for different periods of 4 and 3 consecutive years respectively failing to be able to perform against the best, while youths who are better than him, sit and wait, what is wrong in doing these things that Mr Vadukut is requesting? It's a good thing though that all this exaggeration is mainly a reflection of just a few Indians and their cronies around the world, who are writing and saying these out-of-touch things about Sachin, just to buy BCCI favours!

  • Satish.V on October 28, 2013, 13:01 GMT

    Er.. people need to take a chill pill & realize that this article is on Page 2.Lets not start a debate on whether Sachin is worthy of all the hype or not. That is for another time.

  • rjt00 on October 28, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    Talking about `Where are the currency notes with his two faces?`, fancy a 99 bucks note in his favor?

  • on October 28, 2013, 11:51 GMT

    I can understand people criticizing this article..and saying..for years that if anyone else had played this many matches..he would have scored more runs than sachin

    But they fail to understand that it requires a lot of talent to come into international cricket at the age of 16...there is no such batsman anywhere in the world who can come into international arena at such a young age..Hence, it is not Sachin's fault that his carer started early and spanned for 25 years... Secondly, when Sachin arrived the amount of cricket played was less as compared to now a days..so people will get chances of playing as many matches as sachin played in less than 20 years..we will see who breaks what record..Those who try and act cool by criticizing sachin will keep on doing that..but the truth is..he is a quiet man and he won't worry just like he didn' worry for 25 years..and those who understand the evolution of cricket will always know why he is the best...He is the bradman of modern era if not more

  • on October 28, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    Tendulkar got fame, recognition and money. What else does he need? He's got more adulation than warranted. A Rajya Sabha seat. He had a bunch of misguided fellow cricketers claiming to win the world cup for Tendulkar and not for India. Everything they do, they do for Tendulkar. And the media like to perpetuate that myth. Very few have the courage to question it. The only rational article I read was recently entitled, "The Myth about Tendulkar.

  • on October 28, 2013, 10:41 GMT

    I cannot understand why all this hype about Sachin .. He is average is around 53 in test he has played close to 800 international matches ..... That means anyone of the below could have scored the same amount of runs if they had AGE as an advantage.

    Lara came after sachin started to play and lara was the fastest to get to alan border's record of hightest test runs.. Obviously sachin had Age as a deciding fator and sachin took 2 years to go past lara....

    The reason sachin has scored so many centuries is because he comes out he knows he has 50 overs to play.. so play cooly till 40 overs and score a century....This can be done only by a batsman who has undeniable Desire for centuries... All others like dhoni, raina etc come at 6 or 7 and still win matches for INDIA... Sachin let us down in Worldcup not sure why he is celebrated so much ... If he is being celebrated only for centuries then Its not his fault alone going behind those centuries ,,,, its ours toooooo....

  • on October 28, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    Ridicule.. at its best ..In order to celebrate the achievements of individuals in a team sport, the government of India will establish a new civilian honour: the "Sachin Tendulkar Antarrashtriya Puraskar for Second-Best Cricketer of All Time". The first two recipients will be Brian Lara and Donald Bradman. This will also help build bonds across cricketing nations.

  • goldensilence on October 28, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    Sir...Sir (raising my hand) we should hold the sachin tendulkar lottery on April 23rd sir...(satisfied smile)

  • ramli on October 28, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    May be the article ridicules the over-hype created about Sachin's exit from active cricket ... I am only wondering what will happen in Mumbai if India loses to WI at Mumbai and Sachin also failing to score runs???

  • on October 28, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    The most hilarious line was "comes and lingers once ...." . Way below the belt Sidin

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  • on October 28, 2013, 6:55 GMT

    The most hilarious line was "comes and lingers once ...." . Way below the belt Sidin

  • ramli on October 28, 2013, 8:19 GMT

    May be the article ridicules the over-hype created about Sachin's exit from active cricket ... I am only wondering what will happen in Mumbai if India loses to WI at Mumbai and Sachin also failing to score runs???

  • goldensilence on October 28, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    Sir...Sir (raising my hand) we should hold the sachin tendulkar lottery on April 23rd sir...(satisfied smile)

  • on October 28, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    Ridicule.. at its best ..In order to celebrate the achievements of individuals in a team sport, the government of India will establish a new civilian honour: the "Sachin Tendulkar Antarrashtriya Puraskar for Second-Best Cricketer of All Time". The first two recipients will be Brian Lara and Donald Bradman. This will also help build bonds across cricketing nations.

  • on October 28, 2013, 10:41 GMT

    I cannot understand why all this hype about Sachin .. He is average is around 53 in test he has played close to 800 international matches ..... That means anyone of the below could have scored the same amount of runs if they had AGE as an advantage.

    Lara came after sachin started to play and lara was the fastest to get to alan border's record of hightest test runs.. Obviously sachin had Age as a deciding fator and sachin took 2 years to go past lara....

    The reason sachin has scored so many centuries is because he comes out he knows he has 50 overs to play.. so play cooly till 40 overs and score a century....This can be done only by a batsman who has undeniable Desire for centuries... All others like dhoni, raina etc come at 6 or 7 and still win matches for INDIA... Sachin let us down in Worldcup not sure why he is celebrated so much ... If he is being celebrated only for centuries then Its not his fault alone going behind those centuries ,,,, its ours toooooo....

  • on October 28, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    Tendulkar got fame, recognition and money. What else does he need? He's got more adulation than warranted. A Rajya Sabha seat. He had a bunch of misguided fellow cricketers claiming to win the world cup for Tendulkar and not for India. Everything they do, they do for Tendulkar. And the media like to perpetuate that myth. Very few have the courage to question it. The only rational article I read was recently entitled, "The Myth about Tendulkar.

  • on October 28, 2013, 11:51 GMT

    I can understand people criticizing this article..and saying..for years that if anyone else had played this many matches..he would have scored more runs than sachin

    But they fail to understand that it requires a lot of talent to come into international cricket at the age of 16...there is no such batsman anywhere in the world who can come into international arena at such a young age..Hence, it is not Sachin's fault that his carer started early and spanned for 25 years... Secondly, when Sachin arrived the amount of cricket played was less as compared to now a days..so people will get chances of playing as many matches as sachin played in less than 20 years..we will see who breaks what record..Those who try and act cool by criticizing sachin will keep on doing that..but the truth is..he is a quiet man and he won't worry just like he didn' worry for 25 years..and those who understand the evolution of cricket will always know why he is the best...He is the bradman of modern era if not more

  • rjt00 on October 28, 2013, 12:21 GMT

    Talking about `Where are the currency notes with his two faces?`, fancy a 99 bucks note in his favor?

  • Satish.V on October 28, 2013, 13:01 GMT

    Er.. people need to take a chill pill & realize that this article is on Page 2.Lets not start a debate on whether Sachin is worthy of all the hype or not. That is for another time.

  • on October 28, 2013, 15:14 GMT

    I am not surprised that this article has created so much outrage, even in India! But I have no queries with Mr Vadukut. I don't think even he believes in his own recommendations. I am wondering the extent to which he's mocking the Indian authorities for past trends! Is he telling them that based on some of the nonsense they did for Sachin in the past, he sees nothing wrong in continuing to over-hype and over-value Tendulkar's personal returns for Indian cricket. In other wordS, if the cricket authorities used to allow Tendulkar to play for different periods of 4 and 3 consecutive years respectively failing to be able to perform against the best, while youths who are better than him, sit and wait, what is wrong in doing these things that Mr Vadukut is requesting? It's a good thing though that all this exaggeration is mainly a reflection of just a few Indians and their cronies around the world, who are writing and saying these out-of-touch things about Sachin, just to buy BCCI favours!