November 18, 2013

Indian cricket

Tendulkar gives the Bharat Ratna credibility

Immediately after it was confirmed that Sachin Tendulkar would receive the Bharat Ratna, India's highest civilian order, there have been debates in several platforms over whether he deserves the award or not. In DNA, Mohan Krishnamoorthy writes that Tendulkar deserves the award because in a country that is utterly bereft of role models and heroes, Tendulkar has crafted a career without a single blotch and stood as a beacon of hope and a giver of pleasure.

Most kids would say that they want to bat like Tendulkar. Everywhere I have watched the game, he has been a draw card. People come to watch him play. He has been cheered on most international arenas he has played in. Audiences at the Melbourne Cricket Ground, the Lords' and Antigua anticipate his arrival at the crease and cheer him as much as the crowds at the Wankhede, the Eden Gardens or Chepauk do. Just as many aspiring musicians wanted to sing like Bhimsen Joshi or M. S. Subbulakshmi, almost every cricketer of the next generation wanted to play the game like Tendulkar -- not only in India, but around the world. Yes, Tendulkar never found a cure for AIDS nor did he advocate world peace, but neither did Bismillah Khan.

Writing for Yahoo! Cricket, Rahul Bhattacharya recounts how Tendulkar-fever hit Lahli, and assessed a legend who nearing the end, and how he went about match preparation, dealing with the adoration of his fans, and how the general cricketing public perceived his final bouts on the cricket pitch. Those days in Lahli, where Tendulkar played his final first-class match for Mumbai, allowed a rare view for writers and fans alike to see a master prepare for one last fling.

Sportswriters and their editors are partial to over-reaching. They like to assess significance, no, not enough: They like to see meaning. When CLR James wrote that "West Indians crowding to Tests bring with them the whole past history and future hopes of the islands", he instructed generations of writers. Other sportswriters are superiorly concerned with the craft of the thing, constructing with similar diligence their own cocoon. But to go watch Tendulkar bat is, fortunately for us all, to invariably see what Tendulkar means. This too is what Tendulkar means.

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