March 12, 2014

Indian cricket

Down from his celestial heights

Reviewing ESPNcricinfo's book, Sachin Tendulkar: The Man Cricket Loved Back, for Business Standard, Joel Rai appreciates the way the player's mortal and human sides are brought forward with the help of former team-mates, commentators, corporate executives and sports writers.

He played pranks on teammates, confessed to being overconfident (or could this be a gentler term for arrogance?), had pangs of anxiety, even lost sleep when not scoring well, and wasn't averse to using the F-word to tell off opponents on the pitch. Finally, we see Tendulkar who doesn't look unflappable like a kung-fu fighting panda who has found inner peace.

For, Abhishek Mukherjee relishes the variety of writers who have contributed to the book, and write about their experiences with Tendulkar the cricketer, the opponent, the team-mate, the prankster, and much more.

Rahul Dravid, the man who has seen him bat the most at international level, pulls off an excellent recollection; Sanjay Manjrekar recollects Tendulkar's attitude towards duels; Sourav Ganguly makes you smile with a fresh collection of anecdotes (who would have thunk that a livid Tendulkar had almost sent back Ganguly mid-tour once?), narrating them in a style that characterises the top-notch commentator that he is; VVS Laxman is honest in his gratitude; Yuvraj Singh sounds like the quintessential favourite student in a Professor's farewell; and John Wright remembers a protégé-turned-friend.


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