April 28, 2012

Give Tendulkar the benefit of the doubt

Leadership hasn't been his strength but statesmanship has come almost naturally to him
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You know it's the silly season when, with a government battling several political and financial crises and an opposition struggling to get its own act together, public discourse on national television, in newspapers and on Twitter revolves around the nomination of Sachin Tendulkar to the Rajya Sabha, India's upper house of Parliament. Lines have been sharply drawn for and against, and the episode has triggered rare public criticism of Tendulkar.

For those who came in late: Tendulkar's nomination - officially by the President of India, effectively by the federal government - is to one of a dozen Rajya Sabha seats that are reserved for persons "having special knowledge or practical experience in respect of such matters as literature, science, art and social service". Previous occupants of those seats have included the musician Ravi Shankar, the artist MF Husain, and the film director Mrinal Sen. Into that fairly experienced - for want of a better word - company is cast Indian cricket's Peter Pan, still breaking records in his 40th year.

The news came out of the blue on Thursday afternoon, catching even India's on-the-ball TV channels unawares. First came reports of his meetings with the prime minister, and Sonia Gandhi, who heads the ruling coalition; this was followed swiftly by rumours and confirmation of the offer and, within a few hours, a formal announcement from the President's office. From meeting the PM to being named an MP, it was all done in four-odd hours.

That, though, set off the chain of criticism, politicking and potshots. The initial reaction was one of shock; there had been no indication of this and even the most incisive cricket observers were flabbergasted. The criticism followed pretty soon, however, and by Friday evening representatives of various political parties were seeing and denouncing conspiracy theories - chiefly that the ruling Congress was using Tendulkar to deflect attention from the issues at hand.

Much more unusual, though not surprising, has been the criticism levelled at Tendulkar himself for accepting the offer. In cricket circles, the incredulity - expressed by, among others, Tendulkar's one-time team-mate Sanjay Manjrekar - is because Tendulkar has not exhibited as a player any leadership tendencies. "Until now I've seen no sign of that," Manjrekar said. The consensus seems to be that Anil Kumble or Sourav Ganguly would have been more obvious choices; Kumble, as Manjrekar pointed out, led the players' negotiations with the BCCI for regularised contracts and has latterly been elected president of the Karnataka State Cricket Association, while Ganguly revolutionised the captaincy.

Even Rahul Dravid would have been a better choice, given his reputation as a deep-thinking player and his successful delivery of the Bradman Oration last year. Tendulkar, by contrast, is famous for not committing himself on issues; leadership has never been his strongest suit, and he never looked comfortable as India captain. Away from the crease he has always been a back-seat player, happier to follow than to lead.

If leadership didn't become him, though, statesmanship does. Adored in India, he is hugely respected abroad for his ability to live a relatively dignified life - relative especially to first-world sports stars - in the largest of goldfish bowls. His iconic status has, for the better part of two decades, sat lightly on his shoulders. He is a role model for millions of Indian children, and still highly sought for endorsements, because he is so totally non-controversial, so completely safe. His silence really is golden. Decorous and politically correct to a fault, he is the ideal member of the House of Elders.

Another criticism is that Tendulkar the player will not have the time to attend sessions of Parliament. One paper calculated that in 2011 he had spent 216 days on tour (the Indian team spent 292 days). Could the nomination not have waited till his retirement? The counter to this, though, is even more clear. It can safely be said that Tendulkar is in the twilight of his career; simply put, his body has pretty much run the length of its course on the field. That he has lasted so long is itself amazing but the niggles and strains are becoming increasingly frequent. A winding down of his career, where he culls one or two formats from his schedule, is only a matter of time. And in any case the Rajya Sabha seat is for six years and should be seen through that long-term prism. It can even be said, without stretching the imagination too much, that he is closer to retirement than his two fellow nominees named on Thursday - the actress Rekha and the businesswoman Anu Aga - and that both ladies have reasonably hectic schedules themselves.

The legitimate question remains: why did Tendulkar accept? It is hard to second-guess a man whose face is as widely known as his mind is not. One empirical fact, though, is that with the World Cup won and the 100th hundred in his pocket at last, he has few cricketing peaks to conquer. It's possible he needed something outside of the game to challenge him, something new to master. Perhaps, like his only parallel in popular culture, Amitabh Bachchan, he has political ambitions; perhaps he wanted an affirmation of his popularity outside the normal field of play. Nothing wrong with that - it would be a personal choice that he is entitled to. And can you imagine the furore had he turned down the offer?

The legitimate question remains: why did Tendulkar accept? It is hard to second-guess a man whose face is as widely known as his mind is not

What these six years will give him, though, is a chance to exist outside the bubble in which he has lived from his mid-teens. He will meet some of the best minds in Indian public life, who, after their initial thrill at meeting him, will go about their business as usual. One of his colleagues in the Rajya Sabha will be Dilip Tirkey, a highly respected former Indian hockey captain, who was elected to the house from his home state of Orissa. Hockey is a million miles from the rarefied world of cricket; large parts of Orissa, a state with high rates of poverty and malnourishment, are similarly a world away from the millionaire mansions of South Mumbai. There is every possibility an exchange of ideas between the two could inspire Tendulkar's life plans once he does retire from cricket.

The Rajya Sabha stint will also be the first time he has shown a willingness to put his name and reputation on the line, to hold himself up to accountability and scrutiny - to move outside his comfort zone, the cricket ground, where he has always excelled and has rarely been questioned, and into an arena where the script is not in his control. Given the potential for bad PR - and it has already started - the sheer boldness of the move deserves commendation.

Will he make a difference? Perhaps the question is irrelevant because nominated members are not nominated to make a difference, as the elected legislators are. They are there primarily as a reward for being good and famous citizens of India, for being leaders in their fields. Anything that rubs off will be a bonus. It's true Tendulkar doesn't espouse too many causes, much less comment on non-cricketing issues, but Rekha, a hugely popular actress of the 1970s and 1980s, has kept a similar low profile through her career, avoiding the glare outside of the klieg lights. There is no indication that she will bring to the Rajya Sabha the intelligence and wit she brings to her craft. Yet she has been given the benefit of doubt - a benefit that has, in public discourse over the past couple of days, been denied Tendulkar.

And that seems to be the crux of the matter. The debate is only because this is Tendulkar - because the king has become an MP.

Jayaditya Gupta is executive editor of ESPNcricinfo in India

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • swaroopjammula on May 1, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    for all the people who say sachin is not a team man, how can you define a team man? i know a lot of innings where sachin played for team. its the mental thought you are talking about right? then i know some innings. when India lifted independence cup against pakisthan sachin scored at a rapid phase and provided a very qucik start where ganguly capitalized and India won that game. had he been selfish or not a team man he can bat slowly. observe 2003 wc final. he kept the score which aus made in view and went after mcgrath right from first over which is no his style. how can anyone call him not a team man. he is a team man. the main problem for him is before 2000 when ganguly started he was the only player who constitued the team.

  • deepak_sholapurkar on May 1, 2012, 3:41 GMT

    Sachin is far better in Rajya Sabha compared to all the politicians. Its good to see a differnt face in Parliment.

    And now with the form he is having in Cricket Ground, its definately sachin has choosen better option. Who knows he may be a next chief minister of Maharastra

  • Divinetouch on April 30, 2012, 13:45 GMT

    Sachinji,

    You are a true son of BHARATMA and being a patriot you have responded to the call to serve your country.

    All those who who are critical of your decision should ask themselves if they are asked to serve their country what would they do.

    To serve one's country is a great honour and it is ony bestowed upon those who are deemed eleigible.

    Your dignity and humility will ensure you are an outstanding sewak.

    BHAGAVAN SATHYA SAI BABA will shower HIS grace on you at all times such that you can excel in the field of civil service as you have done as a cricketer.

  • jay57870 on April 30, 2012, 3:26 GMT

    Look at the great Don Bradman. He rose to national prominence from humble beginnings: a country boy to great cricketer to administrator to businessman to national icon. Even as a reclusive old man, his input was solicited by many. So much so, then Australian PM John Howard called him the "greatest living Australian"! Not surprising, given the great Don's strong belief in "character must surely be one of the greatest assets any nation through its citizens can possess." Bottom line: Leadership is primarily about character, trust & ethics. Talk about "leadership tendencies" like "players' negotiations" or "captaincy" or press conferences or college degrees is secondary. There's surely wisdom in PM Manmohan Singh's bold move in endorsing Tendulkar, while he's still young & energetic! Late Peter Roebuck once proclaimed: "Throughout he has been public property, India's proudest possession." As such, Sachin's life mission is inextricably linked to the nation! He needs "no benefit of doubt"!!

  • jay57870 on April 30, 2012, 3:04 GMT

    Jayaditya - The real question is not "why did Tendulkar accept?" but rather "can you imagine the furore had he turned down the offer?" Just think: Had he declined, the collateral damage would have been disastrous. People would have called it high treason. Far from it, Sachin has always considered it a huge honour to play for country above everything else. His quiet leadership style is, foremost, deeply rooted in trust and ethics. Sachin's character, integrity and values - on and off the field - are impeccable. He is a universal role model and global ambassador of sportsmansip. TIME Magazine proclaimed him one of "The 100 Most Influential People In The World" in 2010! Its tribute: "Sports heroes such as Tendulkar stand for national dignity in a way that perhaps only a postcolonial nation can understand. And feel grateful for"! Yes, it's national dignity that the nation needs so desperately these days. India should indeed be grateful for Tendulkar accepting the Rajya Sabha post! (TBC)

  • on April 29, 2012, 20:10 GMT

    Nicely written, putting into perspective both the sides. Got many people to think more on the subject..

  • Brambletonian on April 29, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    Sachin was never a team man and never will be ..and imagine this guy as Rajya sabha MP..What a joke..God bless India

  • on April 29, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    Think of it from Sachin's point of view. Right from childhood, he has been looked upon in awe. As he grew older, he must have thought to himself, "If people love me so much, maybe I can make a difference to this country." If I was him (assuming I was as talented, as humble and, what else am I missing? Oh yeah, a hundred hundreds), I would think that I have been given a great opportunity in this life. Very few people get as lucky as I did. I should not throw it away. I have entertained a billion lives for 20 years. Maybe I can help change their lives too.

  • rajnish.sinha on April 29, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    sachin's stature is bigger than that of PM in this country. yet he chooses to take up the post. when a person takes up something where he has nothing to gain and everything to loose, it should be praised and not condemned. yes he has kept himself away from issues. because all this while he was a cricketer. its easy to comment on issues without committing to them. examples mahesh bhatt, aamir khan, javed akhtar etc., but then when sachin realised that he will have time now on his side, he has committed to public life by taking up the offer. kudos to the master. i think guys like sanjay manjrekar must be having sachin's idol in their homes at the place of worship. they live off making commments on him.

  • on April 29, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    Yes Sachin's career has run its course...and frankly he needed options...media is not his forte and gaps in academic qualifications, like gaps in batting techniques, will hurt in most other vocations. The man himself is very much aware of that. The incumbent Government, themselves shorn of ideas, had to come up with something to keep afloat their sinking stakes in the country's democracy, and as now appears, in the demographic interest's as well in which surely sports and films rank the highest . Its an opportunity, as indeed the associated honour, which Sachin the retired sportsman will accept and serve with dignity. How much it will improve the stock of the sporting fraternity will however remain a conjecture.

  • swaroopjammula on May 1, 2012, 7:30 GMT

    for all the people who say sachin is not a team man, how can you define a team man? i know a lot of innings where sachin played for team. its the mental thought you are talking about right? then i know some innings. when India lifted independence cup against pakisthan sachin scored at a rapid phase and provided a very qucik start where ganguly capitalized and India won that game. had he been selfish or not a team man he can bat slowly. observe 2003 wc final. he kept the score which aus made in view and went after mcgrath right from first over which is no his style. how can anyone call him not a team man. he is a team man. the main problem for him is before 2000 when ganguly started he was the only player who constitued the team.

  • deepak_sholapurkar on May 1, 2012, 3:41 GMT

    Sachin is far better in Rajya Sabha compared to all the politicians. Its good to see a differnt face in Parliment.

    And now with the form he is having in Cricket Ground, its definately sachin has choosen better option. Who knows he may be a next chief minister of Maharastra

  • Divinetouch on April 30, 2012, 13:45 GMT

    Sachinji,

    You are a true son of BHARATMA and being a patriot you have responded to the call to serve your country.

    All those who who are critical of your decision should ask themselves if they are asked to serve their country what would they do.

    To serve one's country is a great honour and it is ony bestowed upon those who are deemed eleigible.

    Your dignity and humility will ensure you are an outstanding sewak.

    BHAGAVAN SATHYA SAI BABA will shower HIS grace on you at all times such that you can excel in the field of civil service as you have done as a cricketer.

  • jay57870 on April 30, 2012, 3:26 GMT

    Look at the great Don Bradman. He rose to national prominence from humble beginnings: a country boy to great cricketer to administrator to businessman to national icon. Even as a reclusive old man, his input was solicited by many. So much so, then Australian PM John Howard called him the "greatest living Australian"! Not surprising, given the great Don's strong belief in "character must surely be one of the greatest assets any nation through its citizens can possess." Bottom line: Leadership is primarily about character, trust & ethics. Talk about "leadership tendencies" like "players' negotiations" or "captaincy" or press conferences or college degrees is secondary. There's surely wisdom in PM Manmohan Singh's bold move in endorsing Tendulkar, while he's still young & energetic! Late Peter Roebuck once proclaimed: "Throughout he has been public property, India's proudest possession." As such, Sachin's life mission is inextricably linked to the nation! He needs "no benefit of doubt"!!

  • jay57870 on April 30, 2012, 3:04 GMT

    Jayaditya - The real question is not "why did Tendulkar accept?" but rather "can you imagine the furore had he turned down the offer?" Just think: Had he declined, the collateral damage would have been disastrous. People would have called it high treason. Far from it, Sachin has always considered it a huge honour to play for country above everything else. His quiet leadership style is, foremost, deeply rooted in trust and ethics. Sachin's character, integrity and values - on and off the field - are impeccable. He is a universal role model and global ambassador of sportsmansip. TIME Magazine proclaimed him one of "The 100 Most Influential People In The World" in 2010! Its tribute: "Sports heroes such as Tendulkar stand for national dignity in a way that perhaps only a postcolonial nation can understand. And feel grateful for"! Yes, it's national dignity that the nation needs so desperately these days. India should indeed be grateful for Tendulkar accepting the Rajya Sabha post! (TBC)

  • on April 29, 2012, 20:10 GMT

    Nicely written, putting into perspective both the sides. Got many people to think more on the subject..

  • Brambletonian on April 29, 2012, 15:47 GMT

    Sachin was never a team man and never will be ..and imagine this guy as Rajya sabha MP..What a joke..God bless India

  • on April 29, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    Think of it from Sachin's point of view. Right from childhood, he has been looked upon in awe. As he grew older, he must have thought to himself, "If people love me so much, maybe I can make a difference to this country." If I was him (assuming I was as talented, as humble and, what else am I missing? Oh yeah, a hundred hundreds), I would think that I have been given a great opportunity in this life. Very few people get as lucky as I did. I should not throw it away. I have entertained a billion lives for 20 years. Maybe I can help change their lives too.

  • rajnish.sinha on April 29, 2012, 6:43 GMT

    sachin's stature is bigger than that of PM in this country. yet he chooses to take up the post. when a person takes up something where he has nothing to gain and everything to loose, it should be praised and not condemned. yes he has kept himself away from issues. because all this while he was a cricketer. its easy to comment on issues without committing to them. examples mahesh bhatt, aamir khan, javed akhtar etc., but then when sachin realised that he will have time now on his side, he has committed to public life by taking up the offer. kudos to the master. i think guys like sanjay manjrekar must be having sachin's idol in their homes at the place of worship. they live off making commments on him.

  • on April 29, 2012, 6:31 GMT

    Yes Sachin's career has run its course...and frankly he needed options...media is not his forte and gaps in academic qualifications, like gaps in batting techniques, will hurt in most other vocations. The man himself is very much aware of that. The incumbent Government, themselves shorn of ideas, had to come up with something to keep afloat their sinking stakes in the country's democracy, and as now appears, in the demographic interest's as well in which surely sports and films rank the highest . Its an opportunity, as indeed the associated honour, which Sachin the retired sportsman will accept and serve with dignity. How much it will improve the stock of the sporting fraternity will however remain a conjecture.

  • on April 29, 2012, 3:04 GMT

    The last few months have clearly brought out the differences between Sachin and Rahul. Rahul, after he retired, has mentioned that he would prefer to stay out of the limelight, saying he would like to do normal stuff like play with his children, drop and pick them from school and take a back seat to his wife who can now choose to continue her professional interests. Sachin, on the other hand seems to want to cling to anything to be in the limelight now that he can clearly see that his playing days are numbered. May be he has a mid-life crisis in the making as he has never known anything other than cricket his entire life. It also showed him in poor light when he chose to miss the function to felicitate Rahul where almost every Indian cricketer past and present were there. Rahul would have never done that.

  • on April 29, 2012, 0:55 GMT

    Honestly in the middle there was a point when I thought that Sachin should have waited and Iam a fan,,, But after reading this article I think he's cool...come to think of it...after from all the rebuttals in the article the most relevant to me is that what if he would have refused...Then it would be the 'flip side' of negative publicity and definitely much much more than the present...Hope he cracks a few now and shut every one for a bit.!

  • bvnathan on April 28, 2012, 23:58 GMT

    WOW Jayaditya - nicely written article. SRT nomination to the upper house can be treated as an honor to an acclaimed INDIAN CITIZEN all across the globe. Well SRT may not have exhibited leadership qualities - but think of all the MPs that the citizens have voted to be part of the LS and RS; what kind of leadership is exhinited by them for 1+billion people of this country. Give SRT breathing time - may be he will be in a position to define and provide guideline how the SPORTS (not only CRICKET) administration should be gavanized to realize the potential that beholds this country. May be he can ensure there is transparency and genuiune interest shown in other sports (Hockey, Badminton, Football, Athletics, Wresting, Shooting etc.) where India sportsmen can demonstrate their skills and talent. It was painful to see the comments from X-Cricketers like Sanjay Manjrekar, but did anybody expect SRT to establish himself in CRICKET WROLD when he debuted againsit PASKISTAN in 1989?

  • SuperSaiyan4 on April 28, 2012, 22:15 GMT

    @Milind_Jadhav

    Great post man . You are spot on .

    He is the very reason I started watching Cricket and still do . Hats off to the Master....

  • kasyapm on April 28, 2012, 21:09 GMT

    Some comments (in this and other articles) pain me a lot. When ever there is a mention of Sachin or Dravid, we get into argument mode, comparing one against the other and in the process belittling one of them. Let us celebrate the fact that we had the privilege of watching these 2 legends (and others - including sourav, VVS, Kumble) play together for nearly 15 years. We may not be so fortunate in the future.

  • on April 28, 2012, 20:13 GMT

    We always emphasize on cleaner political system in India and having said that, the leader we should choose directly and indirectly must have high integrity ,focused , best of conduct and should push everything what he does . Is Sachin not a ideal person for that ? When we are commenting or opposing such decision , does not it mean that we are against a cleaner political system . A person who plays for the country for such a longtime and when got a chance to serve a country ,being a ideal citizen Sachin has done the right thing . I am supporting his decision

  • bismoy on April 28, 2012, 18:28 GMT

    Dravid is techically best than sachin??,if that the case what explain dravid low avg in testing condition in SA,Aus and SL??

    Dravid has won india some test matches when someone with him played well,its a fact all dravid fans forgetting completely.

    Last time Dravid alone played well and rest of team member failed was in england,but india lost 0-4.So can we conclude dravid as selfish??

  • bismoy on April 28, 2012, 18:20 GMT

    @ ganymed By your definition Bradman,Viv Richards,Lara,Warne,Kevin petersen are all indians??

    I am keen to know who was the last outsider who praised dravid not sachin?? as per my knowledge never heard any one prasing dravid to be best.

    Dravid has never played one significant innings in odi to help india to series victory,He avg below 40 in SA,aus and Sl conditions.

    Playing well in england don't make some one world best!!!

  • JudeRichie on April 28, 2012, 18:07 GMT

    A very good article.. Give Sachin a chance.. Why write him off without knowing what he is gonna do?? Lets respect his decision. Has anyone questioned the nomination of many non-educated, untalented, undeserved politicians for this post? India needs a change. Let the change start from Sachin.. Sachin has been the Cricketing Idol for millions all these 20 years and why not giving him a chance in this field. One day, He may become a Politician whom we salute and respect the most. Let him be the inspiration of Indian Youngsters to join Politics and follow his lead. Lets congratulate and wish Sachin a wonderful and fruitful journey in Politics too...

  • on April 28, 2012, 15:45 GMT

    I think politics in INDIA needs the the great personalities like SACHIN, as he has accepted the proposal from govt...... Then just like him there must be something special..... We must wait and watch.... Best of luck to sachin for his new inning in in parliament of INDIA...

  • Milind_Jadhav on April 28, 2012, 14:57 GMT

    Thank god there is some sanity left! Nicely written asking the readers to reflect and come up with a balanced view. People commenting in a mindless fashion seem to ignore that life is about INSPIRATION...SRT inspired a generation of children across the cricket playing world and to me that is enough said about leadership. Fellow players committed the WC win to him and that is enough for me about his ability to lead. He brought smiles to the faces of the poorest of poor and for me that is enough contribution in more ways than one. Folks who have this desperate need to compare Dravid to SRT all the time are perhaps looking for reasons to convince themselves about Dravid's ability. SRT man did much more for the cause of the game than many other so called greats and still we find reasons to criticize him...cynicism at its worst and dogmatic thinking at its best!

  • ganymede on April 28, 2012, 14:24 GMT

    Sorry to my Indian friends, but people outside India do not respect people who value personal statisics above team goals.That is why a Dravid or a Kumble will always be rated higher. You are welcome to worship YOUR God but the rest of the world begs to disagree.

  • bismoy on April 28, 2012, 14:18 GMT

    How on earth some dravid fans compare dravid to sachin?? Dravid avg less in both format with lower strike rate compared to sachin.

    Dravid has faced lower quality bowlers compare to what sachin has faced from Waquar to wasim to Ambrose at there prime.

    Dravid was only better during 2002 to 2006 when sachin was mostly injured.Dravid is hell lucky getting praised because not that he is better but other are jealous of his celebrated team member.what a irony!!!

  • bismoy on April 28, 2012, 14:10 GMT

    India done well in WC 1996,2003 and 2010.Sachin was the top scorer all 3 times.

    What is proves?? when sachin scored india has invulnerably done well in WC.What was dravid contribution during WC time nill.

    So , don't compare a one dimensional player to talent like sachin,its disrepute to the game that game greatest run scorer being compared to ordinary talents.

  • bismoy on April 28, 2012, 14:01 GMT

    @RandyOZ dravid avg in Australia and SA and in SL is below 40.What its reflect he isn't good against quality pace not against quality spin.

    Lucky Dravid he didn't face Ambrose,Walsh,Wasim,Waquar in there prime.After that Dravid fans will know differnce between sachin and Dravid.

    If he gets bolwed 7 times in rows vs Australia new attack,God knows what would have happened if he played against above bowlers.

  • bismoy on April 28, 2012, 13:50 GMT

    @RandyOZ How many WC Dravid has won for india? He can play test only don't compare him to legend like sachin.

    Has any team member dedicated 2011 WC to dravid? no as everyone knows difference between Sachin and Dravid.

    Dhoni,kholi,raina,yuvraj all started playing cricket beacuse of sachin.So never compare a legend to good player.

  • kh1902 on April 28, 2012, 13:37 GMT

    Lillian Thomson: He didn't attend press conferences in Australia because they hounded him about a meaningless milestone for their own commercial purposes. On what basis do you say that Dravid, Kumble and Laxman know more than him - is this the same Dravid who said that "Indian cricket is in a good place" after 8 away test losses on the trot? If a degree is the only measure of ability, then Paul Keating would never have become the Australian PM.

    If he was so afraid of life after retirement, he wouldn't have made the decision to join India's upper house, knowing that there are plenty of people just like you who live to criticise him. He understands that most people are limited in their ability to properly analyse things and will unfairly criticise him but still has the courage to make the decision.

  • chappellbrothers on April 28, 2012, 13:28 GMT

    Thank you for the article. Finally, someone has a sensible argument. All his life, SRT has known only one thing and rightfully, has no time to think about something else. What he wants to do after his retirement, is his choice and we shall respect that. He may not want to be involved with Cricket as much as other retired players are. He might want to explore something different. May be Upper house of parliament will provide that platform to him.

    @Pritish Tandon: Tendulkar is beyond numbers and records. People, who see Tendulkar through myopic vision of statistics, are missing the big picture. He is an inspiration (not obsession) to many young athletes around the world, including cricketers (like Kohli, Sehwag, Dhoni to name few). He has truly transformed "the game" for cricket lovers around the world. He has pushed the "limits" of human accomplishments, showing to the world what can be achieved.

    By all means, give SRT a break, and enjoy the show, while it lasts.

  • Bollo on April 28, 2012, 11:30 GMT

    Maybe he can continue to work on getting the DRS banned-his only notable contribution to cricket leadership over the past decade.

  • lazy_libra on April 28, 2012, 11:02 GMT

    Tendulkar is a much better man all the people, who have, are and will be writing degrading commentaries about him in Cricinfo. For everyone who keeps on harping about Tendulkar being the second best to Dravid, Dravid was much better batsman then Sachin in "tests" during the years 2002-2006.If anyone here is able to recall the dark days of Indian cricket, they might be able to recall he was the only beacon of hope we had. We who have followed his career in detail, can recall the umpteen times when he is the only one standing between ignominy and a respectable defeat. Tendulkar guided us single handedly to the semis of 96 WC and we knw what happened when he got out, the finals of 03 WC and played a major role in winning 11 WC. When half the current players in the team citing him as the reason for playing cricket, you can understand the scene of Indian cricket without him in the picture. Integrity, Hard working, Patriot, Committed. What else do you want in a Rajya Sabha MP.

  • on April 28, 2012, 10:06 GMT

    i feel tendulkar is seriously overrated and i guess we indians dont have anything to celebrate about and hence are just obsessed with him...all he has done is piled up numbers no doubt hes a good player but there have and still are a lot of better players than him eg AB deviler for one but just because cricket is not so popular in his country so there is no massive hype created about him by their media ...hes far better player than tendulkar....i

  • RandyOZ on April 28, 2012, 9:31 GMT

    Sachin is not only a poor leader, but he's never been the best batsman in the team, which he has struggled to cope with. The best batter always bats at 3, and this is why Dravid was a far, far better cricketer, and is viewed this way by everyone outside India. Tendulkar is just a record hunter who has never performed when it matters.

  • LillianThomson on April 28, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    This is the same Tendulkar who failed to attend a single press conference in Australia and sent juniors in his place. Where has his pride gone? Dravid, Kumble and Laxman are more educated and knowledgable than he is, by far. And Imran Khan at least has an Oxford degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics. I understand that Tendulkar is afraid of life after retirement, but the solution is not to use his name to rise to office for which he is unqualified. Tendulkar may have been a slightly better batsman than Dravid, but he must start to show some humility and understand that he cannot leapfrog better qualified peers.

  • kiranlegend on April 28, 2012, 9:22 GMT

    atlast some sensible article about Sachin Tendulkar on cricinfo in the last 2 months apart from the article about his boy like nature that he exhibits even in net sessions before the day he scored his 100th century. People expect so much from Tendulkar i think.. every match he should score runs and his team should win. if it doesn't happen, they create and say something or the another as if they all have gone inside his mind. Many don't have experience of playing 'high level' sports, and that is a pity! no wonder if ppl like I an Chappel or Kapil Dev can make loose statements on him.. no wonder common public would. whatever he does there is always an opposition these days. He is just 39 and no wonder.. no other Indian bore as much pressure as Tendulkar's been bearing. With him entering Rajya Sabha, he should be commended for his bravery not inviting the decision with cynicism which is wide prevalent in the world. World should become more positive! he is a committed person! love him.

  • on April 28, 2012, 9:19 GMT

    really Well Written article!!! Kudos ! I have been ashamed of the comments that i have read about sachin in these 2 days.. Some people have completely lost their character. IS this the way you treat a legend ?

  • vrn59 on April 28, 2012, 8:52 GMT

    Excellent article! I really don't understand what the fuss is about; the Prime Minister of India nominated Tendulkar as an MP and he accepted it, as he has every right to do so. The man is undeniably a cricketing icon and a role model to millions, at least in the world of sports. However, his exploits off the field really shouldn't be bothering people as much as they seem to be. Tendulkar won't be playing cricket, at least all forms of it, for too long, which gives him extra time and energy. If he feels like he'd be a good MP and if the President of India considers him good enough to be one, I really don't see why his fans, critics, former teammates and coaches need to voice their opinions. It is Tendulkar's own personal choice, one that will have no impact whatsoever on his performance on the cricket field, so I really don't see why this issue has escalated to this level.

  • on April 28, 2012, 8:18 GMT

    Beautiful article, written without taking a biased stand.. both sides of the coin have been sufficiently analysed.. the balanced view was a pleasure to read..!!

  • on April 28, 2012, 8:14 GMT

    "And can you imagine the furore had he turned down the offer?" Mr. Gupta, had he declined the offer, his already humongous respect would have increased even further, at least in my eyes. As it stands, he has fallen in my eyes - for the first time in the last 24 years. I am distraught and shell-shocked. How could he allow himself to be used as a pawn is something I will never understand - and I am sure I don't even want to understand.

  • TheWonderBoy on April 28, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    such a nice article.....beautifully written....

  • on April 28, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    I am happy Tendulkar has accepted this becuase, like the article says, he's hosen to step outside his onmfort zone. People who rae taking potshots at this fail to understand what the Rajya Sabha is...nobody expects Tendulkar to make a huge difference. In that sense, the pressure is off him. Also, knowing the seriousness with which he approaches every assignment, he just might end up surprising us all!

  • mvcric on April 28, 2012, 6:57 GMT

    @backwardpoint, I am afraid it's you who have the logic backwards. These are nominated MPs, not elected MPs. And, the Indian Constitution allows such nominations, so what's your grouse? Your concerns would be valid for elected MPs.

    I want to thank the author for the most sensible, balanced take on this. No wonder it's shut up all the Sachin haters, going by the lack of comments.

  • Wan2Cricket on April 28, 2012, 6:49 GMT

    Neat article. Yes let us give him the benefit of doubt, wait who are we to give. Huge relief to read such neutral article after all the Tendulkar bashing on every social media.

  • bismoy on April 28, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    Sachin is the biggest name in india along with amithab,This 2 have influence the mind and vision of large part of india.So, always anything related to them will be scrutinize in general public.23 year of playing active cricket is amazing in itself when his peers dravid,ganguly have lost interest in the game and hence retired.

  • on April 28, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    Now he is going to play a wrong innings, it is an unwanted decision......... for a legend kike Tendulkar, By this new decision you may become just like an ordinary " Indian politician"

  • backwardpoint on April 28, 2012, 6:23 GMT

    The author seems to have got the logic backwards: We are not talking about Sachins betterment or how he can improve as a leader or make significant contributions [as the author makes such a passionately plea for] He seems to have forgotten that there is the small matter of a democratic country at stake and it sure does need good leaders. Not famous sportspersons who might or might not go to the House. Purely from an economic perspective, one should choose the best fit for the role. Not gift it to someone because he thinks he can do it. There are so many out there who can make a difference... and in a country of 1 billion+, its not a fair idea to give it to somebody in the assumption that he should be given the benefit of doubt. That too when the house consists of only 248 members.

  • Satyamcn on April 28, 2012, 5:43 GMT

    Finally, a story from you! Nice.

  • smalishah84 on April 28, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    Well written article. I, for one, definitely agree with most of what you say

  • kasyapm on April 28, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    Hmmm..a different perspective.. "There is every possibility an exchange of ideas between the two could inspire Tendulkar's life plans once he does retire from cricket" - Hope this becomes true...Mr. Jayaditya has also stated a fact - other nominees like Ms. Rekha & others are busy with their own careers and not everyone has been vocal/open about social issues. I have been convinced & am going with the "benefit of doubt" theory.

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  • kasyapm on April 28, 2012, 4:59 GMT

    Hmmm..a different perspective.. "There is every possibility an exchange of ideas between the two could inspire Tendulkar's life plans once he does retire from cricket" - Hope this becomes true...Mr. Jayaditya has also stated a fact - other nominees like Ms. Rekha & others are busy with their own careers and not everyone has been vocal/open about social issues. I have been convinced & am going with the "benefit of doubt" theory.

  • smalishah84 on April 28, 2012, 5:17 GMT

    Well written article. I, for one, definitely agree with most of what you say

  • Satyamcn on April 28, 2012, 5:43 GMT

    Finally, a story from you! Nice.

  • backwardpoint on April 28, 2012, 6:23 GMT

    The author seems to have got the logic backwards: We are not talking about Sachins betterment or how he can improve as a leader or make significant contributions [as the author makes such a passionately plea for] He seems to have forgotten that there is the small matter of a democratic country at stake and it sure does need good leaders. Not famous sportspersons who might or might not go to the House. Purely from an economic perspective, one should choose the best fit for the role. Not gift it to someone because he thinks he can do it. There are so many out there who can make a difference... and in a country of 1 billion+, its not a fair idea to give it to somebody in the assumption that he should be given the benefit of doubt. That too when the house consists of only 248 members.

  • on April 28, 2012, 6:38 GMT

    Now he is going to play a wrong innings, it is an unwanted decision......... for a legend kike Tendulkar, By this new decision you may become just like an ordinary " Indian politician"

  • bismoy on April 28, 2012, 6:46 GMT

    Sachin is the biggest name in india along with amithab,This 2 have influence the mind and vision of large part of india.So, always anything related to them will be scrutinize in general public.23 year of playing active cricket is amazing in itself when his peers dravid,ganguly have lost interest in the game and hence retired.

  • Wan2Cricket on April 28, 2012, 6:49 GMT

    Neat article. Yes let us give him the benefit of doubt, wait who are we to give. Huge relief to read such neutral article after all the Tendulkar bashing on every social media.

  • mvcric on April 28, 2012, 6:57 GMT

    @backwardpoint, I am afraid it's you who have the logic backwards. These are nominated MPs, not elected MPs. And, the Indian Constitution allows such nominations, so what's your grouse? Your concerns would be valid for elected MPs.

    I want to thank the author for the most sensible, balanced take on this. No wonder it's shut up all the Sachin haters, going by the lack of comments.

  • on April 28, 2012, 7:27 GMT

    I am happy Tendulkar has accepted this becuase, like the article says, he's hosen to step outside his onmfort zone. People who rae taking potshots at this fail to understand what the Rajya Sabha is...nobody expects Tendulkar to make a huge difference. In that sense, the pressure is off him. Also, knowing the seriousness with which he approaches every assignment, he just might end up surprising us all!

  • TheWonderBoy on April 28, 2012, 7:52 GMT

    such a nice article.....beautifully written....