'Understanding the genius was far more fascinating than the shots'

Can one capture Tendulkar's essence? A veteran sportswriter thinks not
November 14, 2013

"No violence to his stroke. Only alignment and timing and poise" © Getty Images
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What is your first Tendulkar memory?
1989. Spring. Playing a Ranji Trophy match. Fifteen years old. Kids are infected with energy, they're restless, they dart here and there. But at the crease he was so still. So ready.

What is your favourite shot of his?
The straight drive. When he's on tiptoe. Looking, as I once wrote, as if god had him by the collar. No violence to his stroke. Only alignment and timing and poise. And a ball retrieved from the boundary.

Which innings stay with you the most?
The two one-day centuries (143 and 134) in Sharjah 1998 and the 241 not out in the Sydney Test in early 2004. All against Australia. The first two were dazzle, the third was craft. The first two made a point to the world, the third was a struggle with the self. The first two were talent flamboyantly unleashed; the third was talent carefully marshalled.

As a sportswriter, how difficult has it been to capture the essence of a great Tendulkar innings?
I'd say understanding Tendulkar the genius was far more fascinating than the shots he played. Lara was more stylish, Laxman more divine, Mark Waugh more imperious. These men spoke more to me as a writer. Tendulkar wasn't lyrical, he had more serious business to attend to. And if he was Federesque, well, then, it would have been too much, don't you think?

Fifteen years from now, if a young boy or girl were to ask you about Tendulkar what would you tell them?
Even as a writer, I wouldn't be able to. Not sufficiently. No numbers suffice. No quotes from his peers will do. I have about seven-eight books on Muhammad Ali on my bookshelf. He fascinates me. I will read everything on him. But I wish I lived in his time, through Vietnam and his ban, I wish I had experienced him. And it's the same with Tendulkar. He was an experience. You were either there or you were not.

Rohit Brijnath is a Senior Correspondent with The Straits Times, Singapore. He was speaking to Siddhartha Vaidyanathan

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Posted by Dummy4 on (November 15, 2013, 0:52 GMT)

Sachin was an experience. You were either there or you were not.

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 14, 2013, 13:23 GMT)

Best sports writer in India on the best sportsperson from India. Blessed to feel the experience.

Posted by ramachandra on (November 14, 2013, 12:24 GMT)

He was an experience. You were either there or you were not. That sums it up and thats Rohit Brijnath for you - best sports writer from India Period.

Posted by prakash on (November 14, 2013, 11:53 GMT)

being blessed to be in live and watch sachin

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 14, 2013, 6:38 GMT)

He was an experience. You were either there or you were not.

Posted by Ankit on (November 14, 2013, 6:37 GMT)

Very correctly said it is not possible to capture SRT's adventures in words and i believe this because the way he has played over the years reinvented himself to stay at the top of the game and more so controlled his game in the cricket mad country stands out for all of us.

Further, records and I mean numbers speak louder than words and are evidence for the batsman ship he has displayed throughout his carrier spanning 24 years.!!

Salute Sir SRT!!!

Posted by Dummy4 on (November 14, 2013, 4:35 GMT)

When the genius of Rohit Brijnath is unable to articulate SRT in words, u know this is phenomenon unexplainable


The man whom cricket loved back

Sambit Bal: Tendulkar was the biggest worshipper the game could ever find, and in that lay the foundation of his greatness

Tendulkar's perfect balance

Sharda Ugra: While the team, the country and the sport changed around him, Tendulkar remained constant

Why do we insist on seeing the 'real' Sachin?

Rahul Bose: You can ask as much as you want for a more "human", more "feelable, touchable" Sachin, but he'll probably not change - and that's a good thing

Zaltz Stats

The approximate number of people in India today who had not been born when Sachin Tendulkar made his Test debut in 1989 (calculated from these figures). His batting has been so erotically outstanding that the global population has increased by almost 2 billion during his career, with the biggest increase, understandably, in India itself.

I have played cricket for 24 years, it has been only 24 hours since retirement, and I think I should get at least 24 days to relax before deciding these things.

Sachin Tendulkar doesn't want to think of what lies ahead just yet