The Inevitable Day will come when it has to

Posted: November 27, 2011 by thecognitivenomad in Cricket, India Cricket, Opinion
Tags: , , , , ,

Chandrasekhar Jayaramakrishnan

It is clear from the summary of events over the last five days that the Wankhede wicket was not as much at fault as anything in bringing about the scale of the expectations surrounding Tendulkar’s milestone. Yours truly, for one, believed otherwise while witnessing a West Indian unit, with due respect, amass 591 runs. What followed was a non-verbal war between the accuser and the accused – the wicket spoke for itself, and so did the result.

The excesses of expectations throughout the cricketing fraternity have become a national problem. The media fails to see beyond the much awaited milestone, while commendable performances on the field by others have become sub-headlines to a more eye-catching, heart-on-sleeve title.  Every headline seems a verbose isomer of the other.

Hard not to associate the man with the number

The obsession with the milestone is understandable. It is easy to overstate the problem, but it is a lot easier to come to terms with the fact that it will happen, and that time will show us when and how. One would argue that it would have been befitting for the greatest batsman of the modern generation to have achieved this milestone in the same home ground in which his nation lifted the coveted World Cup – a ground in which he started playing as a young teenager.

But certainly, history would want to remember this milestone as one achieved under non-ideal conditions in an arena and environment that challenges the abilities of a batsman. Just like how Euclidean geometry had taught us as kids that the three angles of a triangle sum up to one hundred and eighty, the sport has continuously taught us that records and numbers do not matter if they don’t shape up for a team’s cause, under trying circumstances. There is a reason why his 114 as a young kid on a Perth wicket is remembered as one of his best innings of all time. A few others, like Anton Tchekov’s characters, at the end, have vanished into life.

That he has 99 centuries till date is a catalog of his virtues – and that he has sustained for over 22 years a tribute to his consistency. And that glaring countdown:  fully armed with preconceptions portrayed by the recalcitrant media and frenzy – a mark of disrespect to a man, who at times, has wielded more responsibility than the Prime Minister of a nation.  The game of cricket has challenged every champion in disproportionate measures – from the meager run bucket of Ricky Ponting this year to the branding of anything less than a Tendulkar hundred a failure. It is about one man’s recent past, and another’s future. And not to forget the Turbanator, who is going through a lean patch after being a fulcrum in the Indian attack for close to a decade.

As fans, every one of us has a role in mediating the mayhem that surrounds a player’s personal glory. A series victory down under would mean a lot more to Tendulkar than achieving his milestone. And it is important to remember, given the circumstances down under, that there may not be a better time to tour Australia with the hope of obtaining a result. And if both happen, well – what is left to say here? Life isn’t a movie script that one can write in advance.

After all, the inevitable day is just about adding another one to his monumental tally of tons, and not even remotely close to that day when Canadian sensors hope to detect microbial life in Mars. Why all this fuss then?

  1. CJ, I think you may read the article by Nirmal Shekar a couple of days ago where he spoke of looking into his past and learn from it. I’d say who is to say he isn’t? Like you mention, the inevitable will happen sooner than later. There are bigger priorities for the team and should it happen en route to the bigger picture, so be it. Let’s worry about decorating him with embellishments when he is done playing the game.

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